Welcome to our blog, the digital brainyard to fine tune "Digital Master," innovate leadership, and reimagine the future of IT.

The magic “I” of CIO sparks many imaginations: Chief information officer, chief infrastructure officer , Chief Integration Officer, chief International officer, Chief Inspiration Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Influence Office etc. The future of CIO is entrepreneur driven, situation oriented, value-added,she or he will take many paradoxical roles: both as business strategist and technology visionary,talent master and effective communicator,savvy business enabler and relentless cost cutter, and transform the business into "Digital Master"!

The future of CIO is digital strategist, global thought leader, and talent master: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Monthly “Performance Master’ Book Tuning: The Holistic Performance Management Nov. 2018

Corporate Performance Management is a management control from strategy till shop floor. 

"If you can't measure, you can't manage," legendary management guru Peter Drucker once asserted. Managing performance means understanding results, setting metrics, fixing plans, and making decisions to ensure it happens. It takes multifaceted approaches from multidimensional perspectives to unlock digital performance and catalyze change.

 
        The Holistic Performance Management

Business Performance Measurement: How to Take a Holistic Approach As Drucker wisely pointed out, “you can only manage what you measure.” The purpose of defining performance metrics is to monitor the business progress and performance. But there are two levels of performance measurement: at the strategic level, organizations concern about the long-term business result, business capability building, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement; at the operational level, business needs to take care of quarterly financial result, employees’ weekly report, customers’ purchasing transaction and more. So how shall you not only measure right but measure the right things right?

Five Aspects to Unlock Digital Performance? Enterprise Performance Management is a multidisciplinary management discipline. It is critical because new competitive challenges and active market changes underscore the strategic imperative of managing performance more than ever. Enterprise performance management is about how organizations manage performance at both strategic and operational level to achieve the well-set business goals and objectives. Here are five aspects to unlock digital performance.

Three Dimensional Performance Measurement Performance management should take a multidimensional approach, to connect all important dots, with multifaceted perspectives. Hyper-connectivity and interdependence are the digital characteristics, it is important to understand that digital business development and transformation is the paradigm shift which takes multi-viewpoints, multi-discipline, and multi-stage approach.

How to Measure the Digital Relevance of the Business? Due to increasing pace of changes, overwhelming growth of information, fierce competitions, and unprecedented uncertainty, many organizations are at the crossroad to either ride the learning curve for shaping a self-adaptive and self-renewing digital organization or become irrelevant. From a performance management perspective, it’s fair to say any organization that doesn’t have a holistic management discipline has a giant blind spot which is impairing their performance. It is important to measure the digital relevance of the business and ensure the organization is on the right track to change and build the business competency for the long term.

The New Book "Performance Master - Take a Holistic Approach to Unlock Digital Performance" Introduction? The purpose of the book “Performance Master: Take a Holistic Approach to Unlock Digital Performance “is to provide an in-depth understanding and share unique insight about how to take a holistic approach to measure and manage enterprise digital performance. Without measurements, it can be hard to tell whether attempted improvements achieve the expected results or not. It's fair to say that any organization didn't have a systematic approach to performance assessment and measurement at both strategic and operational level has a giant blind spot that is impairing their performance. A well-designed performance management system is a necessary foundation for continuous improvement.

The blog is a dynamic book flowing with your thought; growing through your dedication; sharing your knowledge; conveying your wisdom, and making influence through touching the hearts and connecting the minds across the globe. The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #5200 blog posting. Among 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.


























The Art of Creativity

Creativity has many “ingredients.” It doesn’t live inside a box, but a type of out-of-box thinking. 

Creativity is everything that one has seen, felt, touched, dreamed. All our experiences are completely reconfigured in a way that mixes up all these "sense and sensitivity." The poet, capturing a thought, a phrase, finishes it by conveying the deep thinking, and then printing it; but the meaning of the artwork can have multidimensional manifestations. The photographer is not alone in catching something which changes, grows, it is affected by time - but not in the photograph. Creativity is both innate and a skill. Developing creativity requires both self-awareness and internal motivation. Here are three ingredients in the art of creativity.

Intuition: Intuition or being intuitive is when you have a gut feeling about something. It is when there isn’t an exact answer to the puzzle because you don’t have all the pieces. but the Master Creator knows how to put things together. The word intuition comes from Latin verb “intueri” which is usually translated as to look inside or to contemplate. Intuition is thus, often conceived as a kind of inner perception sometimes regarded as lucidity or understanding. Chaos needs to be navigated by intuition, Intuition is also called gut-feeling; because it seems to have got to do something with the gut. “Thinking outside the box” is about being creative with gut-feeling. Creativity is a combination of something currently non-existent, thoughts, acts and with or without constraints. To be creative, you need to be conscious or curious about things that surround you. To be conscious is to be aware and engaged with both the inner world of thought, feeling, choice, or being called intuition. There’s a critical link between creativity and intuition. Creativity is a result of living in your intuitive space. It is an action or a reaction to the world, from that place, it has no fear or traditions. It's not only about trying to "think outside the box," but an intuitive expression and alternative path that takes you wherever it needs to go, without boundaries.

