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.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Monthly Foresight: Reinvent Future of Business via Multifaceted Management Aug. 2019

The effects of an increasingly digitized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Digital is the age of creativity and innovation, creativity is the most desired trait for digital leaders and professionals today, and innovation is the light every organization is pursuing. Which themes shall you set to advocate digital transformation? How to lead to the digital future effortlessly?

  


Reinvent Future of Business via Multifaceted Management  


Reinvent Future of Business with Multifaceted Management Shift: Digital transformation isn’t just an extension of continuous improvement of the current business but a multidimensional exploration and expansion with radical change on a grand level. A digital organization is a living business in the relationship with its environments, customers, suppliers, and different shareholders by proactively connecting, discovering, and experimenting. That requires organizations to explore new ways to do things and make radical shift from multifaceted perspectives in order to reinvent the business to get digital ready,

Reinvent Digital Organization and Step into the Future by Building Three Bridges The emerging digital technologies make a profound impact on businesses across industrial sectors, from specific functions to the business as a whole. Reimaging the future of business is exciting, there is more than one road to lead the digital way, and there are many opportunities the organization can explore and a lot of barriers it has to overcome. Running a future-driven organization starts with the growth mindset, prepares people for the digital new normal, followed by a series of progressive activities to shape organizational competency and build the substantial bridges between the imaginable state of the organization and the business realities of today in order to move toward the future confidently and effortlessly.

Navigate through the Future of Workplace and Workforce Management Organizations of the future are increasingly exhibiting digital characteristics such as hyperconnectivity, interdependence, velocity, and complexity in various shades and intensity. Digital organizations need to be organized in such a way that it is a part of the hyperconnected modern world, solid enough to manage orders from chaos and fluid enough for adapting to changes and keeping the business highly responsive to the dynamic business environment. Digital leaders today should be able to navigate through the future of the workplace and workforce management by sharing a clear vision, providing directions and advancing leadership influence.

The Future of Organizational Development Organizational Development helps organizations become more mature by providing an environment within which employees at all levels are inspired and allowed to commit their best in the organization's service. This is definitely a leadership challenge because effective leaders inspire that commitment habitually. However, in most of the organizations, the leadership of that ilk is in short supply. What's the digital vision of business leaders and how to clearly define the business goals of such organizational tuning?

Revitalize Digital Workforce to be Future-Ready With the faster pace of changes and continuous disruptions, companies across vertical sectors have huge pressures to survive and thrive in today’s hypercompetitive economic dynamic. They are at the transition stage from operating a mechanical organization to running a dynamic digital living business. Digital organizations are the mixed bag of something old and new; physical building and virtual platform, with a diverse workforce working in different functions running varying speed. A digital workplace encompasses so much that it's hard to isolate it from other dimensions of the enterprise. What is the logical scenario to overcome challenges and revitalize digital workforce to be future-ready?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 3 million page views with about #5900th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The “Digital Master” book series includes 28 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.

The Best “Dedication” Quotes of “Digital Master” Aug. 2019

A dedicated mind focuses on thinking, growing or innovating, and their energy flows towards the positive direction.

"Digital Master” is a series of guidebooks (28 + books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” It perceives the emergent trends of digital leadership, provides advice on how to run a digital organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide insight about Change Management. It also instructs the digital workforce on how to shape a game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future. Here is a set of “Dedication” quotes in “Digital Master."


1 A dedicated mind focuses on thinking, growing or innovating, and their energy flows towards the positive direction.

2 Dedication is one of the great professional qualities often being ignored because we live in such a dynamic digital age full of signals and noises, disruptions and distractions, opportunities and temptations.

3 Dedication has nothing to do with the personality, though, you can be either introvert or extrovert; passionate or cool-headed, but a dedicated one can laser focus on what he or she is doing or want to be.

4 When you concentrate or laser focus, you do feel your energy is converging with nature flow, you are part of nature, and empowered by nature as well.

5 The interesting fact about dedicated people is that, sometimes, they might look “careless,” or even “fool,” they forget the little things, or they ignore the trivial details, so the average people or management might misunderstand them or amplify their small defect.

6 The beauty of dedication is such a prioritization mind, it can focus on the most important tasks, or long term goals, spend time and energy on strategic thinking and value-driven activities.

7 Dedicated people with strong time management skills are more creative to come up with new ideas; more productive to contribute better way to do things; more humble to learn new skills or build the differentiated capabilities.

8 Dedication enables your energy flow and laser focus on the things you need to accomplish. It’s not about keeping your hands busy, but more about how you can generate specific energy in yourself to help consciously achieve the goals, and create the authentic impact you choose.

9 Dedicated professionals can better integrate their talent, aptitude, and attitude, manage time and resources to achieve their goals in more professional way, and keep their energy flow in a positive way, not letting negative emotions distract themselves, or destroy surrounding.

