Friday, September 1, 2017

Riding Three Change Curves to Make a Leap of Digital Transformation

CREATIVITY has to become the philosophy of an organization, innovation is part of corporate culture.

Change is inevitable, with increasing speed. Rapid business model innovation, digitization, consumerism and many other factors are creating new challenges and opportunities for enterprises’ surviving and thriving. However, in today's work environment, it takes a lot of energy to break old habits, outdated thought processes, get out of the comfort zone, make change part of your routine, and ride three change curves to make a leap of digital transformation.

Keep improving- become better at what you do: Change is never for its own sake, it is always about making the improvement. Becoming better means removing obstacles, overcoming challenges, making continuous improvement, and figuring out the better way to do things. People are always the center of changes. Empowerment, in this case, builds a culture that willingly confronts issues and makes changes. The reason so many change initiatives are not comprehensible is that they don't make fundamental sense, often even ignore the very purpose of changes. Any change that doesn't reduce the friction people experience in doing their jobs will be perceived as misdirected. Continuous improvement has to link back to the organizational values and culture, and more importantly, it has to be regularly reinforced. Many times, teams have worked very hard to refine the processes involved with an initiative and things are just starting to go smoothly and customers are responding. When the group being changed takes on the responsibility to understand and manage it, the change goes much better and become sustainable.

Keep innovating - be able to do something different, and make continuous innovation: Innovation is the change, though change is not always innovation. Digital is the age of innovation. Innovation is a collection of thoughts, ideas, or efforts used to bring about or manage change to a desirable outcome. Highly innovative organizations are able to do something different and make continuous innovation. However, many organizations are not fertile ground for ideation, they avoid taking risks, and seldom learn from their mistakes; asking people to do something they are not equipped to do just frustrates them with more, and there is the negative vibe surrounding the working environment. There are many idioms that refute the premise: "Some things never change," "the more things change, the more they stay the same," "there's nothing new under the Sun," etc. their internal politics and fears diminish creativity by means of senseless KPIs, while they push down the innovation funnel. To ride the learning curve, it is important to build the culture of innovation/experimentation where everyone is encouraged to chip in with ideas and collaborate, take calculated risks, be able to do something different and to create new value for customers.

Keep exploring - be willing to do things you’ve never done before: Besides being able to do something different, to take the step further, people should be willing to do things they’ve never done before, explore the new possibilities with a growth mindset. There is a willingness to "not know" and be able to source possibilities in the emergence space, to be curious and receptive to improvisation and experimentation (and failing), from letting go of the current reality to allowing an unknown future state to emerge. Willingness to fail is an important factor which must be fostered by top managers. This is particularly important under the “VUCA” digital new normal because there is both abundance of opportunities and perils on the way. Hence, it is important to build a culture of learning and inclusiveness, to maximize diversity, to be collaborative, and to be intentionally disruptive to create empty space for brainstorming and experimenting. Come out fresh ideas or solutions that we can be provocative, passionate (really intrinsically motivated) about and courageous enough to implement or execute in new and unexpected ways. To put simply, CREATIVITY has to become the philosophy of an organization, innovation is part of corporate culture.

Digital businesses become more dynamic and hyperconnected, riding those change curves is particularly important for improving business responsiveness, increasing speed and maturity. When people are empowered, intrinsically motivated, creative to take initiative and self-confident because they are well trained and supported, the change train becomes unstoppable. Organizations have to enable the desirable emergent property, either being called synergy or ongoing change capability because they are the business competency and key differentiator to build high-performing digital businesses.


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