Imagination: Imagination is the seed to grow creativity. Knowledge is limited, but imagination is limitless. Imagination is the fuel for the “Creativity Engine.” Creativity is an actual idea carried out in a tangible way that offers or shows something new or imagined. Thinking things differently and making imagination roll into reality is creativity. No imagination, the creativity engine simply will not run. The imagination can entertain the seemingly impossible, given the right resources of knowledge, experience, and talent; a bridge may be created between the current 'impossible' to a whole new 'possible.' Imagination is the ability to expand the boundaries of knowledge to connect unusual dots for sparking innovation. As Albert Einstein wisely said, “imagination is more important than knowledge.” An open mind leads to imagination, imagination leads to discovery, discovery leads to creativity. So, you should learn how to liberate the imagination and come up with a new approach to solve problems, that is creativity.


Originality: Originality is valuable as authenticity. Be true to one's own personality, spirit, or character. Original thinkers master of independent thinking processes of being open to wonder, not get manipulated by authorities. It is like setting time aside to allow an idea or a problem to incubate. It is in combination with immediate learning give way to advancing insight. The original thinking might have something to do with self -belief. With originality, the creation bears its own signature of truth which is communicated in time from mind flow. You only know what you already know, but the next moment is open to all answers and questions you do not know yet. That means, with an open mind, the creation can enter consciousness. It takes the courage to be original, be different. Originality perhaps needs a driver, such as desire on the one hand, or adversity, on the other side, to provide a motive force for seeing new connections or understanding the new paradigm, to spark creativity.

Creativity has many “ingredients.” It doesn’t live inside a box, but a type of out-of-box thinking. So, you have to pull it out of the box and look at it through different lenses. Creativity is indispensable because it’s about thinking beyond conventional wisdom, and creating new knowledge. Maybe creativity is more a process like flow. It starts somewhere, it is thought over, it is brought into relation and it is worked out; a process with a seemingly beginning and end. Creativity plays its part in all the steps.

The CIO as “Chief Intrapreneur Officer”: Make Some New Twists to Reinvest IT

The aggressive role of IT today for many organizations is a business solutionary, information master, change agent and a digital transformer.

The digital world is so technology-driven and information-intensive, IT needs will only expand. The role of IT and that of the CIO is going through significant changes. IT leaders must understand the business from different angles to provide guidance, direction for leading change proactively. The IT department should provide business solutions in the application and adoption of information technology in enablement of business objectives and make some new twists to reinvent IT for getting digital ready.

Running IT as the startup: The heart of entrepreneurship is about changes, and organizations no matter large or small, all face the unprecedented change, uncertainty, and accelerated business dynamic. An entrepreneur's mindset is important for CIOs to run IT as a startup, and manage both opportunities and risks accordingly. CIOs need to rise above the status quo and make some digital twists by taking on a new set of activities that have them involved in the strategy development process from the get-go. Because running IT as a startup and practicing intrapreneurship is about discovering the new path for digital transformation and balancing innovation with other organizational priorities, to focus on the top line business growth and catalyze change. Though the CIO’s proactive attitude in trying new things shall not get confused with spontaneity or do things without a plan. IT leaders need to be able to recognize areas of deficiencies and inefficiencies and take a structural approach to ensure that IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next. Running IT as a software startup helps to energize the business, speed up, go smarter and flexible, reduce the operational cost, increase margin, and bring the new business revenue stream.

Leverage design thinking to deliver user-friendly products or services: To keep relevant, IT organization needs to shift from a maintenance center to a customer-centric digital powerhouse. The limitations of the CIO’s “industrial mindset” have made a negative impact on how IT can deliver successful business outcomes in the digital age. IT needs to be well aligned with business, but even more crucially, be closer to the end customers and leverage design thinking to deliver user-friendly products or services. The new technology tools and business models allow a company to capture customer information on a continual basis. The strategic objective of design thinking is to understand what your customers need and to help the business orient itself towards those needs in pursuit of its objectives. Design thinking is an integral part of the success of a business, especially for business models centered around influencing customer behavior. In practice, to incorporate design inside an organization successfully, you should work at different levels, the management has to understand the value to become supportive, digital professionals need to be able to work effectively, and cross-functional collaboration is the key to bring business value for their organization.


Tap diversity to fuel innovation and prepare for the future of the digital workforce and workplace: Creativity in the "corporate" world has a lot to do with fostering a creative environment and tap the multitude of diversity. IT needs to become the linchpin for orchestrating a learning organization by leveraging the latest digital platforms and tools. CIOs need to ask themselves and others: Does IT drive team building and organizational learning? Do you want to be in a constant learning mode? Which role is IT playing in preparing for the future of the digital workforce and workplace? Tapping diversity to fuel innovation is about shaping a creative team by having people who can complement with each other’s viewpoint, broaden knowledge base and deepen the understanding of varying issues to extend the thinking box and increasing the odds of fueling innovation. The top business leaders such as CIOs must work with the right mindset to create an inclusive organization with every dip in the business lifecycle. They should make an influence on core policies of the company, both developing positive policies and align actions and attitude with them. Innovation needs to become your business routine and corporate culture, to renew creativity energy, allow people to push boundaries and seek out new frontiers.

The aggressive role of IT today for many organizations is a business solutionary, information master, change agent and a digital transformer. The key to reinventing IT is about engaging the whole organization in knowing and understanding the direction and planning of the business, handling concurrency and simultaneity, making some new twists, creating the business synergy and taking a seamless digital paradigm shift.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 11/29/2018

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating and sharing.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with 5200+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The “Digital Master” book series includes 25 books to share insight from the multidimensional digital lens and perceive the multi-faceted impact the digital era upon us is making to the businesses and society. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Here is the weekly insight of digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.