Cultivate a Dynamic Digital Innovation Ecosystem


Everything is interconnected and the business ecosystem becomes so interdependent and dynamic. Innovation also becomes so complex and has a lot to do with external environment while people tend to focus on internal circumstances. Innovation nowadays is critical for the company’s survival and thriving. Thus, organizations need to awaken the ecosystem consciousness, start thinking about ways to innovate, influence, and cultivate a dynamic innovation ecosystem,




Develop the cross-ecosystem innovation clusters: Digital platforms enabled by efficient apps and tools break down functional silos, business silos, geographical silos, and even industrial silos allowing people across the business ecosystem to share knowledge, brainstorm fresh ideas, and co-solve business problems collaboratively. The traditional organizations can become more innovative if they can consciously break down the bureaucratic management style and proactively develop the resource-rich innovation hubs and hyperconnected digital cluster across enterprise ecosystems for enabling idea flow and creating synergy for innovation management. The smaller business players can gain economies of scale of innovation through mass collaboration. There is more flow of creative ideas, the innovation pie actually gets bigger as well. Those innovation clusters morph into larger entities that have sufficiently large internal resources to manage innovation in a structural way.

Innovation is benefiting the widest possible audience within your organizational ecosystem: The digital innovation is more often based on collective effort and customer-centricity. People become the center of innovation management and they are the major focus for innovation process and accomplishment. Highly innovative organizations involve customers and different stakeholders such as schannel partners, suppliers, and industry ecosystem participants as active agents, listen to their feedback, involve them in both idea generation and process implementation. The dynamic digital ecosystem can be perceived through the lenses of sociology, psychology, the economics of education, the anthropology of cultures, economics, organizational and communication sciences, poetical science. They are able to expand and scale up innovation practices and effects in the digital ecosystem. With ecosystem involvement, companies will become more open to diverse opinions and feedback, be humbler to listen to customers, more confident to take the path perhaps no one ever takes before, and more resilient to failure forward.

Companies are better positioned to engage in multi-industrial collaborations to enforce innovation, especially breakthrough innovations:
Digital ecosystem is dynamic, expansive, interdependent, and hyperconnected. Instead of being overly rigidly grouped around a specific function or business, ecosystems draw together mutually supportive companies from multiple industries that collectively seek to create the differentiated value they could not reach alone. A powerful digital platform is open and powerful not only because it allows information exchange and participant involvement, but also because it ensures that interdependencies and loyalties between partners are taken into account and build up a strong innovation engine.

The evolution of innovation only exists in more open environments or the ecosystem. Today’s technology enables companies to leverage their various environments or ecosystems, to chase innovation, take a holistic approach to develop business-wide innovation capabilities which have many important business elements such as people, system, process, culture, tools, to accelerate innovation performance, continually explore and deliver what the business needs and takes further steps to maximize its full potential.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Monthly CIO Debates Collection & “Digital IT” Book Tuning: The CIO’s Five “How”s to Improve IT Maturity Aug. 2019

Debating is not for stimulating conflicts, but for brainstorming better ways to do things.

Due to the changing nature of technology, IT leadership role also continues to involve & shift the focus, to move up the maturity level. More and more CIOs are requested to take more responsibility and many CIOs present the breadth of leadership competency. The proactive IT debates help IT leaders to brainstorm better ways to do things and improve management capabilities. Here are the monthly CIO debates collections about envisioning digital IT leadership and running high-performance digital IT organizations.


         The CIO’s Five “How”s to Improve IT Maturity 


How to Run Differentiated IT to Reach the Zenith of Digital Maturity  The majority of IT organizations today still limit their role as a support center to keep the lights on. Bottom line thinking is one of the great limitations of the modern IT organization. The true IT value is hard to derive from support services since measuring productivity can be elusive and difficult to quantify. Also, with explosive information flow and disruptive digital technologies, all forward-thinking organizations claim they are in the information management businesses. Hence, IT as an information steward of the business has to be run as a strategic partner and a key differentiator of the company, in order to improve business competency and reach the zenith of digital maturity.

How to Run Digital IT as a Revenue Rain Maker Traditional IT organizations are perceived as a cost center, running in an inside-out operation driven mode. Nowadays, with the exponential growth of information and lightweight digital technologies, forward-looking organizations across industrial sectors claim they are in the information management business, and there is a high expectation of IT to drive changes and lead the digital transformation. Therefore, the invisible divide IT vs. Business needs to go away, and CIOs should market themselves and advocate IT as an integrated component of the company, in order to run IT as an innovation engine and revenue generator for the business. CIOs must set priorities right and have an IT transformation checklist on how to answer the questions such as: How do we get revenues now? How will we do in the future? How should IT help the company win businesses? How can IT contribute to customer acquisition and retention? And how to run digital IT as a revenue rainmaker?

CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer”: How to Demystify the Triple Puzzles of IT Digital CIOs have to deal with multiple challenges. On one hand, modern IT plays a significant role in gluing the enterprise puzzle together to ensure the business as the whole is superior to the sum of pieces. On the other hand, due to the complex nature of technology and the exponential growth of information, IT itself is also like the large piece of the business puzzle sometimes being misplaced, because many IT organizations are still perceived slow, expensive, and not integrated with the business. In today’s digital dynamic and technical environment where IT is being used more and more around the globe for revenue-generating initiatives, how to run a digital-ready IT as a thresholding competency of the organization via demystifying the following triple puzzles?

How to Rebuild Trust between IT and Business IT plays an unprecedented role in modern organizations today, information is the lifeblood of business; and digital technology is often the innovation disruptor. However, there is still a lack of trust relationship between business-IT, within IT or between IT and vendors. Is it because most of the businesses still perceive their IT organizations as a cost center or help desk, rarely invite IT to the big table to co-create strategy? Is it because IT speaks technology jargons the business doesn’t understand, or IT plays as a gatekeeper, not an enabler for taking advantage of the latest digital technology trend. Is it also because nowadays technology vendors walk around IT to directly sell their SaaS solutions to the business functions? What are some effective ways to build/rebuild trust in the IT organization? What are the considerations for the non-IT organizations to gain the trust from IT? What are the considerations for a service provider to gain the trust of IT organizations?

