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, July 31, 2015

An Inquisitive Board: How to Ask the Tough Questions

The board's role is to pull management out of the trees to see the forest!

Generally speaking, Boards have a couple of main functions such as strategy oversight, governance practices, providing advice to executives, and resource provision, etc. So the Board should be knowledge enough to set broad strategic goals. They need to educate themselves by hearing different views about the organization, its environment, and strategic alternatives. Even the majority of BoDs are senior executives, they need to breakdown the “status quo,” present learning agility and show the inquisitiveness to ask the tough and right questions. The board represents the ownership and they really cannot do a good job if they don't have the courage and knowledge to question and challenge and set the broad strategic goals, culture tones, and the digital theme of boardroom itself. As an inquisitive BoD: How do you ask the tough questions?

From a governance perspective, are you investing in a GPS system to guide through or a defensive system to mitigate risks only? The question on how hard to push the accelerator (to reach strategic goals) depends entirely on the readiness of each organization’s braking system (governance and risk management readiness). The role of board members must always be to focus on the strategic initiatives of the organization amidst the mounting pressure of governance, regulatory compliance and risk management responsibilities. Some boards seem to relish in building the most capable defensive system instead of investing in a sophisticated GPS system to guide the organization down their chosen path. It will only be when the internal and external emphasis shifts from regulatory and compliance governance to identifying, reporting and developing the behavioural governance, team dynamics, director reviews, performance, selection, etc., of organizations that you will make a quantum move away from these repeated instances of governance failure.

With regard to the strategic thinking, keep asking what’s happening in your market and what’re your competitors doing., etc. The main role of a board is to oversee strategy with the executive management. A board should be engaged in by scrutinizing the strategy, the leadership of the board, along with senior management, can benefit from a 'Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats' analysis if one has not been performed recently. That could be a way of focusing the board and management back on some of the strategic issues needing to be addressed to strengthen and grow the organization. There are few substitutes for looking honestly and objectively at the possibility that the business may not be as strong as you have assumed it is as well as what is happening in your market and what your competitors are doing. That's a conversation that can lead to good results for the business.

From risk management perspective, continue to question: what’re your downside risks and what’re your upside risks? Risk assessment is important and something a board, through its appropriate committee, should be aware of and work with management to plug holes and mitigate risk. One thing you might think about "risk" is the two types - downside risk or upside risk. The latter being the uncertainty about whether projects will succeed while the former may not have any positive gain but is simply loss prevention. In addition to financial risk management functions, talent-succession risk management functions are also an important responsibility for every Board of Directors. By categorizing the different type of risks, Board can pay more attention to the company's bottom line operation and top-line growth potential.

Ask deep questions about the “culture things”: Such as, what’s the current culture? What’s the culture wanted? Culture is the most invisible, but a powerful element in businesses. In sociology, the elements of culture are described as values, beliefs, behavior and rituals. If the company does not have culture readiness for change, willingness to be inventive, employees who feel leaders present a good case for change, and good communications, among other things, there is little hope for change. So strategy alone can't fix an inflexible or old model company. Culture is not easily changeable. It is embedded in the organization's DNA.The strategy has to be built around culture. If a strategy is absent, the culture will create one. By providing people with the corporate elements of a culture specific to the corporate aspirations, leadership both engages and empowers people so that everyone knows what needs to be achieved and has an organized ability to contribute. At the end of the day, engagement and empowerment are the desired outcomes from corporate culture and the elements that distinguish an effective leadership from a common management. Culture also defines what kind of people you hire. So if you hire non-risk takers, non-inventive, non-accountable etc. types of people it will be impossible to introduce a strategy which involves growth risk-taking, entrepreneurial behavior, accountability, etc. At boardroom, the further "problem" could be a cultural one as well, a strong culture of "positional management" where the Chief Executive could not be questioned and the directors simply did whatever they were told - even if it was wrong ! That's why external Independent Directors are critical to good governance. If well chosen, they are not afraid to ask whether the Emperor has his clothes on.

