Saturday, November 11, 2017

Following the "BASIC” Principles in Problem-Solving and Digital Transformation

Understanding that digital business development is multifaceted and digital transformation is multidimensional.

The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. 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 think and solve problems. To make a seamless digital transformation,  it’s important to set guidelines and make updated rules for navigating through changes and steering the journey of digital transformation. Here are the “BASIC” principles in problem-solving and digital transformation.

Balance: Compared to traditional organizations with overly rigid organizational hierarchy and structure, digital organizations have to be solid enough to keep businesses running, but fluid enough to enable information and idea flowing in an expanded digital ecosystem with accelerated speed. Variety, complexity, diversification, interdependence, and collaboration are all important characteristics of the digital innovation ecosystem. It is important to strike the right balance between chaos and order, solid and flows, speed and stability, innovation and rules, physical and virtual, learning and doing, competition and collaboration. Compared to changes, the transformation is more radical, with all sorts of ups and downs, bumps and curves. Thus, digital organizations and their people must learn through their interactions with the business environment, they should apply their learning, act, observe the consequences of their action, make inferences about those consequences, and draw implications for future action. The emergence of potential opportunities for exploiting digitization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern or exponential speed, businesses today must cultivate balanced thoughts, take balanced actions, and build a creative working environment in which the good mix of “old way and new way” doing things can work in harmony. Critical thinking and creative thinking are both encouraged, opportunities and risks are both managed holistically, performance and potential are both unlocked skillfully.

Adaptation: Digital means flow and overwhelming growth of information. Organizational adaptation is the ability to be highly responsive to the fast-changing business environment. Digital organizations have to adapt to the “VUCA” digital new normal and business dynamic. The business responsiveness and changeability based on self-adaptation is the capability to adapt to the change and make "conscious" business choices seamlessly. It is important to renovate the traditional organizational structure and innovate businesses across vertical sectors. The goal is to make hierarchical systems adaptive so that they can respond to the challenges of a more complex, interconnected, and interdependent world.  Self-adaptation is faster if made with the full involvement of people in organizational tuning with consciousness to change. Self-adaptation is a phenomenon strictly linked to see learning and knowledge increase if shared and consumed and change has to be orchestrated at all levels for effective problem-solving.

Simplicity: Logically, simplifying the complicated thing is an optimal and smart choice, to make progress either for designing products, solving problems, or managing an organization. With simplicity, what we are adding is clarity and purpose. Keep in mind, in today’s complex world, in the core of simplicity lies complexity, the more simple one perceives in any system, problem or living being is inherently more complex. Externally simplicity is directly proportional to internal complexity. And from the problem-solving perspective, often the early solution is perhaps complicated, but after optimizing process and adjusting procedures, the following solutions could be better, but simpler. From digital transformation perspective, change is simply a shift from the “Old Way - Chaos - New Way” to do things. It is important to apply simplicity as a management principle, sometimes Change Management needs to be changed when necessary in pursuit of simplicity.

Insight: Many say we still live in the world that is information-rich but insight poor. There are multilayer meanings upon insight. Insight is being able to identify the root cause of a problem or the core issues of a situation that leads to understanding and resolution. Insight is also about penetrating and often sudden understanding of a complex situation or problem. Insight is an understanding the cause and effect based on the identification of relationships and behaviors within a model, context, or scenario. At traditional companies, the big or small decisions are often based on static or often outdated information available and the “gut feeling” of their management. Those companies become digital laggards because they are not able to adapt to changes promptly and grasp business growth opportunities timely. The abundance of information flow and the more advanced technologies make it possible to gain real-time insight and business foresight if organizations are truly being digitized underneath, at the process level. From talent management perspective, accumulating knowledge only is not sufficient to adapt and innovate, we must capture insight from knowledge which has a shortened life cycle, and we must co-create knowledge for collective progress. The interdisciplinary business insight should lead us not only understanding, but also predicting; not just managing problems, but also pursuing solutions and seeking purpose, as a mode of thinking and action. The challenge about insight is that knowledge can be taught, insight cannot be told completely because it comes from each individual’s cognitive understanding, connection, discernment, penetration, and perception.  The insight-driven digital transformation can create synchronization of all functions running seamlessly.

Creativity: Creativity is an innate process to come up with novel ideas. Creativity has many faces. To be creative, you must think differently and do something different, To be creative, to re-frame, first, you need to embrace the unknown (think outside the box). Second, you need to challenge the known (probe the paradoxes). Many people always live with the conventional wisdom - the box they are familiar with. But being creative requires you to break down the outdated rules or concept, or the little box which restricts your thinking. It takes courage to be creative, and it takes practices and practices more for unlocking creativity. Creativity process could be sophisticated, but creativity is never for making things complicated, the opposite is actually true, creativity is to advance, but also simplify things. It comes from possibility thinking and solution orientation. For many people, it requires a seamless paradigm shift in thinking from "problem" stickiness & root-cause analysis towards discovering possibilities.  It’s all in the attitude to explore the better way and develop a “problem-solving” mindset, and it just needs to be nurtured properly.

Understanding that digital business development is multifaceted and digital transformation is multidimensional. Follow the “BASIC” principle,  have “incremental consciousness” about our own potentials as an individual, team, and organization, strike the delicate balance, adapt to change, keep things simple, be insightful, and fuel creativity for leading a smooth digital transformation.


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