How can CIOs Shift their Focus to Avoid Becoming “Chief Irrelevant Officer” More often than not, technology is the catalyst for driving business change and digital transformation, information is the lifeblood of the business. The expectations for CIO have grown multi-fold, and they are expected to be visionary and path-finder for organizational strategy and growth. How should CIO shift their focus to improve leadership effectiveness and how can CIOs prioritize the limited time and resources to ascend IT maturity?


The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 3 million page views with 5900+ 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. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating 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 Best “Bureaucracy” Quotes of “Digital Master” Aug. 2019

 Bureaucracy causes stagnation. Organizations, like individuals, need to be in flow to operate smoothly.

"Digital Master” is a series of guidebooks (28 + books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” It perceives the emergent trends of digital leadership, provides advice on how to run a digital organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide insight about Change Management. It also instructs the digital workforce on how to shape a game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future. Here is a set of “bureaucracy” quotes in “Digital Master."


1 Generally speaking, bureaucracy is a system based on a hierarchy of authority and division of workforce functioning in a routine manner.

2 Bureaucracy is correlated with a mechanistic view of the organization and reductionistic management discipline. It is criticized by the lack of system perspective, with characteristics such as inflexibility, inefficiency, silo, stagnation, unresponsiveness, or lack of creativity, etc

3 Bureaucratic thinking generates negative energy: It is about fear of failure; fear to get out of old habits (a known style of doing things), fear to lose the status quo.

4 Bureaucratic thinking divides “thinking” and “working.” Debureaucratization is a management practice and starts at the mindset level.

5 Bureaucracy causes stagnation. Organizations, like individuals, need to be in flow to operate smoothly.

6 An organization achieves the state of digital equilibrium through its management layers. Delayering becomes a lens through which it is possible to examine and fix many other issues including bureaucracy.

7 In today's volatile economy, nothing impedes progress more than protective silos which are simply a form of bureaucratic management hierarchy designed to preserve the status quo.

8 Bureaucracy = Process Inefficiency. No Bureaucracy ≠ No Rules. From a management perspective, it’s all about the balance of avoiding any excess in setting the 'rules,' but remain the necessary control.

9 The digital organization is a hyper-connected and interdependent business system, breaking down silos and bureaucracy involves tapping the organization’s ecosystem for the collective perspectives/insights of those who make up and know intimately their parts of the system.

Fine-Tune Organizational Changeability to Get Digital Ready

Change cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished, it’s the common practice, multidimensional management discipline, and ongoing business competency.

Compared to the business world decades ago, the speed of change is increasing, and digital ecosystem has become so complex and dynamic, to put simply, change itself changes. Change Management also turns out to be a holistic and multifaceted business discipline. Organizations across vertical sectors realize that one of their greatest strengths will be their change capability. Successful businesses are the ones that have learned how to strike the delicate balance and implement change time after time and build it as a solid ongoing business competency.


Trivial many, substantial few - set right priorities: Nowadays, there are so many things going on in the business, companies are overwhelmed by exponential growth of information and frequent disruptions. There are all sorts of changes going on - positive changes, negative changes, incremental changes, transformative change; reactive changes, proactive changes; technical changes, structural change, or people change, etc. However, change is never for its own sake, it’s all about accelerating business performance and improving the organizational maturity. Change Management needs to take a holistic approach, set the right priority and focus on building change as a unique business competency to improve business performance and anchor change as a new opportunity. Trivial many, substantial few. Business change management is about managing everything that is necessary to get people to adopt new ways of working such as stakeholder management, process or organizational change, digital readiness, etc. It is important to prioritize things, enforce two-way creative communication and have the perseverance to truly make the change happen and also sustain its effect. Change is the 'Now.' Transformation is a journey and requires larger strategic investment. Business leaders should look beyond immediate problem resolution, envision, express, and reinforce their personal and visible commitment to change initiatives, not just sponsor a few random change initiatives, but manage a balanced portfolio for making continuous improvement and driving transformative change in a structural way.

Naysayers vs. Yay sayers - identify change bottlenecks: Statistically, more than two thirds of Change Management efforts fail to achieve expected business results. The roadblocks to change include, but not limited to lack of direction, internal politics, culture inertia, misaligned systems/processes, overly rigid hierarchy or centralization, functional silos, complacency, status quo, or wrong groupthink, etc. It is important to try to find ways to make people feel involved in the design and implementation of the change. The more transparent about a change effort, the less uncertainty, and consequently less fear, the change management will become more effective. Naysayers vs. Yay sayers, change leaders should listen to opinions from both sides for gaining true understanding. Yay sayers have potential to become change agents and convey the positive messages enthusiastically; Naysayers or skeptics have an invaluable point of view about the change, their feedback can be very important in shaping the change effort to increase its success. How you create an authentic context that allows for agreement and disagreement to work equally towards the desired result is the art and science of Change Management. During the whole change process, make sure that all staff is aware of the plan/process, timely updated, break down process bottleneck, and take responsibility for building change competency.

