Wednesday, July 7, 2021


Innovative organizations must step out of their comfort zone continuously, try to improve, develop, or change things in a prioritized order for achieving long term business advantage.

Increasing pace of change and fierce competitions are the new normal, organizations today aim to move into a more advanced stage of business deployment by tailoring their own unique strength and business maturity, and hopefully outstrip competitors. To improve the organizational maturity, what can be unifying is looking at each function in the enterprise as a subsystem, the enterprise system is a switch hyper-connected in the ever-evolving business ecosystem. Such nested systems with emergent properties and the following characteristics can continuously try to develop, improve, shape the behavior, or change things necessary to achieve high performance.

Contextual fluency: In the dynamic digital business, business logic is often nonlinear and multifaceted, contextualization is about having an in-depth understanding of a specific cause and effect in a specific context or the core issues of a situation which leads to defining problems and resolution. Some rational or accumulative wisdom that grows with age, or “learning from past experience” are already lagging behind the digital era. Business leaders and professionals need to deepen their understanding of organizations, work they intend to accomplish, or the people they work with, climb the intellectual hierarchy of knowledge, insight, wisdom. Knowledge is often in the box; insight is thinking into the box after thinking out of the box; and contextual intelligence is thinking in the box, on the box, and across the box, to improve higher-level digital fluency.

To solve complex business problems, understanding context is often the first and the critical step in enforcing understanding, touch the thought processes and logical reasoning, set tones, understand wholeness, and create the relevant context to make an everlasting solution - without it, you are working without any boundaries or cause more side effect later on. Business management with contextual fluency is able to understand the whole meaning of functional dialects and business cultures or subcultures, close silos and make a seamless alignment of varying functions; follow simplicity principle to consolidate, integrate, and optimize, in order to improve communication effectiveness, management fluency and organizational agility.

Structural elegance:
Traditional organizations are based on rigid structural hierarchy, divided functions and people usually with linear skillset. However, with emerging digital technologies and abundance of information/knowledge, the era of face-to-face, top-down hierarchical management, and communication – something that is reassuring to many traditional managers are beginning to change. The organization should keep tuning its structure and process, to become highly adaptable, flexible and innovative, and provide the space for people to exercise their talent, build unique professional competencies, and unleash their potential individually and collectively. The structural elegance of digital organization enforces self-awareness, self-adaptation, self-management, and self-renewal.

Organizations today are informative and dynamic, looking at all business elements (including the human element) as an integrated, systemic system that functions as an organic living thing. Individual' work and group work cannot be done as a segregated form but within a framework of an entire system or frame of reference. Compared to traditional management that focuses on controlling and providing answers; contemporary management today is now all about transparency, active listening, facilitating continuous dialogues, trust in the wisdom of the team, giving proper credit where it is due, and making constant experimentation. The digital ecosystem is adaptively rational, it has to strike the balance of keeping the order, and sparking innovation; accelerating performance and unlocking potential, loosing management discipline and enforcing governance practices, with the goal to improve organizational flexibility and changeability.

Systematic integration:
Many companies that get stuck at the lower level of organizational maturity operate as the sum of pieces, rather than an integral whole, with the possibility to become dysfunctional or even fall apart as different individuals or functions adapt to change with varying speed. Integration is very simply the task of connecting business systems so that they can share and consume each other's resources, collaborate cross-boundary, enable workflows between them as part of a business process value chain, to ensure that the application ecosystem offers real value and also is necessary for future agility, and long-term business competency. This is especially difficult for the large and well established organizations because there are many revenue streams, many business units, many geographies involved, many products and services will have a variety of data and different information streams, the variety of hard and soft capitals that need to be invest in, as well as a variety of systems to handle the assets of the business. Those organizations that have better integration maturity outperform their competitors and tend to be more responsive to increasing pace of changes and develop a cohesive set of business capabilities.

In management practice, every strategic initiative, either at a functional level or corporate scope, has to make sure the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces. Integration is an important step of holistic management with technical “know-how.” By integrating, you are creating a case where you force an organizational alignment to integration to optimization to maximize the multifaceted value from existing systems and the need for better business performance, responsiveness, and innovation. Pay more attention to those integration hairballs - spending significant time and resources on doing integration without achieving expected results due to lack of architectural perspective and technical fluency. The goal of a variety of integration is to ensure information consistency, security, interoperability, and coherence for running a high-intelligent and high-performance business.

Creative Paradox: We are reaching the intersection area of the knowledge economy and creative economy. Oftentimes, the conventional mind is bound by its beliefs and general practices which perhaps do not fit in the new circumstances. Curiosity drives us to learn new things, and creativity urges us to change and figure out new ways to solve problems. Being innovative is a state of mind which leads us to understand the inner wholeness and generate creative energy. The interaction between what is within us and how we project to the exterior world is the bridge to achieving wholeness, as well as trigger our creativity - generate innate ideas for changing the better world. Cognitively, emotionally, methodologically, creative paradox energizes curiosity, and curiosity ignites creativity. Knowledge vs. imagination, art vs. science; confidence vs. humility, conflict vs. harmony; passion vs. cool-headedness; joy vs. anger; social interaction vs. solitude; listening and sharing; collaboration vs. healthy competition, are all important paradoxical pairs to nurture our creativity and strengthen our unique strength.

For example, imagination triggers creativity; but without fresh knowledge and proficient expertise, creative ideas perhaps look na├»ve. Confidence drives us to innovate boldly; but humility brings egoless awareness of our knowledge limitation; and allows us to keep sharpening our skills and build our capacity to innovate. Either individually or collectively, the constant negotiation between our essence and our projection leads to growth, creativity, and human evolution. From an innovation management perspective, business innovation has the characteristic of paradox, and often creativity is sparked by conflict. Opportunities and threats cannot exist without a context of interaction, especially in today’s digital dynamic, taking calculated risks and encouraging creativity. Understand and recognize that everyone has a role in performing an innovation symphony and give everyone a voice in how the organization and the people in it can prosper and thrive, with an ownership mentality to drive desired changes.

Designed viability: Traditional companies often show the static culture tone and “black & white” patterns with some grey shades in between. Digital kaleidoscopes demonstrate a variety of shapes & patterns and a full spectrum of colors. High mature organizations are moving from inside-out operation driven to outside-in people centric; from process-oriented to capability enabled; from reactive to change to information savvy; from mechanical-keep spinning to organic-keep growing, and apply design lens to shift functioning to firming to delighting. Nowadays, the business system is operational in crisis and conflict environments and is 'designed' to couple with them, influence the emergent properties of the environment and enable emergent change in its own behavior, function, and structure. Thus, business leaders and professionals need to be versatile for adapting to changes, be informative and innovative to do things differently and set the viable path to thrive in today’s digital dynamic.

The digital convergence of devices and services are creating viable business models and revenue sources; every forward-look organization across the vertical sectors declare they are in the information technology business by digitizing touch points with their customers. The premium organizational design is not about some pretty interfaces or a few visual graphical frames. It's about applying simplicity & system principles and embedding people-centricity culture into key processes for improving business viability and maturity. The balanced and effective-outcomes- driven design approaches and principles then, obviously highly related to the various systemic-kaleidoscopes.

High mature digital organizations build the digital premium into their very foundation of the business such as culture, structure, processes, etc. To improve business dynamic and enforce the hyper growth cycle, the organization must step out of their comfort zone continuously, try to improve, develop, or change things in a prioritized order for achieving long term business advantage.


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