The Amplification of Innovation Effect The definition of innovation is simple - to gain benefit by doing something different. Innovation has to result in something which leads us to a better state than where we are today. Digital innovation has a broader scope with a full-color spectrum. In the hyperconnected and interdependent digital ecosystem, innovation can happen anywhere, anytime, it expands both horizontally and vertically. How to amplify innovation effect to benefit the widest audience of the digital ecosystem though?

Three Digital Barriers Limit the Board’s Strategic Oversight Effectiveness Organizations across the sectors are steadily moving into the digital era with characteristics of hyperconnectivity and fierce competitions. There’s knowing unknown, there’s unknowing unknown. The corporate board as senior leadership team has to overcome many obstacles and numerous pitfalls in order to lead effectively. Here are three digital barriers might limit the board’s strategic oversight effectiveness.

The Monthly “Digital Gaps” Book Tuning: Identify and Bridge Learning Gaps Nov. 2018Digital Gaps -Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Business” is a guidebook to help digital leaders and professionals today identify, analyze, and mind multiple gaps with the multidisciplinary insight and holistic understanding. Today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still, bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge, it is important to bridge learning gap and take a stepwise approach to make a leap of digital transformation.

Creating Digital Pathways to Innovate IT Organizations rely more and more on technology, technology needs will only expand. IT a lightning rod for change and innovation. Digital CIOs are uniquely qualified to envision technological trends and take risks above the status quo, take on a new set of activities that are involved in defining, developing, and differentiating their organization to get digital ready.

The Monthly Food for Thought to Celebrate Holidays Nov. 2018 It’s the Thanksgiving holiday week, it’s not just the time for shopping or relaxing, but also the time to recharging and doing some introspection. Here is the collection of quotes and blogs to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday week.

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

Harnessing Innovation by Practicing Open Leadership Styles

The digital leaders are multi-dimensional thinkers and versatile innovators themselves.

Innovation is more than designing new products or services, it is about establishing and nurturing a way of thinking where innovation is in every aspect of the business. The art of innovation is that it involves new ways of bringing together ideas and resources to create something novel. The science of innovation is to take a structural approach to manage innovation. It requires collaboration, openness, sharing, and joyful teamwork. This is radically different from the command-and-control style of management. Digital leaders today can harness innovation by practicing open leadership styles and improve innovation management effectiveness.

Inquisitive style: Traditional managers are used to telling rather than asking. However, asking open-end questions is great to evoke responses to enlighten or illustrate specific issues or topics to stimulate creativity. Being innovative means you need to get used to stepping outside the old box to unfamiliar territory and you discover and explore your own path. Digital leaders need to have an open mind, show flexibility, break down outdated rules, deploy new ideas, optimized processes, or new ventures and practice inquisitive leadership style to harness innovation. They have the courage to lead boldly by asking “Why not,” to articulate the strategic rationale and boost creative energy; asking “What if” to reimagine new possibilities, and asking “How about” to bring up fresh viewpoint. It’s important for digital leaders and professionals to be inquisitive with learning agility, to ask the right questions using business's vocabulary. Asking the right questions helps to validate how thoroughly and deeply your team’s thinking is on a particular issue. The good question is thought-provoking, brings the multifaceted perspective. Like a piece of art, the great question is beautiful and insightful, connect the dots to spark the imagination.

Intrapreneurship style: Intrapreneurship is a unique combination of “being innovative” and high mature leadership behaviors that develop and achieve high-quality business results over a sustained period of time. Intrapreneur leaders are not only self-motivated but also motivate teams to cultivate change capabilities, encourage the staff to think out-of-the-box, and enforce “ownership” mentality. Besides calculating and managing risks, accountability can be harnessed by motivating employees to achieve higher than expected results and build the culture of learning, trust, and risk-taking. Shared accountability or collective accountability involves shared ownership, empathetic communication, and mutual sharing in successes. Practicing intrapreneurship means to harness changes, cultivate an innovative culture and learn to generate more novel ideas in diverse teams. Intrapreneur leaders understand that it is the process, instead of maintaining hierarchy or status quo, will create and enforce the collective mindset of creativity through systematic Innovation Management.


Mentoring style: Digital leaders are more as a great mentor than an entitled commander, in order to harness innovation through pulling, not pushing. The digital leaders with coach/mentor style can show the team how to explore who they are -their own natural skill sets, talents, and strong sides, and take into account their own objectives in line with working needs. They have the ability to listen and observe; the ability to ask probing open questions; show a degree of imagination and empathy - to put themselves in the mentee’s for understanding their perspective, initiate open discussions, allow the mentee to lead the agenda; avoid being too prescriptive and encourage creativity. The digital leaders with mentoring style inspire the culture of learning and creativity. There should be a balance between the organization and the individual where the responsibility for learning is concerned. The organization should be able to identify fundamental skill requirements at different levels of management and the individual must self-assess and identify what they lack to move forward and seek to learn, with the goals to develop high-quality employees and stimulate creativity.