Fully understand change curves and have a sense of urgency - take a steadfast speed: In today's VUCA new normal, most of the changes are complex processes, there is a deep learning curve behind them. It’s important to have change curve awareness, make an objective assessment of how much change capability (people, process, knowledge, and technology) is required for the effort you are kicking off. How do you make changes to anything without knowing all the parts and how they are related? When it comes to tools to ensure optimal change, a focus that goes beyond the change implementation itself and makes managers ready to handle change before change is even on the agenda. The right moment to change is when the top senses the urgency and the bottom feels the pain, change curve is fully understood, and change inertia is minimized via common understanding about the necessity and imperatives of changes, the majority of people are on the journey that the real results start to emerge. Keep in mind, there is no “one size fits all” change formula. "Planned Change Management" shouldn’t be too rigid or overly prescribed, otherwise, it could create a bottleneck for streamlining change scenario. A highly changeable organization is the company that can quickly and safely assess all of the consequences of a possible change and devise effective plans to provide a combination approach for having both a sense of urgency and overcoming change curves, to achieve and sustain changes - and to do them continuously at a steadfast speed.

Change becomes the new normal. However, either for managing incremental improvement or leading radical transformation, take a balanced approach to keep the business running forward with certainty even if you have to “rock the boat” accordingly. Change cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished, it’s the common practice, multidimensional management discipline, and ongoing business competency.

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Monthly “Digital Gaps” Book Tuning: Identify and Fill Multitude of Skill/Talent Gaps Aug. 2019

We live in a time of rapidly changing technology and business dynamic, some new skills or digital capabilities are needed every day.

"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 identify and strengthen the weakest link and take a step-wise approach to make a leap of digital transformation.

             Identify and Fill Multitude of Skill/Talent Gaps


How to Fill Skills Gaps via Proper Trainings? We live in a time of rapidly changing technology and business dynamic, the growth minds, new skills, or digital capabilities are needed every day. From talent management perspective, more specifically, how do you identify skill gap issues (some are real, some are “artificial,”) and how to fill competency gaps via proper training?

Is IT skills Gap Fact or Fiction? There’s always a debate regarding IT talent supply and demand, does IT skills gap really exist? Or is it due to any management issues such as misunderstanding or miscommunication upon talent value chain? What is the root cause and how to solve the problem?

 Is Talent Shortage Real or Artificial? With the economy getting in better shape, more and more organizations start ambitious hiring plan to drive business growth, does your organization experience a talent shortage? What do you consider the primary issues? Skill gap? Talent scarcity? How do you define "social hiring" - and, at the digital era, do you agree that ineffective social hiring causes inability to attract good candidates? Or to put simply, is talent shortage real or artificial?

The Cause & Effect of Talent Gaps We live in a time of rapidly changing technology and business dynamic, some new skills or digital capabilities are needed every day. From talent management perspective, more specifically, what are the cause and effect of skill gap issues (some are real, some are “artificial,”) and how to handle them effectively in shaping both individual and corporate Digital Master?

IT Skills Gap According to industry surveys, IT skills gap is a significant challenge facing IT leaders today, what are exactly the skills gaps and what are the resulting symptoms? For example, businesses have job openings, but cannot find people with the right skill set; or the talented people they currently have do not have the right competencies to adapt to the changes; or their business partners do not understand IT. Sometimes, the gaps people usually pick are not root causes, they are symptoms of specific best practices not being used. So what are the organizational best practices/ways that have been deployed to close the gap?


The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 3 million page views with about #5900th 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 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 Best “Pattern Language” Quotes of “Digital Master” Aug. 2019

 Pattern thinking enables to capture deep insight into complex problems systematically.

"Digital Master” is a series of guidebooks (28 + books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” It perceives the emergent trends of digital leadership, provides advice on how to run a digital organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide insight about Change Management. It also instructs the digital workforce on how to shape a game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future. Here is a set of “Pattern Language” quotes in “Digital Master."




1 A Pattern Language is an attempt to express the deeper wisdom of what brings aliveness within a particular field of human endeavor.

2 Patterns play a role in science, math, art, and virtually every action or activity we engage in. When patterns work together to solve problems in a particular area, these patterns are called a pattern language.

3 Pattern Thinking is a hybrid thinking to combine design thinking, system thinking, architect thinking and visual thinking for solving complex problems or capturing deep insight. Pattern thinking enables to capture deep insight into complex problems systematically.

4 A pattern language is "about" the relationships between patterns - particularly the way you can navigate from pattern to pattern to learn about a problem space and to apply different solutions in combination.

5 The pattern language tells you how one pattern "leads to" another, in the same way that one clause in a natural language might lead to another.

6 The language is a system of rules that say how patterns can be combined in ways that "make sense" syntactically and add insight semantically.

7 If you look at patterns, you will find that they are containers for describing relationships because that is what gives them their sense.

8 Understanding patterns is about how to recognize patterns for either solving business problems or enforcing designing thinking.

9 Pattern Thinking is important for designing or problem-solving. The focus is on what patterns do, a higher order focus than on what patterns are.

Cultivate a Culture of Innovation

It takes time and generations of changes within a company to embrace fresh thinking and cultivate a culture of innovation, especially breakthrough innovation.

Although everyone talks about innovation and many companies intellectually understand innovation, they don’t really know how to build innovation into their culture. In many cases, companies of all sizes, especially large corporations have become too dependent on satisfying corporate regulation or protocols, and get sucked in innovation management. In essence, innovation rejuvenation is truly about how to cultivate a culture of innovation and manage a balanced innovation portfolio.




