Monday, May 21, 2018

The Shape of Digital: Three Upward Spirals to Improve Organizational Maturity

The journey of digitalization is more evolutionary than revolutionary; cascading than the straight line

Digital organizations are hyperconnected and interdependent. Digital boundary has the zigzag pattern on it, it is fluid enough to keep ideas flow and information flow, but solid enough to create order, enable responsibility-taking and manage business effectiveness and efficiency, to achieve a state of dynamic business balance. Digitalization is inspirational, iterative, and progressive, is the shape of digital like the upward spiral to reach the high level of organizational maturity?

Change spiral: Digital is all about the increasing pace of change and technology-driven disruptions. Organizational change management is not just about a few spontaneous businesses initiatives for reacting to business dynamic. It needs to be the ongoing business capability. There are incremental change and radical change, digital transformation is the radical change that “the company reinvents itself” via fine-tuning its underlying processes, functions, culture, or business model. Change is difficult because it evolves both the learning curve and the emotional cycle behind it; there are both hard processes and soft touches. It is a multi-stepped process that includes both change resolution and management discipline. Managing change is like the upward spiral, there is a mixed bag of positive and negative emotion; Change happens when changing is easier than maintaining the status quo, and more importantly, when people no longer feel threatened by it. All stages must be handled with attention and proficiency to ensure success. However, often transformative change is acted on the basis of improving one part of an organization at the expense of other parts of the organization because managers still practices silo traditional management discipline. Either individually or collectively, the success factor to the “transformative change,” and its further “championing” has been the endless self-exploration in material, emotional, or intellectual dimensions that need to co-evolve together. 'Change' is continuously happening and spiraling up in such a dynamic environment, to move from one level to another change maturity requires step-function changes in tools, culture, leadership, and process, and make the change as a differentiated business competency.

Information Management spiral: Information is one of the invaluable assets in modern businesses. Information in itself isn’t power, as we all know knowledge is power, Information/Knowledge Management is the management with knowledge as a focus, it involves the use of technologies and processes with the aim of optimizing the value that is generated. Information and knowledge management is rather like the upward spiral, with the ability to seamlessly access, analyze, utilize, and refine data into useful facts and unique insight, to trigger a sense of confidence, confirmation, validation, and verification. A well-designed and effective information/knowledge solutions bound to unlock the enterprise knowledge, to turn a downward (cost efficiency) spiral into an upward (business growth) spiral between our starting points and its rich environment, the digital ecosystem. The challenge is to get beyond the tipping point where the knowledge power is unlocked, and unleash the full digital potential of the business.

Innovation Spiral: Innovation is about transforming innate ideas to achieve their business value. There are incremental innovation, evolutional innovation, and breakthrough innovation. Innovation is risky, generally speaking, incremental innovation brings short-term value addition but takes less risk; breakthrough innovation is disruptive, with high return and high-risk. The challenge of leading and managing innovation is an overly conservative approach itself, focusing on individual line extension renovation rather than developing a broader portfolio. Breakthrough Innovation is disruptive and will change your organization in many fields. You need new technologies, new processes, new customers, new knowledge, maybe a new business model. Innovation Management is like the upward spiral, you cannot “disrupt” without incremental innovation being part of the process. Becoming a consistent innovative company requires tuning both the organizational structure and culture that nurture new ideas and is able to profitably execute on those ideas and manage a healthy innovation portfolio with both incremental innovation and breakthrough innovation. Innovation ecosystem or the methodological environment should cover the whole innovation process, from processes in managing ideas or idea handling systems to idea implementation and promotion.

The journey of digitalization is more evolutionary than revolutionary; cascading than the straight line. It is critical to put the stronger emphasis on empowering people, refining information & knowledge; catalyzing change & innovation, and spiraling up to reach the next level of business maturity.


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