In order to “digitize” boardrooms, the BoDs need to show the inquisitiveness and ask tough questions from information technology perspective: Too many Boards are filled with pre-digital executives who not only have limited experience making technology decisions or assessments but whose eyes glaze over when the CIO comes into the room to provide an update. When IT is quite often a differentiating capability, how can Boards pay more attention to that area? The answer becomes self-evident, ensure there is at least one Board member fluent in “bilingual” to speak both business and IT dialects. In the digital world with enormous transformations, more often, technology is the disruptive force or game changer, companies with a digital strategy driven by the CIO at a board level can better weave digital into every fabric of business and bring different perspectives on governance and risk intelligence. An IT friendly board shall change the perspective to understand the power of information and the potential of technology.

The board's role is to pull management out of the trees to see the forest. To see the shape of the landscape to come and how it will address this. To ensure there is a strong context for establishing the tactical choices and the surprises that will invariably show up. This is an interesting lesson for board directors; to continue questioning on important issues where management's answers do not make sense. Requiring detailed answers does not constitute interfering with management - it is consistent with good governance principles processes, and practices.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Five Barriers to Change Management Success

Managing change is no longer a one-time project, but an ongoing business capability.

Change is inevitable, and organizational change becomes a common practice within an organization, but more than two-thirds of change effort fails to achieve the expected results. What’re the barriers to cause the change failures, and how to make Change Management tangible rather than fluffy?

Not investing enough time to discover the root cause of issues: People seem to feel efficient -doing things right when working on the problem reactively. However, effectiveness - doing the right things, requires a little bit of thinking before doing with a proactive mentality and attitude. ''If you're very busy, you should sit down, if you're extremely busy, you should lay down'' referring to the analyzing process what the problem really is and how you should go about solving it. Digging through the big WHY is extremely important either for change or any kind of business initiatives, and leveraging Systems Thinking to discover the root cause is about seeing the interconnectivity between the parts and the whole, to avoid the “Change for its own sake” symptom, and often fix the things from the “mindset” level. All changes require a cooling period. Business cannot take initiative for granted.

Lack of executive sponsorship and management accountability: There must be a senior executive to act as a sponsor for the project of change, yet being the name at the top of a change organizational chart is not enough. The sponsor must be fully engaged with the change, willing to be visible, willing to lead other senior stakeholders and ready to participate (or at least attend to learn) workshops and project meetings. If the sponsor is him/herself the barrier, the change manager must try to identify and break those barriers. It's rarely easy, but it is essential. Organizational Change Management initiatives also need business stakeholders who accept ownership for decision making and accountability. The culture side should have a bit in about the culture of management not meeting or aligning with the organization's values. This is usually down to a lack of enforcement at the top etc. The need for the change must be identified as well as affected users. Those users (primary and secondary) should be made aware of why the change is necessary. The executive sponsor and change team manage timely or regular follow-up which is an absolute must. The personal involvement of the executive sponsor is obviously critical to overcoming the barriers.

Lack of a well-thought-out execution plan: One of the major barriers to successful change is the lack of a change plan. Change is more than a goal, it must be accompanied by well thought out execution plans. There are too many executives limit their role to idea identification and too few focus on execution planning. Working in cooperation with a project manager, schedule your change activities as part of the project - this will ensure that the cart is never before the horse, and there is sufficient time to prepare the stakeholders. Aiming is critical -- meaning execution planning. Otherwise, old projects get a cosmetic change to look like they are supporting the change when they are not. The execution plan needs to include measurement and risk management as well, to make your needs known, and manage risk smoothly. If you're not getting the support you need, it's a risk.

Lack of knowledge about organizational Design Principles (structure, resource, culture): There are two options, namely, a dominant hierarchy or a non-dominant hierarchy, lack of resources (money, people, time, etc) and the sufficient knowledge to manage a Change Management project or program. Transformational change needs resolute leadership too, the premise behind this is more than simply obtaining senior buy-in. This is needed to support a cultural change through the change lifecycle which enables everyone, wherever they are in that cycle, to accept the direction of travel and focus on benefits realization.

Lack of change review, reflection, and recognition: The lack of recognition for change impacts individuals and businesses’ willingness to extend themselves again for the next change. As a Change Initiative is completed, often team walks away without checking to see if it adds value or evaluating if additional work is required. Also, often teams are more interested in perception as opposed to value-adds. Taking the time to communicate the expected outcome with consideration of the "right" way allows the team to have room to make success progressive. The lack of breathing space between change initiatives is an issue as well. Plowing on to the next big thing before completely embedding the change into business as usual or running multiple simultaneous changes can leave a workforce reeling and exhausted.