The culture of innovation starts with a culture of participation: In many traditional organizations, innovation is just a buzzword, everyone talks about it, but very few people, especially leaders are creative enough to live on it and knowledgeable enough to really work on it. Innovation happens at the intersection of people and technology; customers and business. Employee engagement in the innovation process increases participation and streamlines creativity flow. Therefore, communication and participation are important to spark creativity and nurture a culture of innovation. To search for disruptive or breakthrough innovation, keep the doors open and be inclusive in your brainstorming and encourage "out-of-the-box" thinking. Design a bigger community and co-create with people outside your customer circles or industries, to connect unusual dots for generating great ideas. People with interdisciplinary knowledge can often produce great ideas and stimulate creative energy because they are able to think more holistically when it comes to new products or designs, and more often, during the early stages of ideation around disruptive innovation. Keep in mind though, the culture of innovation isn’t built in a day, it takes open and bold leadership, long-term strategy, and robust processes and methodologies.

Embed innovation management mechanism into the corporate DNA: Businesses, especially well -established corporations and within that environment, innovations can range from small to game changers. Innovation shouldn’t be serendipitous, it needs to become your business routine; from top-down, you have to live it and breathe it every day. It is important to note that within the organizations, innovation is rarely an individual action; rather, it is a team effort, often across multiple organizational silos. Thus, creative culture is usually outward-looking rather than insular, it’s critical to foster a culture of innovation cross functional disciplines and embed innovation management mechanism into the corporate DNA. Innovation leaders need to ponder deeper: How to stimulate more innovation of the disruptive type? “Stimulation" makes more sense because the faster pace of changes and fierce competitions require businesses today having a bolder attitude and higher innovation competency. For less innovative companies, their people often get stuck in the “comfort zone,” having the “compliance only” mindset. Thus, it is important to create a safe environment for learning from failures, and people are becoming more willing to accept a degree of risk and experimentation, etc. And surely the risk-taking should be supported - morally at least.

Influence and put the right innovation elements to nurture a creative environment: Culture of innovation is a collective mindset and a prerequisite to run a sustainable business these days. Change the culture is the mindset, although you can’t impose the desired culture to your organization, surely you can follow the principles and practices to transform your culture. Disruptive innovation will happen no matter how well you prepare. Great leaders are creative themselves, they can inspire, provoke, empower their innovators and change agents, provide the direction when needed and give others time, space, and freedom to create. To inspire a culture of breakthrough innovation, you should rather reward taking risks, fail fast & forward, and learn from failures to innovate effectively. Culture is the collective mindset, attitude, and behavior. Putting the right innovation elements to nurture a creative environment is about rejuvenating a "culture of innovation" which incorporates multiple and diverse components such as value, trust, communication, collaboration, simplicity, adaptability, and continuous improvement, etc.

The digital era upon us is about innovation with accelerated speed. Without innovation, companies will become irrelevant sooner or later due to hypercompetition and high business velocity. Developing creativity is a long-term endeavor. While you can train somebody to become more innovative or, at least, understand the innovative thinking. It takes time and generations of changes within a company to embrace fresh thinking and cultivate a culture of innovation, especially breakthrough innovation. But it’s the effort worth taking.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 8/15/2019

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


The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 3 million page views with 5900+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The “Digital Master” book series includes 28 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.


Be Alert of the Three Opposites of “Digital Mentality” Many organizations are doing digital - applying some fancy gadgets or taking a few business initiatives. But very few are taking a holistic approach to go digital and be digital. The fundamental difference is the digital mind shift. One of the most important perspectives of Change Management is to understand the psychology behind change and how to keep digital fit from the mindset level. This is related to a function of things such as basic mental framework, cognitive intelligence or emotional brilliance. Be alert of the following three opposites of “digital mentality.”

The Board as IT Maturity Evaluator Information is the lifeblood of the business and technology is the disruptive force behind the digital transformation. Nowadays, information technology can either lift or fail business even overnight. Therefore, an IT savvy board should change the perspective to understand the power of information technology and make an objective assessment of IT maturity of their organization so that companies can leverage IT to improve the top line business growth and build a long-term business advantage.

The Monthly “Change Insight” Book Tuning: Nonlinearity & Change Management Aug. 2019 Change is inevitable, organizational change has become a common practice within an organization, but too often changes are made as a reaction to outer impulses, crisis, and demands. This is the bureaucracy’s way of meeting the challenges. A digital transformation is achieved via dynamic Strategy-Execution-Change life cycle management, though it is not all linear steps, but an iterative, ongoing and up-going change continuum.

Five Perspectives of Improving IT Competency The characteristics of digital business are dynamic, volatile, uncertain, hyper-connected and interdependent. IT is the linchpin to run a high performance digital organization. To reinvent its reputation from a cost center to a strategic business partner, IT needs to spend more resources on creating unique competency for driving business growth, truly understand stakeholders’ expectations, and propose a well-balanced products/services/solutions portfolio that corresponds to both demand and cost driver with a focus on business priority and achieving strategic business goals with continuous deliveries. Here are five perspectives of improving IT competency.

The Monthly “IT Innovation” Book Tuning: The Creative Side of IT Aug. 2019 Within abundant information and emergent digital technologies, IT is a key component of holistic business mindset to re-imagine “what is possible” - unleashing business potentials and improving business efficiency, effectiveness, agility, and maturity. The art of possible to reinvent IT in the digital age is to deliver the value of information in helping businesses grow, delight customers and doing more with innovation.

