Most describe digital as a world of ‘new technologies’ coupled with the belief that technologies are growing at the fastest pace ever known in human history – or are they really? David Moschella of the Leading Edge Forum (www.leadingedgeforum.com) wrote in 2015, ‘Most conflate the ideas of technology acceleration and technology diversification’, leading to this confusion.
Data suggests that the adoption rate of new technologies such as 3D printing, smart watches and consumer drones is similar to or slower than the comparable ‘ground-breaking’ advances of the past. Economists believe that the rate of technology adoption is best measured by the time taken for it to be absorbed by 50% of American households. Electricity, for example, took 28 years while radios took 9 years and the personal computer, 17 years.
Most changes in the technology landscape today are occurring at the back-end of the ecosystem (Cloud, Data/Machine Learning, IoT) driven by a rapid adoption of user-focused devices (PC’s, Laptops, Smartphones) from preceding decades. Innovations or products and services (a.k.a diversifications’) which utilise these have done extremely well in the last 10 years and their pace continues to rise. This is due to the fact that such adoptions require little new investment by their users, leverage existing familiarity and offer actionable information.
This suggests a rather profound outcome –
‘The world of digital is not driven by new technology but by innovating with existing technology.
The three pillars of this innovation are: your vast internal experience, managing change effectively and setting up transformational goals. The challenge does not lie in knowing this or what to do, but in the detail of the ‘why’ and the ‘how’.
Organisational change requires intermeshing the three dimensions of work (Fig1). Yet over 60% of all change either fails or significantly misses the goals set out. Businesses learn to live with these diluted outcomes – a primary reason why transformational goals such as rebuilding a competitive advantage conclude with competitive followership.
If your core deliverable is to ensure positive change and turning your intention into reality then no matter what your industry, these three actions hold great merit –
- The promise of digital needs a leader and you must try and find one internally. Above all else, focus on the critical ability to accurately picture your business at least five years forward (10 is better) because you will deck money and the costlier resource of time behind the leaders’ strategy. This ability is distinctive and not all have it. Assessing this ability is essential along with any other demands that you may have such as background, experience or past performance. The important thing is for you to know that there are specific techniques to getting this done. The icing is that you could build or integrate a whole function around this method significantly lowering future risk.
- As you pursue transformational goals you are possibly looking at creating customer delight, deconstructing and rebuilding your competitive advantage or distrupting your industry. These can mean long term engagements and you will likely time plan the various initiatives you and your advisors consider important.
We suggest that you must look beyond individual programs and look at the total change first because methodologies and tools that are derived from a single well established theory provides the integrative glue that keeps it all together. A theory that deals with the constituents of change such as systems design, strategy cohesion in the organisation, relevant restructuring, building shared cultures across the many different groups of people who reside in functions, businesses and geographies.
The importance of integration can be seen in this example – A new ‘online’ ordering method with the ‘touch and feel’ of retail with feet on street models such that customers take away a single consistent experience independent of the channel used.
- Your collective internal knowledge of decades lies with your people, customers and vendors and is a key resource that you must leverage. These stakeholders have the current business to manage and are probably involved in debates and discussions led by consultants and other experts. An important question you must ask is, ‘does this align organisation energies from the front line to the CEO’? You need a new idea of executing change which achieves four things –
- Getting every person to pull in the same direction to solve problems including a few that have not shown up to the door as yet.
- You have smart people, consider training them for the Intellectual property that is in play and benefit from the strengthening of the organisational core that will stay with you for years.
- Save time spent in forming teams and getting them to do what is required and disbanding them fast as they have other jobs to do.
- Executing valuable change must harness the dormant organisational energy that already exists.
Leading global I.P that is distinctive that relates to the above goals and is proven in diverse situations should be considered and deployed. This method has created 1000’s of practitionaers worldwide. Consider speaking to a few CEO’s who have experienced this.
In conclusion, the ‘Spaces Between Digital’ are the cracks that subtly diminish the outcome or compromise the benefits you planned for. It is worth to keep these in mind:
- The goal of digital is driven by ‘innovation’ given the proliferation of technology.
- Don’t underplay the need for a Leader but don’t forget that an internal has benefit.
- Execution is about taking action, in the new world it is also about strenthening you.
- Expect to release vast organisational energy that lies dormant.
- Top leadership should participate early in a half half day workshop on digital.
- Imagine the effects of positive Change’. Just don’t let it be an afterthought..
- Recognize the new normal – not of a digital divide but a digital cohesion.
- You are not solving a problem but triggering a revolution and its OK to not know whats next.