The speed of change is accelerating. Managing change is no longer a one-time initiative, and Change Management turns out to be strategically important in today’s digital organizations. Therefore, by identifying these roadblocks for changes, organizations can build an ongoing business capability to ride above the learning curve and to manage changes and digital transformation more effortlessly.

How to Rebuild Trust between IT and Business

Organizational success comes when IT and business act from 'IT vs. business' to "IT is Business" - A true partnership.

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 the 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?

Businesses should empower their IT leaders to co-create strategy: The Non-IT executive needs to understand how to build a close relationship with the CIO and vice versa. Together as a team, they can achieve a synergy that cannot be achieved as individuals. The skills can be learned, but it all comes down to relationships and what is best for the organization. Since, in most organizations, business and technology are forever interwoven, so should the CIO and the non-IT Executive team. In a perfect world, CIOs and IT would be asked to the table in strategy planning. Not the case right now in most places, it isn't a peer relationship right now until that perception is turned around.

IT has to re-invent itself from a back office function to an innovation engine: Change is the nature of information and technology, unfortunately, IT is perceived as less innovative in most of the enterprises. Often they still implement software and methods long obsolete, with a lower success rate of project delivery; Also, IT overly focuses on “T” - technology and hardware side of work, not put enough attention on “I” - information side of the story. Fundamentally, IT is all about delivering the right information to the right people at the right time to make the right decisions. IT needs to involve the users by giving them active roles on the project, make them feel important, train them on the new product, appreciate and reward them then, your project is off to a successful start. IT employees need to have a better understanding of business, treating IT projects not only as technical challenges but also as business initiatives to keep the customer involved and satisfied. The relationship between the vendors and IT is echoed often, it's not always just the IT and vendors that are working towards a solution. The business is usually involved if it is a business application. Thus, it's not just the customer-supplier engagement model that impacts, but a business-IT engagement model.

Business and IT have to work more collaboratively for improving the project success rate: Every IT project is the business project. The advocacy work continues through the life cycle of the project and then they will stay on board - they can visualize the benefit. You have to advocate the benefit to the firm or it's "just another project." It's hard enough to advocate back office improvement, especially when competing with product development resources, so you absolutely have to have executives and managers understand and buy-in. The change management team would work with the training department and unit managers to identify required training for each team, based on the functionalities of the new application. While delivering according to expectations, but no excuse is essential to building or rebuilding trust. First, make sure you understand the realities and the perceptions of the problem. Get to the bottom of the trust issue in your company. Then tackle it head-on. Listen then act. Don't start by assuming you know the problem. Business is moving too fast to have infighting and distrust as challenges. Ensure the C-level group is aligned and includes a C-level IT leader that focuses on the company goals and is compensated for delivering on those goals. Make sure the C-level IT representative is an outstanding communicator, first and foremost a person that can inspire, motivate and lead as the rest of the C-level group does.

Organizational success comes when IT and business act from 'IT vs. business' to a true partnership. The business needs to have empathy and complexity mindset to understand IT better, and IT value to the business trumps the latest technology. Learn to listen to the business partner's pain points and develop an approach with the business unit. Only through working seamlessly, business as a whole can achieve a high-performing result.

Data Scientist vs. Data Algorithm

Analytical algorithms and data scientists are not mutually exclusive, but they are absolutely complimentary.
An algorithm is a procedure or formula for solving a problem. An algorithm is a model of the real world. A data scientist is a job title for an employee or business intelligence (BI) consultant who excels at analyzing data, particularly large amounts of data, to help a business gain a competitive edge (whatis.com). Is a data scientist an expert in behavior, physics, chemistry, biology, etc? Do data scientists see themselves as an expert of all? Is a subject matter scientist best equipped to author the algorithm?

Who is a good data scientist? Any good data scientist must be able to perform problem systems definition, data collection systems analysis integrating into the strategic analytics modeling problem-solving operations, simulation analysis algorithm and implementation to creating values. Very few people would think purchasing or using top of the line power tools would turn him or her into a master carpenter. So why anyone would believe that applying algorithms or software alone could turn him or her into a data scientist. The "scientist" concept in the open marketplace deal with universal issues, such as gravity or light that affect all humans - the data scientists deal with subject areas that affect a limited number of humans, but the protocols, procedures and everything else is practically the same.

