Friday, March 1, 2019

Leverage Interdisciplinarity in Digital Management

The purpose of managing business via interdisciplinary discipline is to ensure that the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces.

The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. Human society gets more and more complex, the very natural attempt of humans to take the very powerful techniques of mathematics, such as techniques of linear mathematics or logic and apply it to the hyperconnected world very quickly come up against insurmountable difficulties for managing today's dynamic digital business. Dealing with the significant challenge of digital transformation requires accelerated digital mindsets, leveraging multidisciplinary knowledge and insight, taking an end-to-end response and a structural approach.

Interdisciplinarity and problem-solving: The digital business dynamic is full of uncertainty, velocity, complexity, ambiguity, fierce competitions, and continuous disruptions. Unlike the traditional organizations often being perceived as mechanical systems keep spinning; digital organizations are the living things keep growing and evolving. In this exponential era, we will be confronting a number of high-complex problems and unprecedented uncertainty, the business solutions will require an integration of different sets of knowledge and digital fluency across multiple disciplines. Organizations today are at the crossroads where the segregations or silos of business units intend to reach across the aisles and work with each other respectively in order to understand complex business problems holistically and solve them systematically, without causing too many side effects. Thus, the linear business system perception needs to be replaced by the adaptive digital system viewpoint, the interdisciplinary business insight should lead us not only understanding, but also predicting; dig into the root cause of problems, not just point out symptoms, and leverage interdisciplinarity to solve them systematically.

Multi-disciplinary knowledge sharing and business management: Digital organizations and systems have the very characteristics of nonlinearity, adaptability, unrepeatability, unpredictability, and denial of control. At an enterprise level, digital literacy requires cross-functional collaboration and interdisciplinary knowledge sharing. Thus, organizations today need to take integral information and knowledge management approach, encourage knowledge exchange cross-functionally, in order for people to understand new topics and get access to knowledge effortlessly. The interdisciplinary science can be applied to digital management which involves engineering, design, principles, philosophy, psychology, social norms, and sociology. Trans or interdisciplinary science can be applied to management by integrating multidisciplinary methodologies, enables leaders to frame bigger thinking boxes, and manage the digital business by taking the multi-faceted approach, technically, scientifically and culturally.

Interdisciplinarity and nonlinearity in digital management: The hyperconnectivity nature of digital breaks down the functional, geographical, or even organizational border, businesses today become much more nonlinear, interconnected, and interdependent than ever. Applying interdisciplinary digital management to gain an understanding of nonlinearity as the very characteristic of the digital organization and dynamic business ecosystem could be at the tipping point for the digital paradigm shift. There are two important things that will be important in interdisciplinary management. First, it is about gaining the necessary knowledge to understand and manage holistic digital ecosystems. Secondly, it is to understand how the people factor affects the business system, and then, managing the complex system and the people of the complex system. For business management, especially at senior management level, practicing digital management is about leveraging nonlinear lens, taking a holistic view, experimenting with better ways to lead, and applying interdisciplinary management approach for business planning and taking actions.

The digital organization as a whole has to function more holistically and coherently in order to achieve high-performance business results. The purpose of managing business via interdisciplinary discipline is to ensure that the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces, enforce cross-divisional communication and collaboration to build dynamic business competency.


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