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.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

To Celebrate New Year- The Most Popular Blog List in the “Future of CIO”

The fresh New Year is ahead of us, it is open the new chapter of learning, growing and innovating.

The New Year bell is almost ringing; it is the time for both reflection and resolution, and it’s the continuous journey to blogging the way on discovering who you are. New Year day is the time to put the hope up. Here is the set of the most popular blogs of the “Future of CIO” to celebrate New Year! “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”  -Desmond Tutu

The Creative Leap: Innovation is about having new knowledge and new processes. Innovation is about too much knowledge in terms of too many good creative ideas, and too little available resources. Innovation is about prioritization, a system that can “smell” the right idea at the right time and place. Innovation means something new and valuable. Innovation is relative and has context. And innovation is a critical component of business strategy, often technology is a disruptive force to changes, and information provides the dots to spark innovation. So how to leverage IT to enable creative leaps and manage business innovation more effectively?

The Decision Wisdom: The majority of leaders and professional spend a significant amount of time on making large or small decisions in the work and life. It takes wisdom, not just the intelligence to make effective decisions. There is fuzziness in the decisions because there is fuzziness in conflicting criteria. At the Digital Era, making data-based decisions means to leverage analytical thinking, advanced analytic tools, the human’s intuition, and add the “wisdom’ in the decision process to improve the overall effectiveness of decision making.

Strategic Management vs. Operational Management: Strategic management as long-term planning requires a vision. In other words, a company needs to define where it wants to be in a decade or two (what's the vision) and how they want to get there (Strategy) and then Operational Management will translate the long-term plans into smaller scale plans to operationalize the move toward the vision.

Three Questions to Assess a Person’s “Blind Spot”: The business and the world are moving into deep, deep digital dynamic with velocity, complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity and rapid changes. It is increasingly difficult to either steer the individual toward a progressive career path or navigate the business to the right direction with the right strategy. It also becomes more challenging to make effective decisions or sound judgment on the daily basis for both digital leaders and professionals. So how to assess a person’s “blind spot” in order to predict his/her ability to think thoroughly and decide wisely?

Change as an Ongoing Capabilities: Change is inevitable, 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. The perspective is often rational, an automatic cultural response; defending already existing structures, all that we take for granted, without questioning the underlying premises. So in order to make change both proactive and sustainable, how to build change as ongoing business capabilities, not just a one-time business initiative?

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” -Albert Einstein

The New Book “100 Creativity Ingredients” Quote Collection I

Creativity requires openness and growth mind to new experiences and explore new possibilities.

All humans are born with raw creativity ability. Creativity has many dimensions, with multi-faceted truth and myth, manifold knowledge and multidimensional insight. Here is the set of quotes in the book of “100 Creativity Ingredients.”

1 Creativity is not a “thing,” it’s a process that happens as a proactive mental activity to a problem.

2 Thinking out of the box means you are in a continuous learning mode.

3 Original Thinking is unique with an inclination to search excellence.

4 All snowflakes have different patterns - cool; metaphorically speaking, all snowflakes received are valid and held sacred.

5 Vision is not fiction; fiction could be a pure imagination; vision is to zoom into the future as if it were closer.

6 Creativity requires openness and growth mind to new experiences and explore new possibilities.

7 Divergent thinking is that one starts thinking from one point and expands from there to generate more ideas.

8 Critical Thinking as a thinking capability is a balanced mix of genetics and learning.

9 Lack of independent thinking is lacking in confidence.

10 One of the great advantages of design thinking is to have an outside-in view.

11 Innovators with global thinking find more viewing spots that the rest; therefore, they can solve problems in unconventional ways.

