Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Five Interdisciplinary Aspects of Orchestrating a Digital Business Ecosystem

Applying multidisciplinary management disciplines to orchestrating a digital organization is an evolutionary step to drive the next level of business maturity and harmonize our society.

The digital business ecosystem is dynamic, nonlinear, and complex. Hence, digital management discipline also needs to be nonlinear and transdisciplinary to deal with the "VUCA" characteristics of the Digital Era. Overall speaking, trans or interdisciplinary approach can be applied to management with integrated multi-disciplinary methodology, it enables digital leaders to frame bigger thinking boxes, and approach problems via multifaceted way, technically, scientifically and culturally. Here are five interdisciplinary aspects of orchestrating a digital organization.

Sociological aspect: Sociology is the study of human interaction, usually within the context of organized groups, communities, or "societies." It is the systematic study of human society, especially present-day societies. You have to look holistically at the problem domain in order to architect and design a sociological organization and guide conversations based on the artifacts being produced. Designing an organization, that is a sociotechnical system, is the order of magnitude more difficult than designing a mechanical or technical system. As an often forgotten fact is that organizations consist of three types of intersecting and interacting systems: Social, Technical, and Cultural. Hyperconnectivity can foster innovation through collaboration. In other words, try to digitally connect key resources, assets in their vicinity and context to the resource-rich innovation hubs or clusters across the business ecosystem. In doing so, you can create the collegiality and "shared context for learning. Sociology brings much more depth to our knowledge with interdisciplinary understanding about businesses and human society.

Biological aspect: If traditional organizations are often static and mechanical, then from a biological aspect, digital organizations are more like organic systems, and they will be organized as organic systems with cells that have a function, an infrastructure for input and output and for signaling. Do they need brains? The digital brains can refer to the information technology management function (IT). The digital organization is a living thing with the ability to continually change as the world changes, perhaps much like the plants follow the sun. The principles as a compass will guide all levels of the organization to operate more like the human body operates with the cells (employees) and organs (Functions) of the organization being able to make a decision in a very organic relationship with its environment. The digital shift means principles over rules; empowerment over control, engagement over command and dynamic over static. Digital organizations are more like the trees, to continue growing, less like a machine - just keep spinning.

Psychological aspect: One of the key determinants of whether an organization can move to new digital structures is the development level of the people. So part of this journey is to prepare people for the new structures and to recognize this is a crucial step. Therefore, psychology is an important discipline to gain an in-depth understanding of people, their emotions and response to change, innovation, and digital transformation. Recent neuroscience research has shown that our entire experience with the world is subjective, passing through numerous unconscious filters before we become aware of what we are seeing, hearing, or understanding. As a result, no individual has a complete view of what is really happening around him or her, not mention the whole world.  Therefore, winning in the digital dynamic means engaging innovative thinking, and strong collaboration. People have to be ready for moving to a more fluid structure via overcoming change inertia and stepping out of “Comfort Zones.” If look at changes via social neuroscience, you see that (a) People are naturally predispose to maximizing rewards and minimizing threats, (b) the part of the brain that is involved in organizing the “approaches” (perceptions/action/ response toward rewards) or the “withdrawal/retreat in five domains of social experience are status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness and fairness.

Technological aspect: IT is impacting every business unit and is becoming the driver of business change. Admittedly IT has come a long way to where it is today. Yes, IT does matter. But, not IT as a silo specialist function, but as a “digital brain,” an “innovation engine,” and a business catalyzer. From the days when geeks sat in the corner, talked with mainframes to where they contribute significantly and touch every perspective of the business and directly make an impact on the business model and direction. Applying digital technologies and embracing digital is inevitable as that is now part of the deal. There are very progressive organizations where IT sparks organizational creativity. High mature IT will enable building high mature organizations.

Philosophical aspect: Philosophy is a Greek portmanteau of the love of wisdom. Philosophy is the mother of all sciences. Though philosophy is often categorized as “soft science,” which seems to be the completely different discipline from science. Agile is the philosophy with a set of principles to run digital organizations today. Philosophy is also methodical and has deliberate processes for identifying questions, reasoning, identifying faulty reasoning, and thinking outside the box. Applying philosophical disciplines helps business leaders and managers to gain an in-depth understanding of strategy, culture and other critical business factors more fundamentally. Consider, what would the answer be, if you were to ask a person from each of these disciplines- “What is a reality? Who are we? Where did we come from? And as human beings; our nature is fully engaged with emotion and imagination; we can not exempt from this portions. Philosophy is the foundation upon which science (including management science) has been built and continues to put forth the questions which help move science onward and upward.

The enterprise consists of an amalgam of socio-systems, techno-systems, bio-systems, and Econo-systems. Understanding that real-world development is multifaceted. You can't expect an individual to fully develop such broad-based concepts, it takes the team effort, and more importantly, team coordination. Applying multidisciplinary management disciplines to orchestrating a digital organization is an evolutionary step to drive the next level of business maturity and harmonize our society.


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