In a data science scenario, the data scientist should also be subject to peer review if the consumers expect their results to deal with high-risk scenarios. But to avoid bias and lack of blinding, the subject matter expert should not be the person building the model. And they should get more than one subject matter's opinion (as many as possible) about what candidate variables to consider, and other expert inputs and more than one modeler (if they use algorithms that require subjective and potentially biased human choices).

How to define a good algorithm? A good algorithm needs to be developed through integrating knowledge-based data into analytic models simulation testing, implemented for problem-solving. Some business modeling isn't validated, for good reason, because it is sufficiently proven by a performance that independent validation is not economically justified or that is seen as the secret sauce. Algorithms are indeed nice tools for a data scientist. However, you need to keep in mind that underlying these algorithms are models, models with their own assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses.

In addition, these algorithms require data and understanding the idiosyncrasies of these data is critical to model performance. And understanding how to synthesize new predictors in a way that increases the predictive power of these data is critical to increasing model performance. This is where the Data Scientist shows the true value, and where algorithms fall flat on their faces.
-These models may predict the direction of an economy (usually large systems of simultaneous econometric equations) validated, independently reproduced, etc.
- These models may describe and predict the outcomes of interactions between compounds and biological systems. These models often need to consider molecular structures as well as biological processes.
- These models can predict and simulate human behavior through a sequence of events.
-They may be physical models that are estimating flow through a very dynamic situation using only differential frequency.

Analytical algorithms and data scientists are not mutually exclusive, but they are absolutely complimentary. The challenge is finding the right expertise. People with both great mathematical knowledge and great subject knowledge are the most valuable experts. The perfect machine operator who understands little about the business is not likely to share all the meta-data and peripheral insights that the model statistics expose. At least half the value of a good modeler comes from the insights gained and shared from the stuff that never made it into the final model. You need to understand the subject and purpose (how is value created) to do that well. When insights are gotten, you have to be careful that they are not an artifact of results confounded by human biases and sampling/data error. The entire reason for such rigorous blinded controlled replication validation in science is to rule out these confounding effects. Once you are fairly certain that predictions are not resulting from obvious confounds like human biases and data error, it is important to have very creative scientists and subject matter experts to interpret these results. It is often the case that the interpretation is not obvious, so there is often disagreement at this stage. If there is disagreement, new well-controlled experiments need to be designed by your scientists to resolve those disagreements.

Before you move to this second stage, it is important that you went through the first stage and verified that the original predictions were valid and could be trusted within a tight confidence interval. If you did not go through the first validation by the replication stage, you are probably wasting your time when you try to gain any insights from predictions that cannot be trusted. A big component of predictions in science is that some objective attempt is made to estimate the confidence that one has in the predictions - whether formally with a confidence interval or with blinded controlled tests. Unless you are generating a reasonable estimate of the confidence that one has in your predictions and it is fairly tight, you are probably gambling with today's machine learning/predictive modeling. This is not science.

The point is that humans should all have some humility and recognize the limitations of their expertise and partner them with the other experts to apply the analytical algorithms for problem-solving. Then there is the opportunity to make something great. And if a data scientist wants to be called a "scientist" - words mean things - and the word "scientist" is invariably associated with the rigor of a quality outcome.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What’s your Favorite Terminology for “Performance Management”

Performance development is to focus on positive, rather than negative aspects.

The core of "Performance Management" is to create goals that are aligned with organizational strategic objectives, and to provide reflective feedback to the person moving the particular project along. Goal alignment and performance feedback, are the heart of the approach. However, in many organizations, traditional performance management has many negative aspects: reactive, not proactive; administrative, not strategic; process-driven, not people-oriented. Is there any better terminology for “Performance Management”? And how to improve the performance of “Performance Management”?   

Performance Management has always been followed by the word "system" or "process.” First, you need to consider why you need to do performance management? Mostly, it’s for people who are faltering on certain grounds or deliverables, so you concentrate on Performance Management. You also use it for other people as well, but the focus is to manage underperformance. Strategically, Performance Management should focus on managing future performance and unleashing talent potential. In light of the performance coaching and skill-building. The activity all rolls up into management and leadership. This is what leaders do in leadership positions. They guide, they coach, they teach, they set expectations, they motivate, they develop, and they find ways to ensure that the team members can perform at their best. In a perfect world, this is all done without the need for a formal system. But in reality, you still seem to need these formal programs, which are generally designed to enable, to provide formal feedback, and to document these feedback sessions.

