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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Monthly Decision Making Insight: The Decisive Minds Nov. 2016

Decision making is the arena across the art and science; gut feeling and data driven, confidence and humility.

Making a decision is one of the significant tasks for business leadership, however, the high ratio of strategic decisions have been made poorly and cause the catastrophic effect. What are multidimensional thought processes in making effective decisions both strategically and tactically?

A Mind with Multidimensional Intelligence? Intelligence is the quick and clear perception of any situation, plus ability to adjust to any circumstances. It is contextual. Whether someone is "intelligent" or not depends entirely on what you are asking them to accomplish with their brain. Intelligence is continuing with life no matter what, and never allow what you can't do interfere with what you can. It is like that "ripples-on-the-water" metaphor, it is our connectedness to the world around us that makes whatever intelligence we have truly useful to ourselves and to others; connected, by a sort of resonance between our cognitive and affective dimensions and the actual world we co-inhabit with those around us. Intelligence is indeed multi-dimensional.

A Discerning Mind? Discernment means the ability to judge well. Many times people make a poor judgment, not because ignorance, but because of the lack of insight and discernment. More specifically, what's the difference between judgment and discernment? Can judgment or being judgmental have a right or wrong or moral aspect to it? Do you think discernment frees us from any fear of being wrong? Is discernment more detached, more creative, or free

Is System Thinker a Slow Decision Maker?  Digital is paradoxical: on one side, it seems everything in business is speeding up, the speed to learn, the speed to design, the speed to produce, the speed to market and the speed to adapt. On the other side, the business as a whole is becoming over-complex and hyper-connected with ambiguity and uncertainty, every opportunity has risks in it, and every solution might cause the new problem. Think fast, or think slow - Shall you take guts feeling to decide fast, or be a system thinker to decide “slowly”?

An Anti-Digital Mind: The Opposite of Critical Thinking ?There are many types of thinking. Many of them overlap with each other. They are all happening in the same sphere of influence of an individual human or groups of humans, or humans interacting with knowledge of the past, or connection with some "super-conscious" field. Critical Thinking is the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion. What’s the opposite of Critical Thinking though?

Anti-Digital Mindset: Group Thinking and Abilene Paradox? Group Thinking or peer pressure is a term first used in 1972 by social psychologist Irving Janis that refers to a psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group. In many cases, people will set aside their own personal beliefs or adopt the opinion of the rest of the group. In an Abilene paradox, a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of many or all of the individuals in the group. You can see it at work when nobody wants to admit that the project is doomed, so they keep working on it, even though each person on the team knows it is futile. Why is it human nature to go along with what we believe the rest of the group wants to do without taking the time to actually check out if we are all taking a trip to Abilene? ?

The blog is a dynamic book flowing with your thought; growing through your dedication; sharing your knowledge; conveying your wisdom, and making influence through touching the hearts and connecting the minds across the globe. The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.5 million page views with about #3300 blog posting. Among 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The New Book “Unpuzzling Innovation” Introduction Chapter 8 Innovation Measurement

It takes innovation to measure innovation performance.

Innovation is about how to implement the creative idea and achieve its business value. It is the management discipline. Peter Drucker, the modern management guru, was credited as saying, “We can only manage what we measure.” It is also true for innovation management. Innovation measurement and tools can help companies think systematically about business innovation and raise its success rate to meet the business’s expectations and improve innovation effectiveness.

The measures should be oriented to justify innovations the organization needs: The problem for innovation measurement is often that the initiative is not well defined. Without well-defined goals, you won’t have the effective plan and enough time to generate results. So it is difficult to measure the impact without taking the time to generate impacts. Better look at what the results were prior to implementing the innovation and after. Normally organizations look for KPIs measuring business results generated by innovation efforts. But it takes quite some time for a new innovation drive to produce those measures. One of the solutions is to define process KPIs, which demonstrate the growing capability of the organization to deliver more innovation with business impact in the future.

The performance of delivering the ideas is another innovation measurement: Innovation Quotient is the percentage of the total ideas space covered by your products and designs. There are several types of Innovation Quotient to measure different aspects of the quality of ideas. An organization’s innovation performance could be measured in terms of its ability to convert the ideas that enter the “innovation Pipeline” into the desired output, propositions, process improvement, etc. So the innovation performance depends on the quality of the ideas entering it and the organizational mechanics that evaluate and implement the ideas.