The digital leaders are multi-dimensional thinkers and versatile innovators themselves. Beside their vision and leadership substance, as well as a unique set of leadership competency; they will also adjust their leadership styles accordingly in order to catalyze change and harness innovation for leading their organization to the next level of organizational maturity.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Monthly Insight of “Digital Quality”: The Digital Quality Readiness Nov. 2018

Organizational excellence is achieved by delivering qualified products or services and continuously improving business performance. Quality is defined by a number of factors such as efficiency, effectiveness, flexibility, innovation, or maturity, as a degree of quality is in everything people do and experience.

          The Digital Quality Readiness


The Digital Quality Readiness Quality has both tangible and intangible characteristics. Quality is defined by a number of factors, such as effectiveness, efficiency, flexibility, innovation, performance, manageability, operability, reusability, reliability, availability, or maturity. Digital quality readiness is about making an objective assessment of the quality related issues. Quality readiness is a key indicator of overall business differentiation and maturity. Digital quality is everyone’s business.


The Multiple Perspectives of Digital Simplicity?
Logically, simplifying the complicated thing is an optimal and smart choice, to make the business progress either for designing products, solving problems, or managing a high mature digital organization. Simplicity is a behavioral attitude to see things as and what and where they are and be content and cool as it is. Take a close look at simplicity from different management lenses, simplicity is one of the very important characteristics of digital quality. It means or is related to too many things such as manageability, availability, scalability, flexibility, reliability, robustness, sensitivity, comprehensiveness, speed, and responsiveness, etc. Here are three perspectives of digital simplicity.

The Digital Readiness of Organizations We are in a time of tremendous change, the dawn of digital age, the path to the next level of digital maturity, also in the era of confusion and information overload. Most organizations have a mix of old and new, physical and virtual, order and chaos, the old way and the new way to do things, etc. Therefore, evaluating the digital readiness of the business is important to allow room for adjustments and keeping the organization dynamic and informative, in order to manage a high mature business.

Three Aspects of Digital Management Precision Digital management is responsible for designing, enabling, and enforcing a collaborative, innovative, intelligent, and inclusive working environment for engaging employees, delighting customers, unlocking business performance, and improve overall organizational quality and maturity. Quality management ensures that an organization, product or service is consistent, and business competency is cohesive. Digital precision is one of the most important characteristics of digital quality. Here are three aspects of digital management precision.

IT Management Quality Check in Digital Transformation Quality is defined by a number of factors such as innovation, effectiveness, flexibility, or maturity, etc., and to effectively lead an organization into good practices to focus on quality attributes takes work and a level of credibility within the organization. IT plays a significant role in digital transformation, as more often than not, technology is a major digital disruptor today, the purpose of digital transformation is to embed digital technology into key business processes, to improve business capability and competency to compete for the future. Hence, CIOs should do the periodic IT management quality check to ensure its effectiveness, efficiency, and maturity.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #5200+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. blog posting. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom, to inspire critical thinking and spur healthy debates. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

Playing an Innovation Oddball: Celebrate Failures

Creativity is an out-of-the-box thinking, so playing the oddball is part of innovation. 

Innovation in the digital era is coming at seemly a much faster pace, more change, and more potential disruptions, with a broader scope, scale, and impact on the business’s surviving and thriving. However, in most companies, the risk-allergic minds dominate the workplace and protect the interests of narrow-short-sighted benefit. Keep in mind though, innovation comes with a risk of failure; many say that innovation won’t happen without enough failures. Being innovative is a state of mind. Shall you play the innovation oddball: Celebrate failures to inspire creativity and encourage innovation?

Have the right dose of risk appetite: Risk appetite implies some ability to actually measure risk level. The future is uncertain and no amount of quantitative analysis can accurately predict what opportunity or risks lie ahead. Some risks can be quantifiable; some can only be approximated. The good innovation leaders have the right dose of risk appetite and rational risk management skill. Individually, a talented person with the right dose of risk appetite can fail fast and fail forward; shows resilience to recover from the failure and learn lessons from it. The innovation management team with the right dose of risk appetite is able to turn things around as a team when a failure happens and develop the culture of learning and risk tolerance. The logic for building an innovative culture is that you reward people for trying new actions and doubly reward them for successes. If you punish failure, you shut down innovation immediately.

Have a positive attitude toward risk: Failure is part of innovation; it is very much an intrinsic part of innovating. In the digital era of innovation, failure is seen as a fruit full of experience. So, the differentiation between a good innovation and bad innovation is the people’s attitude toward risk. Innovations fail because folks fear innovation. Innovation fails because there are too many disconnects that occur between the birth of a vision/concept and the process of turning it into a reality. The risk attitude is to determine the company’s attitude and strength to deal with risks appear. Innovation is always a tough journey, not a flat road. The positive attitude is to take the calculated risk and be cautious about obstacles or pitfalls on the way and avoid making repetitive mistakes. Besides risk-tolerant attitude, take a balancing act to have enough failure and an open environment that encourages learning from failure quickly and cheaply, without having failures that are too frequent or too expensive.

Innovations succeed when failure is seen as a learning step to great success: Innovation and risk often go hand-in-hand. With creativity, "change" is made." With every "change," the risk is involved. The more dramatic and powerful the innovation is, the greater the risk would be. Innovations succeed when failure is seen as a learning step to great success. An overall framework for innovation with periodic reviews will help to sustain progress and minimize the risk of idea flops. Setting the right priority helps to leverage the limited resource, manage risks and improve the innovation success rate as well. Prioritization is about managing constraints - you can't do everything; so which innovation initiative will you take to maximize the value with calculated risks? The leadership approach toward risk also directly impacts how the business manages a healthy innovation portfolio with the right mix of incremental innovation and breakthrough innovation.