Performance development is to focus on positive, rather than negative aspects: Many talent management experts dislike the term Performance Management because traditionally it is a logistic and an administrative process to do routine works such as annual performance review, with much negative implication. But the words "development, enhancement, coaching, " imply a better mindset. In many organizations, employees need managerial support, resources, appropriate environment, clear goals, job-tailored training, motivation, interpersonal relationship, manuals, job aids, ergonomically designed workplace, tools, performance evaluation and feedback, culture, appropriate rules and regulations, leadership, and policies. If they are not present, the manager has to implement so that he/she can get maximum performance from the employees. Words such as development management would be better although there is a need to be clear that the manager has a job to deliver in the business as well to provide support and development to their team - so the senior management team has a role in this process too and ultimately the company ethos needs to be REAL, not just a set of words on the marketing and sales communications.

Performance communication and enhancement are to manage employees in a more proactive way to enforce their performance, rather than reactively reviewing. Performance communication is an ongoing communication about expectations, feedback, and growth through the year, check-in documentation on a quarterly basis and a summary discussion at the end of the year to set goals for next year. It is not "appraisal" or ratings only. What you want to do is to guide and motivate people to maximize their impact, their engagement with business realities, and their personal fulfillment. You want to show that management is on their side, and also, make sure that you nudge, coach and motivate them to do the right things for the organization. But anything will work so long as it captures both the individual's and the organization's needs and sets the scene for a process, that's all about bringing your cumulative best talents and efforts to bear on business challenges, and to achieve performance maximization.

One should first consider the desired outcome of the process. Yes, it is indeed a review of the employee's performance, but the terminology currently used is too narrow and specific. The desired outcome is to assess the employee's contribution and ability to fulfill tasks and objectives in line with organizational goals and vision both qualitatively and quantitatively. Do they meet the desired standard or are there gaps, what is required to fill these gaps. The business has to create metrics in order to measure the RIGHT things right. Not only measuring productivity but also innovation. Not only measuring "Doing Performance" but also "Thinking Performance." Not only assessing what's been done but also HOW's it been done. Without measurement, you have no idea if you are improving. You should have both metrics and an understanding of human nature and needs.

Still, going back to that old debate “Change the name or the mindset?” Performance management is not a silo management practice to monitor or measure the quantitative delivery of an employee; but a holistic people management discipline to involve development, enablement, and enhancement, to well align with talent management, culture management, and strategy management, to treat people, not just the cost or resource, but the human asset and capital to invest in, not just for bringing short-term result, but for driving business’s long-term prosperity.

Innovation from Systems Thinking Perspective

The foundation for innovation has to be grounded in the “vision” which is linked to “hope” and seeking justice or "truth."

For many organizations, innovations are still serendipitous. However, serendipity can be planned as a management discipline. Serendipity is not a lucky accident, and it can be planned and worked upon. Creativity is about connecting the dots, and Systems Thinking is about to discover the patterns underlying these dots. How can we dig through the innovation from Systems Thinking perspective?

Innovation leads us to understand the wholeness: Since innovation, the practical application of creativity is essentially about problem-solving at various levels, and to solve a problem implies a wish to make something, or everything, perfect. That, in itself, seems to lead to a wish for understanding the wholeness. The interaction between what is within us (the Self), and how we project to the exterior world is the bridge to achieving wholeness. The constant negotiation between our essence and our projection is what leads to growth and human evolution. "Self" is that level of existence which is the genuine substance of who you are. It is eternal, yet it is very unique to you. You are unrepeatable. In other words, you are the expression of the eternal "Self" in a singular way. You are the light of knowledge and your light is also the goal of universal knowledge. You are the cause of your creation, yet you are above any causality. You are the Self. Do you think the development of the "Self" is something that is well-defined in most individuals at a young age or at all and does it take time, like wisdom from experiences in life for us to know the "Self"? The projection of Self to the exterior could mean that we try to change the Self, or we try to change the exterior. The interaction between the Self/You and the exterior world which is a projection of you; is that Consciousness (with capital "C") is trying to manifest itself in a way that is unique to you. In the world of the mere mortals, we say: that is your unique gift. You are the light of knowledge and your light is also the goal of universal knowledge. It is your light that is helping in the evolution of Consciousness.