The innovation performance indicators should focus on the business objectives and desired behaviors: The performance indicators are the best tools available for innovation managers that wish to promote continuous innovation within an organization. Before performance indicators are designed, the necessary and complete set of desired behaviors should be clearly established. If performance measures are to have the required impact, all of these behaviors should be assessed effectively. If innovation managers are not prepared yet to understand the difference between fostering creativity and rewarding end results, that is another issue to be dealt with. The fact is that traditional talent management focuses on the performances achieved upon the tangible assets, it ignores in its reporting and rewarding system for the intangible assets and resources which include talents, alertness, vision, innovation capability, etc. It means that they miss out the main drivers of performances. When managing innovation, reward and recognition systems that aim at promoting engagement and creativity are more important.

Given the dynamic nature of any organization and the complex mix of its resources and business factors, a well-defined standard set of innovation performance metric would need to be considered in better measures of innovation success such as revenue sustainability, customer satisfaction, knowledge accumulation, brand reputation or price elasticity, etc. To put simply, it takes innovation to measure innovation performance.

"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Quotes Collection I
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Quotes Collection II

"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Quotes Collection III

CIO Master" Book Tuning: Running Digital IT to Harness Business Competency

At a higher level of maturity, IT is the key differentiator, rule co-maker, and business driver.

At the dawn of the digital era, innovation threatens to tear down legacy systems and practices just as it generates new opportunities, IT organizations are nonetheless resistant to change. It's natural to fear the unknown, question the unproven, be skeptical of the latest digital trends and be paradoxical about digital disruptions. However, change is inevitable, in fact, forward-looking businesses are empowering their IT organization to drive changes and lead the digital transformation. The digital IT playbook isn't for the faint of heart. CIOs need to rise above the status quo and take on a new set of activities that have them involved in the strategy development process from the get-go. Because running digital IT to enforce the strategic focus and harness business competency requires thinking beyond, altering or changing the frame of reference to create previously unconsidered solutions and make a shift from inside-out operation-driven to outside-in customer-focused.

A new emerging theme of running digital IT is the split of strategic contribution and tactical service delivery: Traditional IT is good at commoditized IT service delivery (whatever the sourcing model). With fast-paced changes and fierce business competitions, what companies really need from IT though is the strategic role in strengthening and separated from the nuts-and-bolts work. IT and the business are intertwined but must be on the same page. On one side, IT is driven by the business as a strategic enabler; on the other side, a great digital IT organization also has the vision to be a driver for the business to enforce the strategic focus, open the new opportunities to build business competency and gain long-term advantages. Whether this has the CIO as de facto Chief Improvement Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, or some other mix - this is where the value is generated -IT enables the business to operate effectively and successfully and catalyze it to grow, innovate, and adapt to future needs.

IT provides progressive business solutions with technology as the critical ingredients: CIOs should ask themselves what strategic advantages they can provide to the business and working to have the rest of IT learn the business they're in. Because digital CIOs need to deal with constant uncertainty and ambiguity, they naturally gravitate to a leadership role when things are unknown, things will change, technology is involved, a tough problem has to be solved, etc. Therefore, IT leaders should optimize IT management via the lens of the customers. When IT considers their customer as the entity who buys the company's goods and services, some great things start to happen; IT is no longer an isolated support function or cost center, but as an equal business partner which can bring business value to the top line of the business growth and an innovation engine.

At a higher level of maturity, IT is the key differentiator, rule co-maker, and business driver: It's all about the maturity of the IT organization. With today’s business uncertainty and digital dynamic, A CIO can't just sit back and apply yesterday’s logic or techniques to today's problems, the key is engagement with the business and make cross-functional collaboration seamlessly. As the gap between IT and the business narrows, CIOs will be seen as the business, not technology leaders, IT strategy is a critical sub-component of the business strategy, and the “art of the possible” in digital technology influences the development of business strategy, closing the gap in strategy development.  Large, complex enterprises require a multilayered value proposition from their IT organizations. The CIO needs to play a critical role in such a digital transformation.