12 Often imagination and knowledge need to go hand-in-hand.

13 Insight is the deep intuitive understanding of things, and it often breaks through the conventional wisdom.

14 Nonlinear Thinking is an out-of-the-box thinking process for solving problems in a creative way.

15 A free mind can make free choices.

16 A connecting mind can spark creativity more effortlessly.

17 The whole brain thinking is to leverage both parts of the brain to spur creativity and solve problems.

18 Creativity is utilizing both sides of the brain simultaneously - creative + activity.

19 The integrative thinker develops a stance that embraces, not fears the essential qualities of enigmatic choices.

20 In business, complexity both drives innovation and hinders it.

21 Creativity is the complex, multifaceted thought processes and high-level thinking.

22 Intuition is often conceived as a kind of inner perception, sometimes regarded as lucidity or understanding.

23 Subconsciousness is quick and efficient and sometimes can spur creativity.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Monthly Change Management Insight: Running IT as Digital Change Agent Dec. 2016

A mature organization is one that can quickly and safely assess all of the consequences of a possible change and devise effective plans to achieve and sustain those changes.

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. How to leverage IT, ride ahead of the change curve and lead change effortlessly?

Running IT as Digital Change Agent  

  • Running IT as Digital Change Agent? Digital transformation is a journey. Literally, the transformation is to radically change the nature of something. Digital transformation is a radical change of the business via its underlying business processes, invisible business culture or emergent new business model, etc. In a business scope, there are some of the “significant bits and bytes of information” needed to make cognitive connections when evaluating a new market, new technology or any business growth opportunity. Hence, IT plays a critical role in exploring such an “art of impossible,” and should be run as a digital Change Agent.  

  • How to Leverage IT to Enforce the Business Changeability? Digital is all about CHANGE. One of the differentiated business capabilities is AGILITY. Being agile means anticipating likely change and addressing it deftly, keeping business on course and customers satisfied. Digital technology is the business enabler and the powerful force beneath the change. How to leverage IT to enforce the business changeability?

  • How to Leverage IT in Double Jumps of Business Transformation? In the world where change is significantly speeding up and business leaders couldn’t predict the future with a high degree of accuracy, the strategy can no longer stay static, the forward-looking organizations are working diligently building their organizational capabilities via weaving all important business factors in adapting the “VUCA” business normality. So how can organizations leverage IT to make double jumps - the digital jump to make the business radical digital and the agile jump to achieve the high-level business agility? From IT management perspective, are CIOs seizing the opportunity to enable the organization to transform into the digital way and carry out its business?

  • How to Run IT as a Changing Organization? For forward-looking and highly mature organizations, the IT department has become synonymous with the change department, in order to make effective changes, you have to know the underneath structure and processes of your business because they underpin digital capabilities of the organization. How do you make changes to anything without knowing all the parts and how they are related? A mature organization is one that can quickly and safely assess all of the consequences of a possible change and devise effective plans to achieve and sustain those changes - and to do this continuously.

  • Running IT as a Digital Transformer? We live in a fast-paced digital world, and every day more and more technologies affect the way we live, think, and love. Great opportunities, pitfalls, and disruptions are around every corner. Digital transformation is inevitable, transformation means to change the "nature" of something, albeit that the increasing pace of technological advances has clearly impacted the nature and scope of opportunities or disruptions. Hence, IT has become mission critical, it is imperative for IT and business leaders to work effectively and efficiently together to ensure that they are leveraging IT across their organizations to attain enterprise-wide transformation; not just using IT as a digital extension, but running IT as a digital transformer. ?

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 footprints, and match your way for human progression.

The New Book “100 Creativity Ingredients” Conclusion: Unlock Creativity via Daily Practices

Creativity is the potential which can be unlocked and innovation is the serendipity which can be unpuzzled.

Creativity becomes significantly important in the digital age with the advanced technologies because the digital workforce of the future will not be mere automatons, but continue to discover, explore, and improve the surroundings. As the matter of fact, creativity is one of the most wanted professional qualities in the digital age. Hence, it is important to set your own principles, practice, practice, and practice more to unleash the abundance of creativity.

Blend unique ingredients to fuel creativity: As we discussed in this book, there are so many unique ingredients to make “creativity formula.” There is a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic elements to trigger creativity. On one hand, you need to have the level of curiosity, learning agility, open and inquisitive mind, unique observation, and in-depth understanding; on the other hand, it is critical to have a motivational  environment to inspire creativity and encourage innovation, bridge cognitive gaps, fertilize growth mindset and let creative minds soar. Creative people leverage emergent, divergent, and convergent thought processes to ignite creativity.