The foundation for innovation has to be grounded in the “vision”: It has to be linked to “hope” and seeking justice or "truth." This causes conflicts because even though we might all have similar guideposts for our inner wholeness, we don't have the same grasp of truth unless we can accept the similar wholeness of our inner self. It is self-imposed by trying to make our “visions” reality. Just as we find energy is released from one steady-state to another, we find innovation from our outer realities attempts to change to the steady-state of our inner self. This energy is called innovation. Discovering the "truth" requires some analysis to understand multiple opinions and emotions which in many cases are among differing views and distorted facts, the inner and outer self is the struggle between what we know as reality and what we feel like our connection to the universe (wholeness within). The reality is the environment which is more in tune with the climate change, but inner wholeness is constant which relates to universal knowledge, and each of us has to find this constant for ourselves. We can help each other because it is the same truths for all humans, but to consume truths requires letting go of reality or setting aside the climate while we deliberate. This speaks volumes to customs and traditions that we humans have tried to mirror as “truths,” however, the real truth is that they can change and the human race will continue to proceed.

Innovation is an outcome of processes in the business ecosystem: We seem to all be seeking what human emotions drive us to create or innovate. There is a pairing of emotions to many actions. We cannot have an action development without psychological security (an emotion) and we cannot sustain security without development. So is innovation happening when we try to change the exterior, the environment outside ourselves? We look at people and people's activities, come to think of some possession or experiences which will make them related, send meaning to their life, or the meaning of their work, etc., make them see real value in terms of the investment they are ready to shell out for possession or experience of the same. That is a possibility to build a business around the idea or a concept arrived after meta-pattern recognition. Entrepreneurship begins with selling yourself and your value before any product is produced. Professionals as people do something because they enjoy or want to, not just for the money, but for the benefits it produces, the progress it achieves, and the satisfaction it gives us - the wholeness of Self or the purpose of life. Money is important, but not the only motivation. Innovation is creating to improve a state (process, person, product, etc). Improvement itself and the desire to improve comes from within.

There is an emotional life cycle in an innovation process: The kind of emotions within a person that triggers an improvement/innovation process can be numerous and most likely will be a combination of emotions! Certainly when you think that every rational thought is linked to emotions and creates a feeling. This is an ongoing process just like the feeling to improve and to create. We may need conflict to initiate, but after initiation, there should be a debate to create! So different kind of emotions is involved to truly become innovative. The conflict can come from internal conflict or conflict with the outside world. The most difficult part is to transform the conflict from within to a productivity lifecycle. This is wholeness. If you have a stable internal process and you can even help others, then innovation with the outside world will be the next challenge. The patience relates to tolerance and tolerance gives us the ability to understand other points of view; tenacity could help lead to your vision, and keep things on track, etc. Stamina might be a physical requirement to maintain this tenacity, however, innovation for the sake of innovating is exhaustive because what would be the purpose? The need to solve a problem might lead to innovation, but a need to innovate isn’t addressing the problem. There are more situations-related feelings that have an impact on you as a person or on your team. What about trust? Or what about happiness? So your emotional well-being has an impact on innovation, but what is triggering your emotions? What from the outside world has an impact? What about the right innovation climate? Your personal climate, your team climate or your organizational climate? Historically, innovation would seem to have emerged with an instinct for survival. Basic tools for hunting and gathering. So there's a connection, with emotional equivalents, with surviving each day. Greater leaps are found with agriculturally based societies; whereas, nomadic groups seem to have remained static, having adapted through trading. The environment either encourages or discourages innovation, the ease or difficulties inherent in surviving. Nowadays, with the speed of changes in the digital era, innovation is no longer a “nice to have,” but a “must-have” factor in business success.

Leveraging Systems Thinking in harnessing innovation is all about taking a scientific approach to problem identifying and solving. It allows you to a number of things: embrace uncertainty, identify interconnections and interdependencies, understand flows or the lack of them, and identify business opportunities.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

To Celebrate 1,000,000 Page Views of “Future of CIO”

 The Blog is a dynamic book flow with your thought. It's not about writing, but about conveying the vision.