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking about 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 Best “Complacency” Quotes of “Digital Master” Aug. 2019

Complacency is at the heart of resistance to change and causes business vulnerability in the face of fierce competitions and frequent disruptions.

"Digital Master” is a series of guidebooks (28 + books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” It perceives the emergent trends of digital leadership, provides advice on how to run a digital organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide insight about Change Management. It also instructs the digital workforce on how to shape a game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future. Here is a set of “Complacency” quotes in “Digital Master."


1 Complacency almost always stems from a sense of success or living in a comfort zone: More often, a complacency mindset lives long after the success that created has disappeared.

2 Failing to understand the need for change is in a way or another complacency. A complacency mind gets used to reacting, not being proactive.

3 Complacency is at the heart of resistance to change and causes business vulnerability in the face of fierce competitions and frequent disruptions.

4 When business leaders or managers are comfortable with the status quo, they often miss the big picture and become complacent.

5 Numerous changes or business transformations run, complete, and then slowly crumble away as people slowly revert to old ways of doing things, and get stuck with complacency. Once that complacency barrier is broken, people become more creative and learning agile, a positive change process can commence.

6 If most people get stuck in the comfort zone to maintain the status quo, vilify change agents, mediocrity gets rewarded, complacency is mainstream mentality, and different voices get shut off, you are perhaps at the plateau of change, even move downward or lead backward.

7 The point is when complacency sprouts up, people with such mindset stop flowing their energy up towards the positive directions (learning new things, building new capabilities), then, their energy more often flows down to the negative or unprofessional direction.

8 The challenges for both individuals and organizations are to pay attention to CRIC-cycle (Crisis, Response, Improvement, Complacency), and how to try to break the cycle, or transform the last stage (complacency) into a "vigilance" status aimed at anticipating and preventing morphing into the next crisis.

9 It is important to build a culture of learning, encourage people to get out of the comfort zone and overcome complacency.

Build a Cognitive Digital Business to Unleash its Potential

 The cognitive organization is complex enough to act intelligently and nimble enough to adapt to changes promptly.

The effects of an increasingly digitized world are now reaching into every aspect of organizations. Today’s businesses are dynamic and complex, they have to keep improving their cognitive ability to solve tough problems and implement great ideas successfully. Either at the individual or organizational level, cognition involves exploring a variety of meanings, absorbing and digesting information from varying sources, it’s a sort of perception and insight. Digital organizations are information oriented and people-centric, it’s important to improve their collective cognitive maturity to accelerate business performance and unleash its full potential.

Cognitive understanding requires an ability to grasp or comprehend information: We live in the exponential digital era, there isn't really much of an enterprise without the massive oceans of data that flows through the company at any given split second. Information is the lifeblood of business, the quality of intelligence depends greatly on the quantity of information. The cognitive ability of the organization depends on how effectively they can process information and make data-based, on-time decision in a consistent way. It is the aggregation and the assessment of information that create the intelligence required to run a highly cognitive organization. Information is all that is used to create the intelligence and shape a good strategy; as well as to test the results of strategy execution. It will be those companies that proactively invest in information Management solutions today will be able to competitively leverage their own information going forward and ensure that Information Management activities are effective by delivering tangible and visible business benefits for their long term benefit.

Improve organizational cognitive maturity to enable holistic management disciplines: Information is fluid, it has to flow frictionlessly to ensure the right people getting the right information to make the right decisions in a timely manner. Thus, digital organizations need to break down functional silos and embrace the holistic management discipline. A cognitive organization can respond to business opportunities and risks promptly, to ensure the organization as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces. The value of information must be qualitative, measurable, and defined uniquely by an organization. To deepen the level of understanding and improve organizational cognitive maturity, it’s critical to manage a healthy information-innovation business cycle, bring data-based insight, fine-tune underlying business functions and processes to improve business responsiveness and performance.

The art and science of information management are to optimize its usage and achieve its value and full potential: Information is the golden thread of the digital organization. With overwhelming growth of information, faster pace of changes and unprecedented business complexity, business insight and foresight are critical to navigating the organization into the uncharted water and blurred digital territories. Information Management involves the use of technologies and processes with the aim of refining customer insight and business foresight. The goal is to predict what will happen and step further and what you should do upon it. It helps the company prepare the journey for either capturing the rising business opportunities timely or preventing potential risks effortlessly. Information abundance brings about fresh business ideas which generate business value. When information gets stuck, innovation is stifled and business suffers. Cognitive digital organizations can harness the power of data to provide the emergent business trends with a fact-based vision of where to aim and how to get there. It’s the scientific management discipline of business orientation to achieve the long-term success.

The most important capability of a cognitive business is the willingness and ability to seek out information & knowledge, gain in-depth understanding of their business, capture business insight and foresight, address ignorance and assumptions, and improve business risk intelligence. The cognitive organization is complex enough to act intelligently and nimble enough to adapt to changes promptly.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Monthly “100 Creativity Ingredients” Book Tuning: Design Thinking & Creativity Aug. 2019

To digitize businesses and unlock business potential, it's important to leverage design thinking for improving business maturity from functioning to firm to delight.

