Friday, May 4, 2018

Three Characteristics of Digital Organization

The most advanced businesses and societies are diverse mixtures of peoples that can spark creativity and amplify innovation effect.

Digital organizations are like the living systems that can self-renew in thriving as high-performance businesses. Digitalization means that companies need to infuse digital into every aspect of the business, expand to every dimension of the organization. It is the movement from static to flow, silo to holistic, mechanical to organic, and command & control to self-management for shaping the digital-empowered workforce with following characteristics.

Autonomy: High level of autonomy is the symbol of the digital maturity. Digital means the increasing pace of changes and continuous disruption. A changeable organization is to creating organizations where change is the norm and happens the whole time for adapting business dynamic, delivering faster and increasing market share, and improving business responsiveness, flexibility and maturity. Workforce autonomy is about empowerment and trust, that means people are able to adapt themselves and their organization through a collaborative and peer to peer working relationship and building a work atmosphere to encourage creativity, autonomy, and mastery. From the economic and organizational management point of view, you know the team will deliver the best outcome and give them the freedom to do it on their way, to further stimulate creativity. Self-organization is a natural human activity. Teams naturally gravitate towards self-organization, if not interfered with. The high degree of the team’s self-management capability reflects its maturity to be disciplined enough to do the work well in a dynamic and highly innovative environment; they can determine the best approach to get the work well done.

Learning plasticity: With the exponential growth of information and shortened knowledge lifecycle, overcomplexity and fierce competition, you simply can't resolve the 21st-century problems with the mindsets shaped half-century ago. A learning organization is more comfortable with complexity, ambiguity, paradoxes and they have a penchant for candor. From workforce management perspective, growth mindset and learning agility are not “nice to have,” but must have digital professional quality. Digital learning is multidimensional, dynamic, interactive, informal and integrated. The digital tools and apps make learning informal, but more cost-effective and interactive. The emerging digital technologies such as social platform provide a flexible way to learn, share and collaborate. High organizational learning relates to high response in recognizing and addressing system constraints. Thus, learning agility at both individual and business level is a digital capability and culture shift, it will directly impact the speed of your digital transformation. Limitations on learning are barriers set by human themselves, as learning is a continuous process to unleash individual or collective potential.

High-innovativeness: In traditional organizations with overly restricted hierarchy, often the workflow is process driven not people-centric, thus, workers are like the clogs on the wheel keep spinning, getting lost in the daily busyness. However, digital is the age of people and innovation in order to win over the fierce competition. Innovation challenges the status quo and that is important for developing a healthy, innovative organization. Impatient with the status quo and believing there is always a better way to do things is a strong signal of having a creative workforce. Thus, it is imperative to foster a creative environment in which people are encouraged to take risks, experiment new ways to do things and unlock their creativity. Being highly innovative starts with intellectual curiosity and learning attitude, also evolving the multitude of thinking processes. When people leave the inside box thoughts and standards to seek additional knowledge and experience, they are stepping outside that box into unfamiliar territory. In fact, there is collective creativity happening everywhere that many realize. It is important to build a creative team having people with the cognitive difference, diverse background, experience, and capabilities so that they can complement with each other’s viewpoint and skills for both generating ideas and implementing them smoothly. Generally speaking, an inclusive working environment with open leadership can stimulate creativity, amplify creativity effect, and nurture innovation success.

The most advanced businesses and societies are diverse mixtures of peoples that can spark creativity and amplify innovation effect. Building an ideal digital workforce won’t happen overnight, it takes planning, experimenting and scaling up. There is no magic formula to cultivating a high-innovative and high-professional digital workforce as well. It is important to cultivate the learning culture that has awareness and understanding plus setting a new behavior expectation of proactive participants. Organizations today must take the holistic digital management practices to harness cross-functional communication and collaboration, improve business autonomy, performance, and overall competency.