Governments are claiming they have 'digitally transformed'. The reality is that they have
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Most digital transformation strategies are neither strategic nor transformational. Michael Porter, the famous Harvard Strategy Professor said "If we're satisfied with vague strengths and weakness lists, we're not thinking very clearly about strategy". "There's a distinction between operational effectiveness and strategic positioning". "Should we be on the cloud or have our own servers? That's an operational effectiveness question. What we understand is that operational effectiveness is not strategy".
Digital transformation starts with a change in mindset. How much time and resource should an organisation commit to making that mind shift? It’s said that “strategy is where we create our competitive advantage”. How much money, how much time and how many people are dedicated to finding new competitive advantage?
According to Wikipedia, Innovation can simply be defined as a "new idea, more-effective device or process." However, they also go on to say that innovation is often also viewed as the "application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs.” In my experience, in the context of Digital Transformation, I think none of these explanations work.
The first challenges are cutting through the noise and getting to the heart of the matter. The IT sector pretend transformation is all to do with technology (usually the box of tricks they’re selling). They frequently publish blogs and articles to convince you to “transform your business by moving to the cloud”. Most mainstream IT advice will at best create operational efficiencies but not transform the organisation.
According to Stephen Covey, the author of best selling business/self-help book - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, if we’re to live a fulfilled life we must ‘sharpen the saw’. His 7th habit focuses on our ability to renew ourselves through exercise and spirituality as well as education. But just how good are we at adapting to change, modifying our habits, or expanding our minds, especially as we get older? The answer is that we’re pretty good at it if we choose to be.
“If we understand what the technology is capable of, we will be in a better place to tell you how our organisation can leverage it” - says one business leader. “This is what we want the business to achieve and how we’re going to get there. Go find technology that helps make this happen” - says another.
Digital innovators have a culture of sustaining innovation. They consider innovation so important and such a fundamental part of the business that they process, resource, reward, manage, lead, measure and communicate it. In other words, they weave it through the very fabric of their organisation’s culture. These digital innovators bridge the gap between theory and action.
Design Thinking is currently enjoying a surge in popularity and not without good
There are 8 steps to creating a digitally transformed organisation. Each one follows on from the last and must be taken in sequence to achieve our goal. Every step comes with it's challenges and obstacles which we must overcome to reach our goal. If you'll indulge a frivolous analogy, we must take a quick diversion back to the 1980's to become Super Mario and take on our Donkey Kong!