All humans are born with raw creativity ability. Creativity has many dimensions, with multi-faceted truth and myth, manifold knowledge and multidimensional insight. Creativity is the wings of our mind and the tempo of our heartbeat. Creativity is a constructive disruption, not so bad addiction, and a sensational phenomenon. The purpose of “100 Creativity Ingredients - Everyone’s Playbook to Unlock Creativity “is to classify, scrutinize, articulate, and share insight about one hundred special creativity ingredients, to paint the picture with them, to add colors on them, to embed the music into them, and to make the story via them, in order to unleash our collective creativity potential.     

              Design Thinking, Imagination, Creativity 


Design Thinking and Innovation Digital is the age of options, it provides the opportunity to think of a new way to do things. It forces digital leaders to get really creative on how they could leverage design thinking to architect and implement changes and how they handle the investigation of developing innovative business solutions in a structural way. Design becomes a strategic business driver equal to business and technology. In practice, many legacy businesses come with a legacy mindset, the old way to do things, lack of vision, passion, motivation, and talent to stimulate design thinking and spark innovation. In reality, very few companies can arrive at the top level of design maturity. To digitize businesses and unlock business potential, it's important to leverage design thinking for improving business maturity from functioning to firm to delight.

Design Thinking and Imagination Being able to become innovative to achieve the “art of possible” is being able to apply design thinking to create new things based on the business or customers’ needs. Fundamentally, design is a creative process of turning imagination into reality. There are architecture imagination, practical imagination, as well as aesthetic of imagination, which need to be leveraged in design scenario for creating new products or services to delight customers.

Practice the “Art of Possible” by Leverage Design Thinking Creativity is the most needed skill in the 21st century because digital is the era of innovation. Creativity is both innate and a skill. Developing creativity requires both internal motivation and self-awareness. Being original and being yourself is the first step, breaking down the convention thinking box, and practicing out-of-the-box thinking is one of the mental activities to stimulate creativity as well. Here is the further understanding about the multifaceted creativity.

Design-Driven Innovation Nowadays, innovation has many flavors, from open innovation to a systematic approach; from customer-centricity to technology breakthrough. Here comes design-driven innovation.Design thought has stages of maturity: From design-by-default, where design just happens and design is dictated by status quo policies, procedures, tools, and old mindsets, to design –by-practice, where design becomes the key ingredient of innovation strategy, and design-driven innovation has been supported by cohesive business capability, well-tuned business processes and high-skilled talent teams with open mind working at creative business environment.

Shape a Design-driven and People-centric Digital Organization
Digital makes a significant impact on every aspect of the business from people, process to technology both horizontally and vertically. In reality, different organizations are at different stages of the business maturity life cycle, strive to move up their maturity from functioning to firm to delight. The digital era upon us is about people. Therefore, organizations need to get deeply immersed in designing, developing and delivering great products or solutions to make their customers smarter, more productive, collaborative, and delightful. Focusing on customers’ need and what the market is moving toward should be a reasonable path to pursue innovation and shape a design-driven and people-centric digital organization.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 3 million page views with about #5900th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The “Digital Master book series includes 28 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.

The Board as IT Maturity Evaluator

The corporate board’s IT inquiries help the business understand the critical role of IT in achieving business performance and maximizing business potential.


Information is the lifeblood of the business and technology is the disruptive force behind the digital transformation. Nowadays, information technology can either lift or fail business even overnight. Therefore, an IT savvy board should change the perspective to understand the power of information technology and make an objective assessment of IT maturity of their organization so that companies can leverage IT to improve the top line business growth and build a long-term business advantage.

Help to set guiding principles for running digital IT organization: The corporate board oversees the business strategy and sets guiding principles for practicing business management disciplines. Guiding principles let the organization know what to expect when dealing with IT. It serves as a yardstick by which to manage and measure IT internally and externally, and it can spur some great discussions with fellow C-suites to improve business maturity. To oversee the strategy, you will need a cascade of statements that link the overall vision/philosophy of the organization, value statements, Mission Statements, Strategy, Objectives, and Programs (Tactics). There needs to be a pragmatic way of applying whatever principles to the problem in a consistent manner. Otherwise, it is a waste of effort to even state them. Today IT is permeating into every corner of the business, IT management is no longer just the business of IT department, but a holistic management discipline to ensure the right people getting the right information to make the right decisions for solving the right problems at the right time. The corporate board’s IT oversight is important because it is not easy for a set of defined principles that can be applied holistically - their content contains natural conflict, and without a method of prioritizing and implementing them consistently, they become a source of contention.

Assess the overall IT performance: The fundamental accountability issue for the corporate board is to ensure the organization acts in accordance with the relevant regulations. Often, companies overwhelmed with too many business initiatives is a common scenario. The root cause of the problem is the lack of connection between strategy and implementation. There are a couple of contributing factors to project overwhelming and lack of priority, such as leadership ineffectiveness, resource under-estimation, or the “whirlwind” of the day to day operations, etc. The corporate board’s strategy oversight and performance monitoring help the business management including IT set the right priority, lead the business to a realization that the real challenge and the real opportunity in improving the corporate governance of IT are in reworking the management systems so that they are integral aspects of the corporate management systems for planning, building, and running the business to improve its effectiveness, performance, and maturity.