Digital transformation is multidimensional. The right balance among the elements of an IT organization's value proposition depends on the style and competitive position of the business as a whole, combined with the expected contribution that IT makes. IT needs to become a growth engine of the business, the CIO’s ability to build fundamental business competency is now greater than ever. IT just needs to set the right priorities, adjust to the digital speed, be wired (or wireless) to changes, and take a leadership role in driving innovations.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Monthly CIO Debates Collection How to Run Digital Ready IT Organization Nov 2016

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 and shift the focus, to move up the maturity level. More and more CIOs are requested to take more responsibility and drive digital transformation. Many CIOs present the breadth of leadership competency. The proactive IT debates help IT leaders to brainstorm innovative and better ways to do things, and improve management capabilities. Here are the monthly CIO debates collections for Nov 2016.

How to Run Digital Ready IT Organization

  • How to Run IT as a Digital Forerunner Due to the “disruptive” nature of digital technology, IT organizations just have to continually reinvent itself to adapt to the changes, and IT leaders also have to re-imagine their leadership influence and effectiveness. Is your IT organization as responsive as it needs to be for organization growing as a Digital Master? And how can CIOs provide digital leadership in the face of such digital disruption, to improve CIO tenure longevity and systematically driving the radical digitalization of their organizations and beyond?

  • A Digital Fit IT: Shall you put your IT on a Diet? We live in the era of information overload and “data obesity,” IT organizations at the center of such changes, also suffer from the redundant application maintenance and heavy legacy infrastructure, how to build a digital fit IT, shall you put your IT on a diet, and what's the single best method you've seen to reduce technology "bloat" in your company?

  • Radical Digital: Is IT Ready? Many organizations are on the journey of "digital transformation." What does "digital" mean? What does it include? What does "transformation" mean? What and how do they uniquely provide benefits to people, groups, and organizations? So, perhaps more importantly, whether one believes that the current experience is a transformation or just an extension of the past, what are the things that you can do as IT (or non-IT) leaders to leverage the experiences of the past, and what are some new lessons for you to consider?

  • Is CIO the Leader to Mind the Gap between the Age of Industry and the Era of Digitalization? Most of the C-level executives including CIOs are transactional leaders who keep the light on and focus on the short term quarterly result. Now we are approaching the inflection point in which businesses are facing accelerating changes and can be disrupted even overnight, which CIO shall you become, the transactional CIO to keep your hands busy, or the senior advisor style to spend more time on leveraging business strategy? Are you a gatekeeper to control the legacy IT system and continue to live in industrial silos, or are you the digital pioneer and Chief Innovation Officer to bridge the age of industry and the era of digitalization?

  • How should IT Prepare Digital Disruption? Majority of IT organizations today are still running at the industrial speed, get stuck at the low or mid level of maturity, although technology is more often than not, the disruptive force for business and industry innovation, IT organizations seem to have a tendency to align with the slow changing parts of the organization, so how shall CIOs prepare for the digital disruption and speed up accordingly?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.6 million page views with 3300+ 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 the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The New Book “Unpuzzling Innovation” Introduction Chapter 7 Innovation Gaps and Pitfalls

Don’t be afraid of the failure, but you have to learn something from your failure. 

Innovation is the light every forward-looking organization is pursuing. However, for most businesses, innovation is still serendipitous, not so many people like innovation, because innovation stands for risk, and that associated with trouble, and innovation management has an overall very low success rate. It is crucial to examine the causes of failure in innovation, the gaps and pitfalls on the way. The objective is to raise awareness of what’s needed to improve the probability of success and make the innovation journey more delightful.

Innovation as a lip service: For many less innovative organizations, innovation is just a buzzword, everyone talks about it, but very few people, especially leaders really work on it. Great innovative leaders are those who can inspire a culture of innovation, be resourceful, and have a clear vision and strategy to manage a healthy innovation portfolio, identify and develop innovation practitioners. Innovation comes with a risk of failure, usually not well tolerated in a market governed by risk-allergic mindset. Innovation is costly most of the time. That is why you should really concentrate innovation on the main issues of your strategy. The innovation management can be iterative, evolutionary, revolutionary, or disruptive, but it must be marketable and implementable. It takes the holistic approach to tune it, tweak it, and change it in a way that it brings the business benefit via the mid or long term.