Creativity is an out-of-the-box thinking, so playing the oddball is part of innovation. Instead of finger pointing, celebrate failures and learn some lessons from them. When leaders shift from “risk-avoidance,” to “risk intelligence” mentality, they can stay focus, weigh risks and rewards, take prudent risks and discover better ways to lead the success of innovation.

Running Creative, Persuasive, and Logical IT

By blending logic and creativity properly, IT can be used as a tool, enabler, catalyzer, and a digital platform to orchestrate change and digitalization.

Digital transformation represents a break from the past and presents a high level of impact and complexity. With the exponential growth of information and often technology-led digital disruptions, IT is being elevated to the “light power” of the business for identifying business opportunities and obstacles, navigating changes, and climbing the learning curve ahead of the rest of organization. In reality, IT organizations have come a long way from being pure technical specialists to being critical strategic partners for leading business growth and transformation. In fact, it is at the tipping point that top performing companies see IT as an asset, capital, innovation catalyzer and source of business competitive advantage. It’s a strategic imperative for CIOs to run creative, persuasive and logical IT organizations.

Be creative to produce ideas and solve problems: Often many IT departments are so busy with mundane day to day activities, they lose the strategic focus and the sense of creativity over the period of time. No wonder the majority of IT organizations still get stuck at the lower level of business maturity and be perceived as a cost center only. Running digital IT is both science and art. There are very progressive organizations where IT sparks organizational creativity. In order to reinvent its brand, IT must be willing to take constructive criticism from business partners, customers, or other stakeholders, turn the beating, lashing, and criticism into opportunities to spark creative ideas. A digital CIO with their finger on the pulse of information insight and technological advancement can provide many ideas on how the latest digital technologies and abundance of information can create fresh opportunities to help the company reach the next cycle of the business growth. CIOs usually do have some advantage to introduce something new, the new apps to delight customers, the new processes to engage employees, or the new trends perceived by real-time information to influence business direction. Although most of IT operations practice engineering discipline and involve analytical work, some argue it is the creative mind better suited for top IT leadership. Because creativity contributes to long-term business prosperity; creativity instills the freshness for either designing the great products/services or solving problems innovatively. Thus it is appreciated by the end customers. To put simply, creativity is a necessary ingredient of transformative leadership. From the societal progress perspective, creativity is an important part of our future and civilization. Without it, human society will be stagnated.

Be persuasive to advocate the ideas and sell the vision: IT plays an important role in interpreting business issues into technical solutions and building IT-enabled business competency. This requires cross-functional communication and collaboration. To gain a seat at the big table, digital CIOs need to sell technological vision persuasively and creative enough to co-develop the strategy and co-solve business problems. They can “dream” a new solution which brings the result better than the business’s expectation. As “lost in translation” is the key issue to separate IT from the business, IT leaders should build peer to peer executive relationships, experiments more creative common language, and make audience tailored communication in order to bridge the gap between business and IT. Many CIOs don't know how to sell the value of what their teams deliver. Digital savvy CIOs can identify the formal and informal power brokers cross the boundary and establish a personal dialogue with them to identify the real problem. Ask users, customers, and different stakeholders what their expectations are of IT, and whether or not IT meets those expectations. It is worth the effort to take better communication approaches and be persuasive to advocate ideas and build IT reputation as the trustful business partner.

Be logical enough to make a vision into the reality, implement ideas and guild IT team to make things happen timely: The logic focus is great for the top digital leaders such as CIO to ensure IT operational excellence. In the executive suite, you need a balance of both logic and persuasiveness. Be logical in your mind based on your years of engineering training/experiences. In fact, creativity and logic are not two completely different disciplines, they are interconnected; they are like the two sides of the coin to enable IT leaders understanding the digital puzzle thoroughly and solve problems creatively. The main emphasis of problem-solving in a logical scenario is in doing better pre-work, such as defining the situation and the "success criteria," take a consideration of the range of options, rather than the traditional "jump to solution" problem-solving scenario. CIOs as innovation practitioners play a critical role in managing innovation in a structural way by bridging innovation execution gaps, which requires clear stages, information thresholds, decision-making parameters combined with iterative business processes that support wide-ranging exploration at each stage. By blending logic and creativity properly, IT can be used as a tool, enabler, catalyzer, and a digital platform to orchestrate change and facilitate idea creation and implementation, and meet the ultimate goal of an organization's short, medium, and long-term strategic goals.

With digital hyperconnectivity, running creative, persuasive and logical IT or close is being able to think and create new things based on its own needs, listen, comprehend, and understand the people and the business they are part of, as well as communicate with empathy. CIOs need to become insightful business leaders to work within IT and across the business scope, and seek ways to grow business revenue and spur innovation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Monthly “Digital Hybridity” Book Tuning: The Hybrid Workforce and WorkPlace Nov. 2018

The digital paradigm that is emerging is the sociological organization which is alive, holistic, vibrant, energetic, responsive, fluid, innovative and resilient.

Digital makes a significant impact on every aspect of the business from people, process to technology, both horizontally and vertically. The digitalization flattens the organizational hierarchy and blurs the functional, organizational and geographical borders in the business ecosystem. It is like the gigantic puzzle with many misplaced pieces, you have to put them all in the right places to discover the real meaning and unleash its full potential. You cannot make a true digital paradigm shift without an in-depth understanding of the digital interconnectivity and embracing the multitude of digital hybridity.

