Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Three “Out” looks to Expand Digital Horizon

Do not just use too narrow lens to see things with near-sighted vision; do not steer your business vehicle via watching the rear mirror only.

The Digital Era has the “VUCA” characteristics - Velocity, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. We are living in a complex world where inventions, developments, and conflicts are continuously changing and that makes it impossible to have a complete knowledge and understanding of any issue. The combination of ever more rapid technology evolution, exponential information growth, and the multi -generational workforce will have more influence over our collective way of life than any time in memory. Therefore, more often than not, conventional wisdom or linear thinking are becoming insufficient to deal with the ever-changing digital dynamic. Digital leaders and professionals must be learning agile, leverage multidimensional thinking, take interdisciplinary approach, and develop next practices to expand their digital horizon and get digital ready.

Out-of-the-Box thinking: Digital opens the new page of innovation. Out-of-the-Box thinking implies a certain level of creativity or unconventional problem solving. In the primitive agricultural society or the considerably static and mechanic industrial age, due to the scarcity of knowledge and underdevelopment of the technologies, people often think and live in the very small box with limited information, and the word is divided by all sorts of boarders and gaps. Fundamentally, the thinking “box” is the set of “rules” that you are abiding by at any moment in time. Sometimes, those “rules” have been passed on from one generation to the other generation without thinking further, and it turns to be the very obstacle of making the collective progress. The matter of fact is that, when you allow information into being accepted as absolute "truth" without first using critical thinking, it inhibits your ability to also think creatively. Digital means change, flow, abundant information, and convenient technologies. To advance and innovative, your mind must set free to create the new ideas that arising from identifying and challenging assumptions and then generating more possibilities. It is also important to break down the outdated rules, and expand the thinking box in order to connect all necessary dots for triggering innovation and catalyzing progression. Therefore, to move forward, not backward, digital leaders and professional should keep inquisitive to ask open questions such as “WHY NOT,” “WHAT IF,” “HOW ABOUT,” to stimulate creative thinking, challenge “We always do things like that,” mentality, and explore the alternative way to solve either old thorny problems or emergent problems creatively.

Out of the comfort zone: Change is inevitable, change is the new normal, and change is situational as well. It happens when something starts or stops, or when something that used to happen in one way starts happening in another. Either at individual or the organizational level, changeability is the differentiator to shape a digital master. Either at mindset or behavior level, “moving out of your comfort zone" can be used at all levels and as a starting point for change. It takes courage, motivation, discipline and persistence to get out of comfort zone. So, from change management perspective, it is important to try to find ways to make people feel involved in the design and implementation of the change. You have to bring it back to the fact that resistance to change has root causes in fear driven by digital evolution. When someone is resisting change, it is usually because one or more of the elements is missing for them. Look at the issues from their perspective, gain their buy-in to the change, switch the conversation to goals- innovation, excellence flexibility, responsiveness etc. Without getting out of the comfort zone, you can never truly taste the new experience and be innovative boldly.

Out of the “Outdated best practices”: Generally speaking, BEST PRACTICE is a recommended way of doing things. Whether you have done it before or not, someone else has and they came up with some thoughts on how to handle it. BEST PRACTICE is the best way known at the moment. Due to increasing speed of changes and overwhelming growth of information, the best practices in the industrial age are perhaps not fit for the digital new normal. Because compared to the business world a couple of decades ago, the digital ecosystem has become much more complex and dynamic, hyper-connected and interdependent. Hence, organizations across sectors should continue to reimagine digital leadership, reinvent management disciplines, reshuffle their organizational structure, and rebuild the dynamic business capabilities. Digital leaders and professionals must be able to think forward, keep digital fit, update the existing rules, processes, or practices, eliminate the outdated “hard or soft” elements of the business, and develop the next digital practices for getting digital ready.

There is so much in the world we do not know nor understand and because of that limitation, we need to choose to continue to think, learn, grow and empower people to learn and grow too. Do not just use too narrow lens to see things with near-sighted vision; Do not steer your business vehicle via watching the rear mirror only. Take a broader outlook to zoom into the future and dive into the breadth and depth of digital new normal. The digital boundary with fluidity is a necessity for responsibility taking, problem-solving and efficiency achieving. And digital is opening the new chapter of innovation.


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