Friday, December 7, 2018

The Digital Metaphor: How to Grow a Digital Business Like a Vegetable Garden

Like the blossoming garden, the digital organization is organic, sophisticated, living, and charming.

A digital organization is a living business which is organic, alive, holistic, vibrant, energetic, responsive, fluid, and innovative, in the relationship with its environments. Metaphorically, Running a digital organization is like to grow a vegetable garden, where each capability is a different type of vegetable growing in the garden. What you want, is the right mix of productive plants to match your culinary needs. From designing a landscape to nurturing an environment, there are both art and science to either grow a garden or run a digital business.

Architect the digital landscape: The "view of the digital landscape” has many dimensions - technically, scientifically, philosophically, psychologically, and sociologically. A digital organization starts with a transcendent purpose that leads to a unique natural design, a design most fits to achieve the purpose of businesses. Today, digital leaders as the architect need to play an important role in both developing and participate in a long-term digital vision of organizational development and become the great digital landscape designers. The challenge is to have a harmonized view of organizational structures, capabilities, and business maturity. To envision is to shape the future together. You have to look into an unknown future and attempt to define the landscape with its opportunities and risks for developing a highly competitive real-time digital organization. Architecting a digital landscape is a structural design process which can bring greater awareness of intricacies and the systemic value of organizational systems, business processes, people dynamics, resource alignment, cultural quintessential, or technological touches. The real value of architecting is also about how to keep the business priorities in balance, as well as facilitating strategic planning to broaden their ecosystems and revenue streams.

Cross-pollinate fresh ideas and nurture a creative working environment: Just like nurturing a garden, it is so important to develop a flexible, inclusive, and innovative working environment to tap diverse resources and recognize merit and ideas. To build a creative working environment, the democratic processes will overtake hierarchical control, and that culture will become a more fundamental organizational asset, like the soil in the garden to grow the innovation seeds. To continuously innovate within organizations, individuals and groups need to connect and communicate more openly, easily and effectively. In practice, the major challenge facing organizations when attempting to innovate is a consistent process through which they can develop ideas, and implement them accordingly. Highly innovative organizations naturally have closer connections between functions and all functions and levels are more intimately involved with the market and each other on a regular basis. Just like insects play the crucial role in pollinating plants in the garden, one of the drivers of creativity is cross-fertilization and pollination of ideas. It is built into the structure so it happens very naturally in the process. Employees should be encouraged to think out of the box, go beyond their defined roles and demonstrate their intellectual capabilities to ask great questions and bring positive changes. Creativity needs to be appreciated. A recognition system and high visibility for all positive contributions will help in creating a culture of innovation.

Build Differentiated business competencies: The digital organization is the holistic living system which keeps growing. Every business is different, and they are also at the different stage of its business life cycle, with different level of business maturity. Thus, they are also have differentiated business capabilities to build unique competency. Every competitive business has some core competencies to achieve its business goals and reach a high level of performance. A core competency is a harmonization of multiple capabilities such that it permeates the entire organization with a focus, and in alignment with the resource-based view. Just like the well-developed vegetable garden, to get the fruitful result, you might need to retard some plants and encourage others by selective nurturing - plant or sow completely new vegetables. Adaptive processes can provide a consistent way for companies to evaluate the promised business value as well as addressing: How to reduce risk and eliminate low-value projects quickly and effectively? And how to manage a portfolio of investment in building the business competency for the best return? Companies operate within ecosystems to deliver value to their customers. To improve business maturity, it is important to have a good understanding of current and future capabilities as well as their impact on implementing the strategic business goals. The maturity of a business capability would be based on the ability to deliver on customer needs or to achieve the desired business outcome.

Like the blossoming garden, the digital organization is organic, sophisticated, living, and charming. The emergence of potential opportunities for exploiting digitization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern as the pervasiveness of an organization's digitization journey increases. The organizational planning and architecture activities are like landscaping, the goal is to design a delightful scene with fully taking advantage of resources effectively, developing the differentiated business competency and bring the fruitful business results.


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