The Hybrid Workforce and Workplace


Digital Workforce Hybridity? As our digitized world becomes hyper-connected, over-complex and interdependent, digital system themes with all the aggregates-spanning business challenges, paradoxes and opportunities bring organizations further towards the challenges of constructing and enacting "hybrid realities" across individuals, teams, looser groups, organizations, network-enterprises, and holistic digital ecosystems. The digital paradigm that is emerging is the sociological organization which is alive, holistic, vibrant, energetic, responsive, fluid, innovative and resilient with hybridity of knowledge, processes, workforce, and competencies.

The New Book Chapter 5: The Hybrid Workforce Management Introduction Today the company workforce spans three or even four generations. Each with different leadership, communication, working or learning styles. Each generation is defined by a set of stereotypes, and in fact, that different ages and worldviews learn differently and through different media and methodologies. So, how can digital professionals belonging to different generations learn from each other to advocate the most advanced thinking, ideas, and viewpoint from different perspectives in order to lead their organizations, and fundamentally our society to the next level of the progression?

Boomers, X, Y, and Z Generations? Many company workforce spans three or even four generations—Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Y (Millennials) and Z: each with different leadership, communication, working, and learning styles, and their mindsets are shaped by the environment in which they grew up, the historical events they experienced, the technologies they played with at the certain era, the media they followed, or the particular challenges they overcome. Hence, each generation is defined by a set of stereotypes, and in fact, that different ages and worldviews learn differently and through different media and methods. So how can digital professionals belonging to different generations learn from each other to advocate the most advanced thinking, ideas, and viewpoint from a different perspective in order to lead their organizations, and fundamentally our society to the next level? How can they work together harmoniously by respecting what each brings, ideally, works for the overall goals of the company as well as fulfill their own career goal and purpose?

A Hybrid Organization? With the fast pace of change and emerging digital technologies such as social, mobile and cloud, companies large or small are brainstorming the next generation of organizational design, how to take advantage of the new digital tools, how to improve productivity and enforce creativity & collaboration cross-enterprise ecosystem?

Three Portmanteau Hybrid Words to Envision a Digital Organization? Organizations large or small are on the journey to digital transformation, it is not an overnight phenomenon, but a well-planning strategy with the step-wise approach. There are physical buildings and virtual, always-on working environment; there are next innovation practices and “always do things like this” best practices; there’s abundance of information but still the scarcity of insight. It is the hybrid business world full of options. Digital is the age of alternatives, here are three portmanteau hybrid words to convey the management principles in running a digital organization.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #5200th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The “Digital Master” book series includes 25 books to share insight from the multidimensional digital lens and perceive the multi-faceted impact the digital era upon us is making to the businesses and society. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

Three Digital Barriers Limit the Board’s Strategic Oversight Effectiveness

Don’t be overwhelmed by the sea of information and pervasive digitalization, and don't get limited by the "VUCA" digital new normal. 

Organizations across the sectors are steadily moving into the digital era with characteristics of hyperconnectivity and fierce competitions. There’s knowing unknown, there’s unknowing unknown. The corporate board as senior leadership team has to overcome many obstacles and numerous pitfalls in order to lead effectively. Here are three digital barriers might limit the board’s strategic oversight effectiveness.





Uncertainty: Uncertainty is the digital new normal, the corporate board as one of the top leadership pillars plays a crucial role in helping the organization to deal with uncertainty and mitigate risks strategically and systematically. To improve their strategic oversight effectiveness, the board as the senior leadership team supplies the framing context in understanding uncertainty, visualize and identify it, work closely with the management team to translate of “how to deal with uncertainty” into “how to change uncertainty to certainty and reduce the degree of uncertainty,” as well as what this means in terms of ability to manage risks and enforce governance discipline. It needs to have a culture of innovative leadership that turns the status quo upside down as corporate planning in large organizations may concern more about not disturbing the bureaucracy and keep inertial to change and uncertainty. The belief is in a vision and the board as the top leadership team that inspires change; encourages optimism, and shows confidence and techniques to navigate through uncertainty and steer the organization in the right direction.

Volatility: Digital volatility means change with increasing speed technologically, economically, politically, and environmentally. In the age of digitalization, any business can be at risk for survival at any minute due to the continuous disruptions and rapid changes. With explosive information, the shortened business life cycle, limited resources, and fierce competitions, the business strategy today is no longer a static document sitting on an executive’s desk for years, but a cascading strategy-execution continuum. To improve the board effectiveness, the board’s strategic oversight and performance monitoring should include how to keep track of the digital pulse of the organization. Monitoring the change pulse of the business is to assess the business’s maturity traits such as adaptability, flexibility, resilience, responsiveness, agility, effectiveness, or speed, etc. The change pulse of the organization is synchronous with the pace of digital transformation. The bigger the 'change' (such as digitalization), the more important to keep it on track and take these into account early rather than late. Going digital takes multifaceted management disciplines and structural approach to drilling down the critical success factors that underpin each of the higher level performance dimension. Monitoring digital pulse is the complementary strategic oversight, with the goal to help the company make a smooth shift from doing digital to going digital and being digital.