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 pen is more powerful than the sword!

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1 million page views today with 2033+ blog posting, hope the readers all over the world enjoy such knowledge sharing and content richness. Appreciate all the comments and feedbacks. Among 50+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. blog posting, here are a set of featured “Future of CIO” Blog categories, to highlight the content and context of its quintessence:

Featured “Future of CIO” Blog Categories
  1. IT Leadership/ CIO Debates (500+ Blogs): Future of CIOs are rising for change; leading for innovation. They are the business strategist, change agent; governance champion and talent master. The magic “I” in CIO title has multi-faceted meanings, so digital CIO has to play multiple roles such as “Chief Information Officer,” “Chief Innovation Officer,” “Chief Intelligence Officer,” “Chief Insight Officer,” “Chief Improvement Officer,” “Chief Interaction Officer,” “Chief Inspiration Officer,” “Chief Integration Officer,” Chief Imagination Officer,” etc.

  1. IT Transformation/ Performance / Branding/ Practices/ Project Management (500+ Blogs): Future of IT is a “digital transformer,” a strategy catalyst, and an innovation engine for businesses across sector; it has to be transformed from a cost center to value creator; from an “order taker” to an “order shaker”; from “reactive to proactive” mode; from “the weakest link” to “the super glue”; from the “industrial mode” to the digital mode (Bimodal). And fundamentally, Information Management is all about having the right people to have the right information to make right decisions at the right time.

  1. Business/IT Strategy/Execution/System Wisdom (300 Blogs): With increasing speed of digitalization, IT is more often the innovation disruptor behind the changes, the IT strategy is an integral component of business strategy. Through more than 100+ strategy debates, we put emphasis on how to leverage Systems Thinking in bridging strategy and execution; how to craft an agile strategy; what’re the major challenges in executing strategy, and how to overcome them? etc.

  1. IT/Business Innovation (200 + Blogs): Nowadays, running an innovative IT is not about "nice to have," but "must have," the ultimate goal for IT transformation, the series of blogs focus on brainstorming how to identify the obstacles and root causes of innovation failures, how to adjust the strategy and adapt to the new way to run organizations, how to empower talent and inspire the culture of innovation, and how to optimize business processes to manage innovation in more systematic way.

5. Digitalization/Digital Master Tuning (250+ Blogs): Digital Master - Debunk the Myths of  Enterprise Digital Maturity was published on Jan. 2015, it is the book to envision the multi- dimensional impact that digital philosophy, technology, and methodology will have on the future of business and human society. It received overall great feedback in the IT community and beyond. After publishing, I also wrote more than 100+ blogs to continue advocating the best principles and the next practices to run a “Digital Master” - The organization that has rich digital insight and high-level digital capability and maturity, not only to initiate digital innovation but also to drive enterprise - wide digital transformation.

 6. Agile/Business Agility (150+ Blogs):  Many forward-looking organizations are moving from doing Agile to being agile, scale the agile philosophy, methodology and practices to run the business as an Agile innovator. Being agile" considers the entire enterprise, not just the project. "Being agile" is based on systemic principles - the discipline of seeing wholes, which facilitates the rapid creation of business value. "Being agile" is dependent on the appropriate amount of up-front architecture. "Being agile" acknowledges and encourages the dynamics and emergent properties of the project, the project team, and the environment; and business level agile transformation is a continuous journey.

7.  Change Management (200+blogs): The goal of change is always to make improvement or innovations happen, and it's a progressive journey to keep business move forward. Change is inevitable, but more than two-thirds of change effort fail to achieve the expected results. The change shouldn't be treated as a singular occurrence when it is an ongoing, continued process and dynamic capability within the organization.

8. Talent Management (200+ Blogs): People are the most invaluable asset in any organization anytime and anywhere. However, the traditional talent management treats people more as cost or resource, less as an asset or capital investment; performance management approaches more focus on measuring behaviors and the quantitative result, with ignorance of qualitative assessment about character, mindsets, talent potential, multidimensional intelligence and culture effect. Talent competency is the digital lenses through which people managers ought to assess and manage talent in more strategic, analytical and creative way.