Encourage creative problem-solving: Creativity needs a problem; creative people are both problem finders and problem solvers. Creativity demands the possibility of the wrong in order to be exploring in a free and playful way. Creatives always ask open questions which lead to discovering situations others do not see at first. The essential to questioning stimulates the creative side of our brains in order to find answers. Creativity is a symbol of life, people who thrive as creative problem-solvers have developed a series of habits to connect the dots effortlessly and trigger creativity frequently.

Be courageous to get out of the “fear” and take the risks: Creativity is all about breaking down the conventional wisdom or outdated rules, and reimagine the better way to do things, and there is no innovation without risk-taking. Individuals need to step outside the box or the comfort zone and challenge perception, push themselves to the limit, their limit. The ideas come and go, and above all, we must instead leave them free, do not be afraid to say what we think or make a fool, keep your creativity flow, and get out of the fear that blocks your genius, learn how to liberate imagination and come up with a new approach to the world. The evolution of innovation only exists in the more open environments that create insights, take advantage of all sources of creativity in a more open way.

Every person has the ability to be creative, just tearing down the mental barriers they have and tapping in their inherent ability. Creativity is the potential which can be unlocked and innovation is the serendipity which can be unpuzzled. It is only when all individuals challenge themselves and then come together as a group, will we see real human potential achieved.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 12/29/ 2016

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, and innovation.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.5 million page views with 3300+ 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. Here is the weekly insight about digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 12/29/2016
  • The Nature and Nurture of Digital CIOs: Due to changing nature of technology and multifaceted impact of modern IT organization, the CIO is perhaps one of the most sophisticated leadership roles in the digital transformation. The role of the Chief Information Officer is a very tricky one and hard to fill. The problem is heavily masked because the position is often filled with the wrong person. Contemporary CIOs are expected to play multiple personas; besides being the tactical IT manager, leadership is considered the top attribute for CIOs. So are digital CIOs nature or nurtured? What are the most important attributes of IT leadership, and how can they best be attained?

  • Setting Principles to Evaluate Decision-Making Scenario: Decision maturity is to ensure the right decisions have been made by the right people at the right time with the right mix of information and intuition. It is important to differ decision maturity from decision outcomes. Decision maturity can be achieved via both improving decision efficiency and effectiveness. Decision efficiency is a measure of how well resources are used, information are retrieved, and processes are adjusted to make decisions; it is value-free. Decision effectiveness is achieved via the quality of decision-makers and decision efficiency weighted by the values of the decision outcome achieved; it is value-full. It is important for setting principles to make an assessment of decision-making scenario.

  • Five dimensions of Digital Transformation Modern IT organizations play a critical role in driving the digital transformation of the entire company. The CIO has to look forward and actively position the business in the right place to take full advantage of opportunities and emergent digital technology trends. DRIVING is not a passive activity. The role of modern CIO is to identify and blend the processes and practices that information and technology can assist and shape the business by linking all digital aspects together to enforce the value creation and drive digital transformation from multidimensional perspectives.

  • The Popular Quotes Collection V in “Digital Master” Book Series: “Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (12+ books) to perceive the multifaceted impact digital is making to the business and our society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the digital journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.”  Here is the set of popular quotes for conveying the digital vision and sharing the unique insight about the digital transformation.

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.

Navigating IT Digital Transformation via Inquiries

A digital paradigm is an emerging digital ecosystem of principles, policies, and practices that set limits or boundaries for the business transformation.

Digital is the age of choices; just like consumers have more options to shop via multi-channel digital platforms; organizations also have more opportunities and risks as well in scaling or innovating their businesses. It is important to make an objective assessment and navigate digital transformation via inquiries.

