Friday, December 22, 2017

The Monthly Foresight: Debureaucratization to Keep Digital Fit Dec. 2017

The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Digital is the age of creativity and innovation, creativity is the most wanted trait for digital leaders and professionals today, and innovation is the light every organization is pursuing. Which themes shall you set to advocate digital transformation? What are your practices for building a hyperconnected and ever-evolving digital business ecosystem?

Debureaucratization to Keep Digital Fit

How Can Digital Characteristics Brighten the Shadow of Bureaucracy Traditional organizations have a pyramidal hierarchy and overly rigid organizational structure and processes, which often enforce silo thinking and business bureaucracy. Generally speaking, bureaucracy is a system based on a hierarchy of authority and division of workforce functioning in a routine manner. Bureaucracy is criticized by its inflexibility, inefficiency, silo, stagnation, unresponsiveness, lack of creativity, etc. It is correlated with a mechanistic view of the organization and reductionistic management discipline. With increasing rate of changes and fast growing information, the organization needs to be adapted in a digital way that it can respond effectively to the dynamic changes and to the variety in the environment. But more specifically, how can emergent digital characteristics brighten the shadow of bureaucracy to improve management effectiveness and organizational maturity?

Three Perspectives of Debureaucratization? The root of the word "bureaucracy" is: bureau(fr) = desk and kratos(gr) = rules/ power. The larger the organization and inputs, the larger the amount of 'rules' necessary for its function and to keep dependent variables and outputs delivery stable. However, too many rules will stifle innovation, outdated rules will stop the business from moving forward with accelerated speed. And the overly restricted hierarchy will cause silo, discourage cross-functional communication and collaboration. Hence, dismantling bureaucratization is inevitable because of the ever-increasing speed of changes and expanding interdependence.

Three Gaps Caused by Bureaucratic Thinking The word "bureaucracy" is often seen in pejorative circumstances. Generally speaking, bureaucracy is a system based on a hierarchy of authority and division of workforce functioning in a routine manner. At the industrial age, most of the organizations are running at silos, with the top down organizational structure, bureaucracy thinking is perhaps understandable, because “command and control” is part of the business culture. However, at the digital environment in which business functions become more dynamic and hyper-connected, the environment changes quicker than the 'speed' with which rules and processes can be changed, the gaps caused by bureaucratic thinking stop the change and turn to be the mental barrier to stifle innovation and the very obstacle to making effective decisions. Here are three gaps caused by bureaucratic thinkingabundance.

An Anti-Digital Mind: A Bureaucratic Thinking
In the digital environment in which organization’s function become more dynamic, the environment changes quicker than the 'speed' with which rules and processes can be changed, does bureaucratic thinking become the intolerable mindset to stop the change and mental barrier to stifle innovation? What makes the difference between bureaucracy and a 'healthy' organization?

CIOs as Chief Innovation Officer: Three “DE” Management Effort to Accelerate IT Innovation
Organizations across the vertical sectors, no matter large or small, all face the unprecedented change, uncertainty, velocity, and accelerated business dynamic on the journey of digital transformation. Digital is the age of innovation. Digital innovation has expanded scope with a full spectrum of management disciplines, including both hard innovations such as products/services/business model innovations, as well as soft innovations such as leadership/culture/communication innovation, etc. It is important to note that within the organizations, innovation is rarely an individual action; rather, it is a team effort, often across multiple organizational silos, and it needs to connect the dots across the digital ecosystems.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with about #4300th 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. 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 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.


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