Evaluate the maturity of the IT organization: Is IT an enabler or an obstacle to getting things done in organizations? One of the biggest obstacles to achieving digital fluency is the gap between business and IT. IT organization is supposed to be one of the most significant building blocks of the business competency, but it’s perceived as the roadblock to getting things done. Too often, IT is involved too late in the decision-making process. This results in a dynamic where the business develops enthusiastically nice and shiny plans and goals, but IT then has to explain why this cannot be developed and fit into the plan at a reasonable investment. Thus, an IT-friendly board should oversee the business strategy with IT strategy as an integral component, invite IT leaders to the big table for providing input and sharing a technological vision. If the IT focus is on operations and controlling only, it is no wonder non-IT executives consider IT as an obstacle. IT leaders must know how to promote their organization by "selling the right things right," to have a seat at the big table and share the vision the radical digital transformation IT can catalyze. The corporate board monitors the business performance and sets the cultural tone to build a high performance organization. Collaboration, transparency, respect, and clear leadership are the keys to break down silos, and every department in the company needs to work together to be successful.

The corporate board’s IT assessment and oversight help the business management understand the critical role of IT in achieving high performance and maximizing business potential. The top leadership needs to sort through the critical issues, develop rationalizations and achieve mutually acceptable solutions that are then communicated up, down and across the enterprise to integrate IT and business and make a seamless digital transformation.

Reinvent Future of Business with Multifaceted Management Shift

The digital paradigm shift represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem.

Digital transformation isn’t just an extension of continuous improvement of the current business but a multidimensional exploration and expansion with radical change on a grand level. A digital organization is a living business in the relationship with its environments, customers, suppliers, and different shareholders by proactively connecting, discovering, and experimenting. That requires organizations to explore new ways to do things and make radical shift from multifaceted perspectives in order to reinvent the business to get digital ready,


From monochrome to multidimensional vision for re-imagining the future of the organization: In the digital era with “VUCA” characteristics, vision becomes so important to both capture business growth opportunities and predict risks. Digital leaders today must shape a clear vision and constantly visible by sharing their vision and encouraging others to share theirs as well. They can manifest a vision vividly by taking a broader lens and embracing the full spectrum of colors rather than just "black and white." Lack of vision, tunnel vision, monochrome vision, or the “vision existing on paper only” are all sorts of traps which could mislead management, make bad strategy, cause decision ineffectiveness, and decelerate the speed of changes. Metaphorically, A variety of traffic lights: Red, Yellow, Green, Which color should symbolize the visionary leadership? With conventional wisdom, if you see the green light, it implies that you can see further and drive ahead boldly; if you see the red light, it means you perhaps get some serious issues, need to be cautious and controlling - stop, wait and examine. In fact, to deal with “VUCA” digital new normal, yellow light is a good symbol of visionary leadership - having both courage and caution at the same time. When the yellow light is flashing, leaders have to make judgment calls, set widest range of strategic alternatives and take proper actions all the time. The other vision-related trap is that business executives think that somehow if they have a vision, magically it will become a reality. A passionate connection to vision doesn't mean you will always be excited about it, it means you need to live by it at the daily basis and will be willing to suffer for it as you realize you are responsible for the game-changing effects of its realization.

From micromanagement to macro-management for encouraging autonomy: Nowadays, many organizations suffer from overloaded information, rapid pace of changes and frequent disruptions, the “command and control” management style is gradually running out of steam because today’s workforce is highly educated and fluent with digital technologies, they prefer to make their own choice to communicate and do their work with freedom. To put another way, autonomy or self-management is an emerging digital theme. Therefore, it’s important to lay out the ground rules upfront as a team, make a real shift from micromanagement to macromanagement, set clear goals and measurement to guide the team without over-controlling. A team can be self-organizing in determining the best and most efficient method of delivering the commitments. Holding managers or staff to their accountability is key so that the whole team knows the significant details, the mechanisms, and goals to the annual and long-term goals are vital. If you are pulling the reins too tight, setting too rigid process, or undermining managers or staff to micro run or make a decision without collective input, you probably fall into the micro-management trap. Micro-management is often a culture thing, it can be diagnosed early on and fixed properly to encourage autonomy and improve the team accountability.


From monitor-driven to motivational style of performance management for unleashing talent potential: The purpose of managing performance is about setting performance metrics to make objective assessments and understand performance measurement result. In many traditional organizations, talent performance management turns out to be some practices to monitor people's daily behaviors or an annual routine to focus mainly on past performance. But monitor-driven performance management is not sufficient to nurture a culture of innovation and develop a people-centric digital business. The one way to find out whether the performance measurement and management are effective or not is by looking at the behavior and culture the KPIs are driving. If negativity or unhealthy competition is up, mediocrity is encouraged, and politics is becoming more and more dominant, then you know that performance indicators are perhaps set wrong and performance management evolution is a strategic imperative. Highly effective performance management should facilitate frictionless information flow and motivate people to accomplish their work creatively and achieve performance higher than expectations. Performance management is not just a silo management practice to monitor or measure the quantitative delivery of staff, a team or a function, but a holistic management discipline which needs to connect many relevant dots such as strategy management, change management, culture management, and people management to involve development, enablement, and enhancement.

The digital paradigm shift represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem. Reinventing the future of business takes both vision and strategy; it’s about setting out goals and working at them in a systematic way for proactively disrupting outdated mindsets, processes, technologies, or cultures, etc. It takes multifaceted approaches to unlock digital performance and catalyze change. Companies should experiment and learn, run, grow and transform business consistently and harmoniously.