Thursday, December 10, 2020

Inspiring Interdisciplinarity

The hyperconnected and interdependent digital ecosystem needs to communicate, negotiate, and cooperate with each other to catalyze changes and foster innovation to reach the next level of organizational maturity. 

In today's interdependent global economy with high levels of unpredictability, uncertainty, and unrepeatability, organizations have to adapt to the “VUCA” new normal, break down the traditional management disciplines based on silo mentality and linear logic. The mechanistic work production analog is replaced with organic growth metaphor. Operational centrism becomes multi-disciplinary people-centrism. The dynamic digital organization can be perceived through the lenses of biology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, technology, ecology, etc. Digital management is informative, interdisciplinary, and innovative.

Improving people-centricity via anthropological lens: Digital companies are outside-in and people-centric. Anthropology presents every aspect of human life and elucidates the cultural traits, complexes, and motives of specific human behavioral aspects. Either at organizational or societal scope, an anthropological viewpoint opens one’s eyes to a spectrum of things with so many different shades and colors of the same world. It helps business leaders manage this side, that side, and interaction of the two sides, harmonize multi-layer and multi-dimensional business relationships such as cross-functional relationships, customer relationships, vendor relationships, and other shareholder relationships, engage effectively with multiple internal and external stakeholders, customers, and partners.

Anthropology provides a unique angle to run a people-centric organization. It helps business leaders or professionals vividly communicate, question assumptions, accurately judge the coming curves and obstacles on the digital path, make effective decisions by leveraging variable factors; create core business competency to expand footprint, and get into actions in creative and productive ways. Thinking through anthropological dimensions helps us discover our place in the world as regards our culture, world-conception, human behaviors, mythology, and the common points among societies, understanding interdependence and looking into the shade and colors of the world we share together by seeing into the digital enterprise ecosystem holistically.

Understanding and shaping human behavior via psychological lens: Running business is about change, and there is psychology behind change. Organizational psychology delivers real value in terms of being a sounding board the collective psychology shapes the culture of organization- how people think and do things in the organization. Predicting and shaping human behavior is hard and there is always going to be an error so expectation setting is of paramount importance. Thus, understanding people via psychological lens helps the management dig into the mindset to understand problems, rejuvenate progressive changes, unlock human potential, and awaken possibilities in people to deliver extraordinary results.

Top performing organizations have a strong focus on people. One of the most influencing aspects of people's psychology is how they perceive the world around them and how they relate to it. This is a function of things like basic mental framework and emotional intelligence. The very goal of leadership is to lead people through progressive change. By understanding the proving psychological concepts and practicing them, businesses can instill positive psychology in their workforce, build a culture of learning and innovation, and ultimately achieve high performance results.

Optimize business via technological perspective: Digital technologies are more lightweight, powerful, intuitive, and fast. The unprecedented convenience brought by digital technologies makes the world smaller and flatter, and brings fierce competitions across the global scope. Technology is a means to work smarter and not harder and that should be one of the many factors when considering a business solution. Organizations today should aggressively leverage digital technologies, platforms, and tools as the enabler of communication, collaboration, social interaction and forward-thinking, breaking down silo paradigms and loosening overly restricted structure. Also, technology can automate mundane business processes and allow you to maximize efficiency in areas where technology can not replace the human touch.

Technology is merely a tool, not the driver. Information Technology is not for its own sake, but to achieve the very purpose of digital business, by building IT enabled differentiated business capabilities and maximizing collective human potential. The powerful digital technologies and tools now play a critical role in enforcing cross functional communication and collaboration. It involves the creation of interactive multi-channel communication and sharing processes to generate awareness about the new digital reality and accelerate the speed of changes.

Capture collective insight and enforce mass collaboration via sociological lens: Humans progress is achieved through three stages- dependent, independent, and interdependent. Traditional organizational settings with overly strict hierarchical constraints limit freedom of speech, people lack alignment around issues, all insights aren’t being harnessed to their full potential, and the list goes on…Limited hierarchy works best in a creative environment where the free flow of ideas and their prompt implementation is a key element of success. The emerging digital platform and tools expand business management via the socio-cultural, socio-technical, socio-economic, organizational, scientific, philosophical, psychological, and artistic, etc., dimensions which interact and mutually influence each other. In fact, the high-mature social intelligence touches every aspect of digital business nowadays to create business synergy and harmonize business relationships.

The goal for leveraging collaboration tools to optimize organizational design via sociological lens is to get mass collaboration, innovate through less hierarchy, cross-functional insight and adopt a socialization process designed to unleash collective potential. Like anything else, the effectiveness of brainstorming will depend on what it’s being used for. The real value of these ‘group-based activities’, when done properly, is that it enables you to bring a diverse population together and a collective pool of all the expertise at the discussion table, take advantage of collective insight, analyze and synthesize all sorts of information from within and even outside of the business boundary, and come out creative ideas or optimal business solutions with speed or overcome common challenges effortlessly.

Initiating the digital dialogue which is grounded in the enterprise ecological adaptation school of thoughts: Nature is an amazing ecosystem. A benevolent society is an amazing ecological system in which ecological change happens in the space between people in relationships receptively and thoughtfully interacting with interest and caring for one another’s needs. The digital organization is a dynamic ecological system with business attributes such as responsiveness, engagement, adaptability, flexibility, innovativeness, self-renewal, and resilience, etc. Ecological Inherence in the social-technical-ecological view is about understanding ecosystem dynamics, combining different ecological knowledge systems to aid in interpreting and responding to ecosystem feedback, improving system fluidity and maturity.

The digital organization is a self-adaptive system which is able to re-configure its own structure and change its own behavior during the execution of its adaptation to continuous environmental changes. It can bring greater awareness of intricacies and value of the business system, processes, technological advancement, and resource alignment. Heralding an ecological digital organization with high changeability needs to emphasize participation, relationships, communication, collaboration and unlock business performance and potential continually. Ideally, a high performance digital organization is solid enough to keep things in order but also fluid enough to interact with the expanded digital ecosystem seamlessly to either generate wealth for shareholders or build prosperity of constituencies.

Applying philosophy-based management discipline allows us to see the cause and effect thoroughly: Philosophy is the foundation of all sorts of science. Applying philosophical techniques in management is simply in pursuit of a holistic understanding of the hyperconnected digital business world and discovers a better way to do things. Running a borderless digital organization does mean less restrictive rules or bureaucracy, but it also means that the guiding philosophy and principles become more crucial to be defined as decision and behavior guidelines to drive change.

The digital era with knowledge abundance upon us opens a new chapter of human progress, Science always needs philosophy. If there were no critical philosophy to add to the brainstorming, science will in the end lose ground. Philosophy should apply logical techniques in order to attain conceptual clarity and that philosophy should be consistent with the success of modern science including management disciplines. The positive and forward-looking view of business transformation is more about thinking ahead, to prepare and face the challenges and uncertainty on the way to the future. The philosophical understanding will embed when great leaders understand themselves because there's a personal and emotive connection and when it answers the question of "what's in it for me." It also stimulates further thought provoking questions to help them self-reflect, abstract their thoughts and communication to gain the common ground and improve their leadership maturity.

The journey of digital transformation is the full-scale changes in the way business is conducted so that it’s a multidimensional planning, interdisciplinary approach and a multifaceted orchestration. It is the transformation that is reshaping our thinking, recasting the way we view ourselves, and reimagine our way to solve problems. So the hyperconnected and interdependent digital ecosystem needs to communicate, negotiate, and cooperate with each other to catalyze changes and foster innovation to reach the next level of organizational maturity.


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