Information: The abundance of information brings both opportunities and risks for running a digital business. There is good information and bad information, lack of data-based business insight will cause decision ineffectiveness at the board level. Running a real-time digital organization starts by providing real-time information management solutions to conquer the dynamic digital management challenge from the boardroom to the frontline. With “VUCA” digital new normal, to survive the fierce competition and thrive with the long-term business advantage involve more planning, adjustment, and speed. Even the board directors as senior leaders, need to continue learning to keep their knowledge update and their viewpoint fresh. To improve their strategic oversight effectiveness, knowledge is no doubt important, but more than that is complete awareness of what is happening in the context. Once you figure that out, you are able to classify the business elements and know their linkage, leverage the right information, connect divergent factors in the business ecosystem for making strategic oversight effectively.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the sea of information and pervasive digitalization, and don't get limited by the "VUCA" digital new normal. To survive the fierce competition and thrive with the long-term business advantage, high-performing boards can sense emergent opportunities and predict potential risks, oversee the business strategy effectively, monitor the company performance closely; advise business management wisely and setting policies good enough to encourage innovation and lead digitalization effortlessly



The CIO as Chief Improvement Officer: Three Perspectives of Next Level of Digital Maturity

CIOs have to deal with rapid changes, constant ambiguity, increasing complexity, and unprecedented uncertainty. 

With the increasing pace of changes and exponential growth of information, how successfully the organization can handle digital disruption depends on how fast and capable they can adapt to changes. The ultimate goal of the business either today or future is to achieve the high-performance business result and accelerate the high-level organizational maturity. IT is the linchpin of the digitalization. To proactively drive digitalization, the CIO has to look forward and actively position the IT organization in the right place to take full advantage of opportunities and prevent risks. In practice, CIOs shouldn't have been “overwhelmed” by varying IT responsibilities and mundane daily tasks, but learn how to gain the long-term connected view and the digital perspectives of reaching the next level of the organizational maturity.

Comprehensive abstract: One of the important views of the business for top leaders such as CIO is about how to zoom into the future as if it were closer. CIOs should provide a comprehensive technological vision and the business insight as IT is increasingly important to build the competitive position of the company and solve business problems holistically. Organizations intend to capture and shape the digital landscape of the business. A zoom-in view re-conceptualizes the future, connects the previously unconnected dots, and visualizes the destination. On the other side, as senior leaders and trustful business advisors, CIOs are able to step back from details, discover patterns, sees generalization, set standards, understand business context, and perceives a bigger business picture. Abstraction is the foundation of insight. Digital leaders should leverage systems thinking to perceive their business with both broader scope of abstraction and in-depth understanding of its interconnectivity and interdependence. The comprehensive abstract enables them to understand when to look further; when to look closer; when to step in and when to stay out. The multitude of views help business leaders and professionals gain a comprehensive understanding of the ever-evolving business ecosystem and chart the route for all from their own respective positions towards the business destination.

Sophisticated simplicity: Digital IT shifts its focus from inside out operation-driven to outside in customer-centric. To reinvent IT reputation as the value creator, build a strong brand and improve IT responsiveness and effectiveness, it’s important to follow the “Simplicity” principle for adding clarity and purpose. IT needs to champion intuitive and easy to use customer tailored solutions to achieve specified goals in a continuous delivery way. There are two sides of IT, the front side of IT facing customer should be intuitive, easy to use, hide the complex nature of technology which is running at the back side. But there is also a complex technological nature behind the scene. To build a trustful IT-business relationship, IT should educate the business to gain an in-depth understanding of the technical complexity, potential opportunities, and risks. Because more often than not, the business needs IT to be the cost optimization expert for the company, to discover creative sources of competitive advantage. Optimization is not just about fixing things, but leveraging trade-off to improve business efficiency, flexibility, adaptability, cost-effectiveness, and risk intelligence. From the leadership perspective, the CIO role is one of the most sophisticated leadership roles in the modern business. Digital CIOs need to have both business acumen and technological insight for running IT as the integral component of the business, make an objective assessment of people, process, and technology; look for something “hidden,” which is not always obvious and lead IT as the strategic partner of the business.

Coherent diversification: Consider a digital organization as the coherent, self-organized but interlaced and hyper-connected ecosystem, IT is the linchpin to keep the business functioning, nimbler and even delightful. In order to make a solid digital transformation, there are so many seemly paradoxical, but indeed coherent business elements in running a high-effective organization today. All ambitious businesses strive to unlock their business innovation and unleash their full digital potential via diversification, association, and collaboration. The emergent digital technologies and practices make it possible to expand the talent pool and discover digital professionals based on their mindset, expertise, social influence, and digital footprint. To build highly innovative teams with coherent diversification, it’s also important to define the updated competency model, assess the talent's overall capability to solve problems, strike the right balance of learning capability, character, skills, communication, and energy within the teams. To take a step further, many forward-thinking companies across industrial sectors have broken out of the static industry box, treat customers, partners and other industry ecosystem participants as active agents for brainstorming new ideas, and scale up innovation effort.

CIOs have to deal with rapid changes, constant ambiguity, increasing complexity, and unprecedented uncertainty. Gaining the perspectives of next level of digital maturity is about having a harmonized vision of overall digital management philosophy, capabilities, structures, and practices. While technology provides new frontiers for work systems, there are also challenges with issues of human connectivity. IT leaders need to get really creative on how they conduct digital transformation and implement changes, to ensure IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next, and run IT as the business inside the business.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Monthly “Digital Gaps” Book Tuning: Identify and Bridge Learning Gaps Nov. 2018

Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge.