9. Future of Leadership (250+Blogs): Leadership is first as an advanced mindset, then as an exemplary behavior. Leadership is about FUTURE! Leadership is about CHANGE. Leadership is about FOCUS. It is about providing direction, both for oneself and others. It is a basic human ability to inspire self and others to look beyond limitations and make continuous improvement. Leadership is the art of persuasion and the science of disciplines; it’s about the inspiration and motivation; innovation and progression. By choosing to lead, you must have a vision and intention for making that choice.

10. Digitizing Boardroom / GRC (130+Blogs): Corporate Board is one of the most significant governance bodies in modern businesses. Generally speaking, Boards have a couple of main functions such as strategy oversight (input, review, etc), governance practices (monitoring, risk management), service (providing advice & support to executives), and resource provision (opening their networks etc.). In this series of digitizing boardroom/GRC blogs, we intend to open the professional debates on how to bring wisdom, ‘deep common sense,’ balance, improved strategic thinking, digital technology and creativity to the boardroom, focus on shareholder and stakeholder communications, practicing better governance, better oversight, multi-dimensional value management, and better risk management with strong discipline and self-assessment.

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking; 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 your voice, deepen your digital footprint, and match your way for human progression.

How to Learn Systems Thinking in Understanding the Holism

Systems Thinking is a sensibility, with the subtle interconnectedness that gives living systems their unique character.

Ordinarily, people do not inquire into the matters, they are too much a slave to the conventional way of thinking or follow the mainstream thinking, they just accept what is instilled into their minds, mainly even through the indirect experiences, one side of story or unverified information; for to accept is more convenient and practical, and life is to a certain extent, though not in reality, made thereby easier. Most of the people are in nature conservatives, not because they are lazy, but because they are educated to be compliant with conventional wisdom or group thinking, even superficially. But the time comes when traditional logic does no longer hold true, for you begin to feel contradictions and splits and consequently spiritual anguish, especially in today's hyper-connected digital world, the disruptions come almost overnight, and the knowledge life cycle is significantly shortened. You lose trustful repose which you experienced when you blindly follow the traditional ways of thinking. So what are the Systems Principles you can follow to practice independent thinking, critical thinking or agile critical thinking which has creativity deeply embedded in it?

General Systems Theory is a related modern concept to HOLISM: It says that each variable in any system interacts with the other variables so thoroughly that cause and effect cannot be separated. A simple variable can be both cause and effect. Reality will not be still. And it cannot be taken apart! You cannot understand a cell, a living thing, a brain structure, an organization, or a culture if you isolate it from its context. The relationship is everything. Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than isolated things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static “snapshots.” It is a set of general principles—distilled over the course of the twentieth century, spanning fields as diverse as the physical and social sciences, engineering, and management. During the last thirty years, these tools have been applied to understand a wide range of corporate, urban, regional, economic, political, ecological, and even psychological systems. And Systems Thinking is a sensibility—for the subtle interconnectedness that gives living systems their unique character.

Learning to think the Systemic Wholeness: Start with the mediating systemic wholeness with which you experience, remember, know, think, imagine, evaluate, intend, and engage the rest of the intrinsic unity that is the Whole. This wholeness comprises various media that are each functionally contrary to the unitive, fluid and seamless nature of the whole. Firstly, the self-reflecting input medium. All of our senses work primarily by highlighting contrasting distinctions in our field of awareness, such as edges, boundaries, and gradations, with beginnings and ends; they project appearances that stand out at the spatial and temporal backgrounds or foregrounds that surround whatever is being noticed. Secondly, the abstract, conceptual medium with which your self-reflecting experiences are captured, stored and linked to reconstruct the relationships and interactions that exist among the apparent ‘parts,’ ‘events,’ and processes in the matter-energy field from which to make up memory, representations, and extrapolations of the nature, workings, and potentials of the field – is also granular, fragmented and scattered. This is the cognitive medium of concepts.

Systems Thinking is not just a science, but an art as well. It’s an interdisciplinary thought process with deep creativity in it. Dickinson's Poem below well reflects the breadth and depth of the human mind:
The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside—

The Brain is deeper than the sea—
For—hold them—Blue to Blue—
The one the other will absorb—
As Sponges—Buckets—do—

The Brain is just the weight of God—
For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
And they will differ—if they do—
As Syllable from Sound—
- Emily Dickinson