Saturday, February 25, 2017

CIOs as Chief Insight Officer: The “IN & OUTs” Viewpoint of Digital Transformation

The refusal to be bound by the industrial constraints and limitations and a pursuit of possibilities rather than impossibilities seems to be a hallmark of the significant human progress.

The business and the world are experiencing the major societal TRANSFORMATION from the industrial age with the scarcity of information to the digital era with the abundance of information/ knowledge (but often insight is still scarce). These changes and transformations are reshaping our thinking and recasting the way we view the organization, the digital ecosystem of which we are the part of. In order to broaden the changing perspective and deepen the understanding of the digital business as a living thing, here are set of “IN& OUTs” viewpoint of digital transformation.

INsightful OUTlook: Over the last couple of decades, businesses have been faced with increasingly more complex and pressing problem-situations, embedded in interconnected business ecosystems operating in dynamically changing environments. In addressing these problem situations and working with their relevant systems, business leaders and managers have learned to recognize the limitations of the perspectives, methods, and tools of the traditional scientific orientation, the reductionistic management methodology often puts too much focus on the mechanical side of the business, to assume the business is just the sum of its multiple functions; thus, there is silo thinking spreading in the different layer of the organization; there are gaps existing across functional, industrial and geographical borders; there are overly rigid processes and organizational pyramid which cause bureaucratic management redundancy. Therefore, it is the time to provide an insightful outlook about what the future of the digital organization should be. Insight is the ability to perceive clearly with deep penetration. The more complex the situation (in this case, digital transformation) is, the more different approaches and role gaming is needed to reach for understanding. Because digital is not just about a pretty online presence or a set of fancy digital gadgets, it needs to expand into every direction and dimension. Hence, an insightful outlook helps to gain an in-depth understanding of cause and effect based on the identification of relationships and behaviors within a model, context, or scenario of digital transformation. It is about an understanding of one’s possibilities, adversaries, environments, and people. A collective insight is superior, because a highly dynamic team with cognitive differences and complementary skill set, can identify and bridge gaps effectively and accelerate change effortlessly.

INnovative OUTlier: Digital leaders and visionaries are innovative outliers. Outlier digital leaders today are the one who can step out of a conventional thinking box, or linear patterns. Therefore, they could see things further or deeper. An outlier leader is creatively disruptive, because digital is the age of innovation, and innovation is an important business capability to decide the business's long-term prosperity. The innovation journey can be traced at the rocky road with all sorts of ups and downs, bumps and curves, but with clear goals to delight customers and run a refreshing digital organization with zeal. An innovative outlier practices out-of-the-box thinking all the time, because in today’s competitive environment, what was outside of box yesterday may not be today. Our thinking has to continuously evolve, adapt, and prepare for changes. For real creativity, take a look outside your industry, far outside, if you have to, pull the whole team out of the box. There are no such things as too much outside the box thinking, but it’s also important to shape the newer box to stay focused, to manage innovation in a structural way.

INvolving OUTside-IN customer viewpoint: Digital is the age of the customers.  It is also important to perceive things from the outside-in customers’ perspective. Innovation is all about leveraging the better way to do things or meet the higher customer expectation. The customer, including prospects, should be studied and observed and gain the insight upon. Deep understanding of the user through empathy and observation with the innovator using a more inductive approach as to what the customer wants to accomplish "next." Customers become an important link in the innovation process of the business. This involves gaining a deep understanding of the motivational construct of the customer, in order that the innovator can become "anticipatory" of what the customer will likely "want next.”  A digital organization can bring greater awareness of intricacies and the systemic value of organizational systems, business process, people dynamics, resource alignment, or technological touches. The difficult challenge is not just launching a successful team, but maintaining their motivation and focus, from inside-out operation driven to outside-in customer focus. Digital is the age of people-centricity. Customer-centric thinking is a type of professional and progressive thinking to drive radical digital, to put customers at the center of what you do, to expand the thinking angle and to keep the end in mind.

A digital paradigm is an emerging digital ecosystem of principles, policies, and practices that set boundaries to frame the smooth business transformation with the focus; and also offer the guidance for problem-solving or creating something new via practicing the digital philosophy and principles. The refusal to be bound by the industrial constraints and limitations and a pursuit of possibilities rather than impossibilities seems to be a hallmark of great digital leadership achievements and the significant human progress. Hence, is the time to look further and look deep, practice the “Ins & Outs” view of the digital transformation, in order to lead change more confidently.


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