Lack of innovation execution capability: Innovation is not a one-time business initiative or an IT project only. Innovation is a disciplined approach to discovering and building opportunities in creating new meaningful sources of value to targeted users. Organizations have a lower level of maturity if they only implement a few innovation initiatives smoothly, but have stubbornly high failure rate in managing a balanced innovation portfolio. Innovation has three phases: discovery of a problem or new ideas; designing a prototype solution and the ultimate delivery of a commercially astute outcome. Therefore, the best point of view is to see innovation as a system, capable of delivering organizational-wide capability. More specifically, building a balanced innovation portfolio is a practical approach for optimizing resource and improving risk intelligence. When business management still thinks innovation as serendipity, often the organization lack of innovation execution capability to manage innovation in a structural way.

Innovation talent blue: At creative organizations with highly innovative leadership, people are encouraged and given the time and resources to work on new things that excite them and figure out the better way to do things. However, in the traditional hierarchical organizations, creativity is discouraged and mediocrity is rewarded. The talent gap for creativity is enlarged due to outdated talent management practices and ineffective performance management measurement. To overcome innovation blue, the workplace needs to be designed to help employees at all levels within an organization to develop their creative capacity to solve problems and exploit opportunities in the new and innovative way. The heterogeneous team with cognitive differences is more innovative than the homogeneous group setting, and how creative the team is depending on the creative capacity of its members. It comprises a combination of factors that works together, flows, fluctuates, in harmony, in order to weave such creativity.

Don’t be afraid of the failure, but you have to learn something from your failure. It’s understandable for fears of failure - especially failures come dressed in many disguises. It is important to identify gaps and avoid pitfalls on the way. You need to master your abilities and your team needs to master precision. This comes from first thinking through the work or situation, continually learning, making non-repeatable mistakes and taking calculated risks.

"Unpuzzling Innovation" Amazon Order Link
"Unpuzzling Innovation" B&N Order Link
"Unpuzzling Innovation" iBook Order Link

"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Slideshare Presentation
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 1 Innovation Classification
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 2 Innovation Principles
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 3 Digital Innovators
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 4 Connecting Innovation Dots
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 5 Digital Innovation Best & Next Practices
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 6 Innovation Paradox
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 7 Innovation Gaps and Pitfalls
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Chapter 7 Innovation Measurement

How to Run Digital IT as a Revenue Rain Maker

The payoff of IT digital transformation is not just for the quick win, but to build the long-term business competency.

Traditional IT organizations are perceived as the 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 priority right and have an IT transformation checklist on how to answer questions such as: How do we get revenues now? How will we do it 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?

IT can become known as a revenue rainmaker by associating its efforts directly with sources of income: IT needs a shift from inside-out operation driven to outside-in customer-centric. You are able to spot opportunities to increase revenues. IT has two sets of customers, internal business users as well as external end customers. IT needs to provide efficient platforms and tools to improve productivity and efficiency of internal customers; but more importantly, these days, looking for solutions that will directly benefit the external end customer will improve the competitive advantage and in-turn bring in increased revenue. Business people with revenue-enhancement projects often don't request IT projects to support them because they don't know what IT can do. CIOs have to communicate with the business to find these projects and then talk with the business managers responsible for them about what could be done. CIOs should also work with the business on plugging revenue leakages, business unit managers need back to back KPIs with CIOs on applications/service deliveries, so the organization sees "oneness," is superior to the sum of pieces.

IT entrepreneurialism is about running IT as a business: IT entrepreneurialism becomes a new fixture for management in their efforts to substantiate their competitive position, affect the market landscape, and drive new revenue growth. The IT organization should provide guidance, support, assistance and direction in the application and adoption of information technology solutions enabling business objectives! The first thing is to stop calling IT initiative, profits and ROIs should be the driving force behind any IT project. IT projects should be called a business project with a clear objective, business justification, and full alignment with the overall company’s objectives, otherwise, they do not exist. Like any other business initiative from another part of the company, developing a compelling strategic business case is especially critical when an initiative is difficult to monetize. That is, attach believable dollar values to identified benefits flows.