Digital Gaps -Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Business” is a guidebook to help digital leaders and professionals today identify, analyze, and mind multiple gaps with the multidisciplinary insight and holistic understanding. Today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still, bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge, it is important to bridge learning gap and take a stepwise approach to make a leap of digital transformation.

             Identify and Bridge Learning Gaps


Closing the Gaps in Enterprise’s Learning Capability Information abundance is one of the most important characteristics of the digital era. Being learning agile becomes one of the most important qualities for today’s digital leaders and professionals due to the abundance of information and shortened knowledge life cycle. In digital leading organizations, the division between 'working' and 'learning' is replaced by combining and integrating 'working, thinking and learning at the operational level, where people do the real work by unifying mind, heart, and hands. At the individual level, learning agility differentiates high potential from mediocre; at the organizational level, learning agility directly impacts on the top line business growth and the strategic capabilities such as change and innovation. So, how to close the gaps in improving the enterprise’s learning capability?

The gaps between knowledge and insight Insight is perception through multi-dimensional cognizance. If knowledge is manpower, wisdom is nature power, then insight is perhaps the bridge between manpower and nature power. There are multilayer meanings upon insight. The gaps between knowledge and insight are existing, and how to dive into the depth of knowledge sea and climb the insight-wisdom pyramid?

Bridging the Potential Gap Organizations today need both performance and potential. Performance keeps your business running, churning numbers etc, whereas potential looks at an employee that can bring your company to the next level, and the collective human potential in the organization is the greatest thing the organization should ever invest in, because it is the driving force to catalyze the business growth and build the unique organizational advantage the competitors cannot beat. So, how to understand both potential and performance at the deeper level, bridge the gap to unleash the collective potential and accelerate business performance to the next level?

Critical Thinking Gaps? Critical Thinking is the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion. There are very few real critical thinkers because it is a complex type of thinking with the multitude of thought process, at the deeper level, critical thinking has creativity embedded in it. The critical Thinking technique can be taught, but Critical Thinking skills can only be developed via practicing independent thinking, insightful observation, and conscious and even superconscious reasoning. There are critical thinking gaps existing which cause leadership blind spots and poor decision making, how to identify and fill them to improve the leadership maturity and digital professionalism?

Bridging Education Gaps Education is one of the best things and great privileges for modern global citizens because it provides significant opportunities for people to build disciplines, learn some fundamental knowledge and train certain skills. In the static industrial age with information scarcity, education does help to train certain professionals for gaining some linear skills to do the job well. However, at today's fast-changing digital era with "VUCA" normality, formal education alone is not sufficient to build professional capabilities such as thinking, creativity or problem-solving. Therefore, it creates the INSIGHT and INNOVATION gap when we are moving to the deep digital reality with abundant information (but still with the scarce of insight). How can you capture the real signals from so much background noises? How can you keep updating knowledge to ensure both educators and receivers capturing the real insight and true wisdom with increasing speed of changes and shortened knowledge cycle? How can you not just absorb the existing knowledge, but co-create new knowledge for accelerating innovation and societal advancement? Or to put simply, how can you bridge education gaps for making the leap of digital transformation?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #5200th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The Popular Quotes of “Digital Master” Series about Learning to Celebrate #5200 Blog-Posting Nov. 2018

Learning is a way to keep your mind flowing, and hence your life flowing.

"Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (26+ books) is to perceive the multifaceted impact digital is making to the business and our society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the digital journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” Here is the set of popular quotes about learning to celebrate #5200 blog-posting.





1 “An adaptive mind has better learning capability.”

― Pearl Zhu, Thinkingaire: 100 Game-Changing Digital Mindsets to Compete for the Future


2 “Innovations succeed when failure is seen as a learning step to great success.”

― Pearl Zhu, 100 Creativity Ingredients: Everyone's Playbook to Unlock Creativity


3 “Learning is the way to keep your mind flowing, and hence your life flowing.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Valley: Five Pearls of Wisdom to Make Profound Influence


4 “Be humble, desire insight, squash arrogance, and be cognizance of unknown.”


― Pearl Zhu, Thinkingaire: 100 Game-Changing Digital Mindsets to Compete for the Future


5 “Leadership in itself is a purpose-driven, a constant learning process that requires the leader to build experience and to share insight.”


― Pearl Zhu, Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity


6 “Learning a new language, just like opening a new window, allows you to see the world with intimacy.”
― Pearl Zhu, Thinkingaire: 100 Game Changing Digital Mindsets to Compete for the Future


7 “Learning agility means to learn, de-learn, and relearn all the times.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Agility: The Rocky Road from Doing Agile to Being Agile

8 “Learning becomes the knowledge builder and we can define learning through the information it absorbs and the capability it builds.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Gaps: Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Digital Business


9 “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more & become more, you are a leader.”
― Pearl Zhu, Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity


10 “When you learn something new, the structure of your brain changes.”

― Pearl Zhu, Thinkingaire: 100 Game Changing Digital Mindsets to Compete for the Future

11 “Assumptions and prejudices are due to a lack of deeper understanding. It is the responsibility of each individual to examine themselves and to make sure they are open to learn and gain the true understanding.”

― Pearl Zhu, Thinkingaire: 100 Game Changing Digital Mindsets to Compete for the Future