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Digital Transformation Issue 21

David Telford, Vice President of Innovation

digital transformation mediumSome of you may have noticed I missed the deadline for this article in October. Turns out I was with my colleagues at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando, where my need for continuous education received a supercharge. Three intense days of high-quality content and one-on-one meetings with analysts was about all my diminishing hippocampus could take. I was full up. But now that I have had some time to digest, I hunger for more. In short, it was spectacular.

The theme of this year’s big show was the pursuit of “ContinuousNext”. The gist being that the application of technology to future-thinking and developing practices and capabilities to support those technologies and mindsets lead to a continuous stream of results. Or, as Gartner puts it…

(Mindset + Practices) x Technology = Capabilities  -> Results

The future of business is digital, even if your product is physical. ContinuousNext is the synthesis of Digital Product Management and Augmented Intelligence (nothing artificial here!), employing digital twins for prototyping and product enhancement, while keeping an eye on Privacy, and an ear on Culture. ContinuousNext represents a model change to how business is viewed. My coming articles will touch on these different concepts since there is way too much to put into a single article.

Culture is my topic this month. I have written before about how Digital Transformation impacts people, and Gartner emphasized the need to engage your corporate culture to embrace dave3technology changes rather than fear them. By 2021, Gartner states, CIOs will have equal responsibility for culture change as Chief HR Officers. They emphasize the need to…

  • Shape – Take ownership of culture so it’s not a side effect of change but rather a driver,
  • Shift – Shift authority so others can act and drive change that benefits the entire organization, and
  • Share – Implement culture hackathons where future leaders can help prepare for and adopt those changes.

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Hacking culture is more about trying things in an Agile / Continuous Development approach, than traditional approaches with top-down planning and policy. You want to try a lot of things, fail quickly if you fail at all, reward those who have viable ideas, and keep things moving. Make the idea generator the CEO of the idea and encourage them to drive it to minimum viable product to see if it has merit.

Business needs to embrace the creativity of their entire employee base to engage them in change rather than just submit them to it. Engaging your employees, according to Gartner, can reduce implementation time for cultural changes by 33%, increase the probability of successful adoption by 24%, and create 38% higher employee engagement in the improvement of the company. (Source: Gartner, Workforce Change Survey, 2016; Gartner, Change Management Head of Function Survey, 2016)

GSI recently implemented these concepts through at Strategic Leadership Council where we engaged our employees to participate in shaping our future products and services. More on that later! Exciting times!

dave4This month’s podcast from Freakonomics Radio is an interview with Ford CEO Jim Hackett on how one of the oldest, most traditional manufacturers in the US can transform itself into a “tech” company while still maintaining brand identity.
Can an Industrial Giant Become a Tech Darling?

Share your favorite tech sightings, or other stories at heydave@getgsi.com and follow me on Twitter @gsi_dave.

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