Is a major transformation necessary? As every successful change or business transformation program, the business management should follow the 'Golden Circle' starting with the WHY? (motivation), then addressing the HOW? (process) and the WHAT? (results) in the end. Organizations today need to constantly improve the business and seeing change as an opportunity while keeping a holistic overview of the business growth for the long term. A digital paradigm is an emerging digital ecosystem of principles, policies, and practices that set limits or boundaries; and also offer guidance for problem-solving or creating something new under the digital principles. Organizations and their people learn through their interaction with the environment. They act, observe the consequences of their actions, make inferences about those consequences and draw implications for future action. To achieve such a state of dynamic balance, a radically different social and economic structure will be needed. The management should make an objective and holistic business assessment from varying dimensions in order to make wise decisions on the digital transformation journey.

Is the current state of your organization optimal for the type of transformation you are choosing? Transformation starts with the realization that where you are currently no long can deliver the business objective and vision of success for your company and your shareholders. So the organization of the future starts with a changing nature. The more you can clearly paint the image of why the company is in the situation it is in and provide the vision of a new world, the better it is. Determining what the future needs to look like (what the transformation must look like) is the next step. It is important to keep the communications open, as well as keeping people focused on things they can control. You have to create an environment where people can be successful. In line with being open and honest balance the major change, embed it among the current perception and comprehension of the overall position and direction and then relativity will kick in, people will set their own priorities, take ownership and act.

Do you need to transform your IT organization before transforming the business? Every CIO should be capable of having a vision and not just living inside of the IT box. They must be able to understand the business strategy, the operations strategy, and the IT strategy as the sub-component of the business strategy. The CIO must be able to work with fellow C-level executives to contribute to the vision and direction of the company. The CIO should be able to envision not only where a company believes it is going, but how it will get there, and how it might be missing out on opportunities because of limitations on IT understanding. Further, they should not only be able to align IT with the business but formulate ways to drive business. Therefore, the CIO has to have the capability to look ahead and imagine what is possible for his/her organization as part of the whole, then execute the right options as part of the overall vision for the firm/company via logic steps and comprehensive planning and execution.

Digital transformation is a long-term journey, it has to be clearly understood and to satisfy both short-term gratification and long-term outcomes. It is the transformation that is reshaping our thinking and recasting the way we view ourselves, the systems of which we are the part of the environments in which we live, and the way we run the business and improve its effectiveness, efficiency, and maturity.

The New Book “100 Creativity Ingredients” Introduction Chapter 5 Motivational Ingredients

By manifesting creativity from an individual endeavor to a team activity and a collective effort, the horizon of creativity is expanded.

Creativity is a function of imagination, knowledge, psychology, activities, and evaluation. Creativity has many forms and manifestations. Take the standpoint that creativity has its starting point within an individual. Creativity can manifest in a collective environment as well. While the individual contributions provide the “building block” of creativity, it is the collective consensus on what to do with them that is exciting. The motivation for innovation is not just because it would make work better. It’s because of the need, the urgency, the competition, the acquisition of some new capacity that creates the difference between “should” and “is.”

Motivation: Self-motivation is a significant component in the expression of creativity. While we each have the enormous creative capacity, our willingness to exercise and express it becomes more complicated. Motivating requires giving someone a “motive,” usually self-interest along the line. In order to build a culture of creativity, in an organizational context, it’s important to develop the process of the corporate pulse that identifies where the purpose/passion/motivation/commitment of the organization lies, and who embodies it. A desire mind is a necessary element of motivation to transform inward driven creativity into outward driven innovation. The purpose is the greatest motivator; a deep desire to make the world a better place and fueled by a sense of gratitude and responsibility that compels you to stay committed.

Mix: Creativity has a language, but it is altogether different from the one found in the business environment. There is an idea of “productive friction” and “creative tension” via building an innovative team with mixing cognitive differences, personalities, skills, or capabilities, as the way of encouraging and instilling a creative environment. The challenge for organizations is to manage its portfolio of relevant cross-border strategic synergies and organizational interdependence with the appropriate mix of enabling organizational elements (people, process, and technology), engaging digital talent in innovation and balancing creativity and efficiency, innovation and standardization.