Make sure the executive team first understands what it needs to drive future business growth and revenue growth: CIOs will contribute to revenue generation when they are part of the senior executives' team responsible for the strategy making and revenue targets. Companies are recognizing that IT is roughly coupled with the business strategy, and it is a very good sign about how the companies will deliver value. CIOs have to be an integral part of the top leadership team for driving business value, bringing technology vision in strategy making, envisioning the future product strategy or any others. IT leaders have to be hand-in-glove with the business executives to map out the vision, fully aligned with the business executives in articulating the business strategy. Put the framework in place to map the strategic objectives into KPIs and then determine what technology investments will accelerate the changes you want to see in your KPIs. Launch innovative delivery channels for improving sales revenues and ultimately net profit.

Let revenue generation or profit increase become the focus vs. cost savings/ optimization. The payoff of IT digital transformation is not just for the quick win, but to build the long-term business competency. In this regard, the focus of digital IT organizations should gain more strength as a revenue rainmaker.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The New Book “Unpuzzling Innovation” Book Introduction Chapter 6 Innovation Paradox

Innovation Management needs to take a balanced approach to deal with innovation paradoxes smoothly.

Innovation is to transform the novel ideas and achieve their business value. The purpose of innovation management is not to promote innovation, but to manage innovation in a structural way. However, for the majority of organizations today, innovation is still serendipitous. To improve innovation effectiveness, what’s the best approach to understanding and managing these innovation paradoxes such as -Can money buy innovation? Do rules restrict innovation? Does priority stifle innovation? Will Systems Thinking limit creativity? Is innovation management a waste? Can you transform an idea into sustainable benefit without Innovation Management?

The business innovation success is not always proportional with how much money you pour in: There is an underlying assumption that ideation can be done if you invest more. However, based on the variety of innovation studies, the business innovation success is not always proportional to how much money you invest in. Money facilitates innovation, but not guarantees the result. What you are primarily doing is harvesting ideas that have emerged and are waiting to be picked. The money will increase the willingness of employees to give you those ideas. It doesn’t mean though that it will increase the volume of ideas that are available to be collected. There are many human links within the innovation phases and usually implemented in teams. It seems that many companies going through a period of introspection believe that they already implicitly understand the nature of innovation, all too often they perhaps manage a few innovation projects successfully. But they lack the systematic approach to management resource or bridge talent gaps. It is important to build the culture of innovation, to inspire people doing meaningful work and taking the calculated risks. The culture of innovation starts with a culture of participation because employee engagement in the innovation process increases participation, and it further improves innovation management effectiveness.

Breaking rules is indeed an important part of creativity and innovation management: We can’t make the omelet without breaking a few eggs. Creativity is about the breakdown of the conventional wisdom, and innovation is to pursue the new way of doing things. But innovation does need a level of guidance in order to achieve the business value of novel ideas. The paradox though is that all creative activities are subversive in questioning the status quo. Setting rules and goals for creativity goes against the very nature of creativity and thus innovation. Thus, ideas shouldn’t be overly evaluated in the ideation phase; overly rigid process or too “pushy” goals will stifle inventiveness and innovation. However, “business creativity” such as using creative thinking for business goals, does require certain “rules.” Innovation is important business activities and capabilities, innovation has to follow a well-defined set of principles to deliver business objectives. Hence, it’s critical to strike the right balance, it takes out-of-the-box thinking and open leadership style to spark innovation. But the right set of rules and frameworks are also important for innovation enablement and management.

Efficiency and innovation just have to learn to live and function together: An obsession with the rigidity of efficiency stunts the innovation creation process. Innovation is fluid and often focus on the long-term business growth, but lower profitability in the short-term. Efficiency and short-term goal orientation often divert focus from innovation in general. Hence, balance is the most challenging continuity regardless of strategic emphasis. As processes yielding results, innovation and efficiency can complement and enhance each other. The greater the efficiency of an organization, the greater the need is for innovation. Efficiency will extract the maximum benefit from a new idea. If an organization is inefficient, it will be inefficient with new ideas. Innovate as early as possible, think it through, execute the process efficiently, fine-tune the cycle along the trail, and orchestrate the innovation symphony.

Innovation is about moving forward. In any business, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. There is no standing still. Innovation Management needs to take a balanced approach to deal with those innovation paradoxes smoothly; provide maximal freedom for ideators, and then straightforward process for converting an idea into an innovation, and build innovation as the business competency and long-term advantage.

"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Quotes Collection I
"Unpuzzling Innovation" Book Quotes Collection II