Push and Pull: Good ideas are multidimensional, so execution also needs forces of both “push and pull.” People need permission to push ideas around an organization without the fear of failure and without the need to deliver against a short-term narrow-focused objective. It is also critical to pulling the resources to build an innovation nurturing work environment. The bottom line is, for any company to succeed in innovation, it is essential for the entire company to be pulling in the right direction, and people need to be empowered to push ideas forward. Innovation dilemmas can only be solved by strong innovation leaders who understand these challenges and work to build a digital-ready organizational culture and structure to eliminate barriers and mind gaps and open the new chapter of innovation blossom.

From creativity starting within an individual to the point where it becomes external to them, it cannot be identical from one person to another. Any by manifesting creativity from an individual endeavor to a team activity and a collective effort, the horizon of creativity is expanded, it converges with the concept of innovation that is the management discipline to transform innate ideas and achieve its business value.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

CIOs as “Chief Inquisitive Officer: A set of Q&As (V) for Dealing with IT Management Dilemmas

The digital CIOs need to reimagine IT as the business growth engine and lead changes via inquiries. They have to focus on guiding the company through digital transformation and create unique business value.

Modern CIOs face many challenges, it is not sufficient to only keep the lights on. Regardless of which industry or the nature of organization you are in, being a digital leader will need to master the art of creating unique, differentiating value from piles of commoditized technologies and take advantage of the emergent digital trend as well; digital CIOs also have multiple personas, “Chief Innovation Officer,” “Chief Insight Officer,” “Chief Improvement Officer,” “Chief Information Officer,” and here, we discuss CIOs as “Chief Inquisitive Officer,” with a set of Q&As to lead digital transformation.

Shall IT Lead or Follow: More often than not, technology is the catalyst for driving business change and digital transformation. However, in most of the companies, IT is still perceived as an order taker and support function, and most IT organizations get stuck at the lower level of maturity for functional alignment or enabler. So should IT lead or follow? Should IT leadership rock the boat or just keep it afloat? And how to run digital IT with high speed and agility?

IT Dilemma: Is Customer Always RIGHT: IT has always gone through this dilemma of "customers is always right" vs. "rational approach in designing a solution." If IT always sees this as two conflicting forces pulling in opposite directions, you are most likely to get caught and always fall short of expectations. So what’s the right attitude in the face of such customer dilemma?

Is IT at Cross-Road? IT organizations are facing significant transformation, perhaps crossroad is an appropriate word to articulate IT position since CIOs seem to fall into two camps. The first is the "utility" CIO who competently manages a complex technology infrastructure but is not on the "go to" list for implementing the strategy. The latter is "value" CIO who has delegated infrastructure management and well articulate how information and technology can accomplish the company’s strategic and tactical objectives. So what is next for CIOs beyond the crossroads? How can CIOs enable high performing organizations, and in return, their organizations can leverage high-performing CIOs?

The Two Sides of IT: Which Side is More Important? The forward-looking IT organizations are on the journey of digital transformation. The challenge is having a harmonized vision about overall IT capabilities and maturities, and which role IT should, or can play in the digital organization. There are front end and back end of the IT department. The front end of IT is value-added, to drive the business’s digital transformation, and the back end of the IT is fundamental, operational driven and keep the lights on. From IT management and digital transformation perspective, how to run two sides of IT smoothly, via setting the right principles and developing the next practices?

Which IT Management Dilemmas Do you Encounter? Technology is pervasive, business initiatives, changes, and transformation today nearly always involve some form of technology implementation or information analysis; IT touches both hard business processes and soft human behaviors. However, managing a highly effective IT is not an easy job, IT leaders have to overcome many change management roadblocks and deal with quite a few of IT management dilemmas in transforming from a cost center to value creator, from a support function to a strategic business partner; from a back office to an innovation front yard.

The digital CIOs need to reimagine IT as the business growth engine and lead changes via inquiries. They need to keep asking open-ended questions such as, "Why? Why not? What If?" They have to focus on guiding the company through the digital transformation, and create unique business value because IT is the significant element of any differentiated business capability and the defining factor for competitive advantage.