Welcome to our blog, the digital brainyard to fine tune "Digital Master," innovate leadership, and reimagine the future of IT.

The magic “I” of CIO sparks many imaginations: Chief information officer, chief infrastructure officer , Chief Integration Officer, chief International officer, Chief Inspiration Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Influence Office etc. The future of CIO is entrepreneur driven, situation oriented, value-added,she or he will take many paradoxical roles: both as business strategist and technology visionary,talent master and effective communicator,savvy business enabler and relentless cost cutter, and transform the business into "Digital Master"!

The future of CIO is digital strategist, global thought leader, and talent master: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The New Book “Digital Gaps” Chapter IV Introduction: Digital Capability Gaps

It is crucial to identify and close enterprise capability gaps for achieving the business coherence and improving organizational maturity.
The capability is the ability to do something and achieve certain outcomes in a consistent way. The corporate capability is the collective ability to implement strategy, innovation and make changes. The organization’s capabilities can be categorized into both competitive necessity and competitive uniqueness. Statistically, the capability-based strategy has much higher success rate than the other style of strategy crafting. Capability gap is the lack of a capability to build business competency or managing changes. Hence, it is critical to identify and close business capability gaps and build organizational competencies for achieving strategic business goals.  


Bridging effectiveness gaps: Doing the wrong things differently isn’t transformation. There are a number of challenges common in transformation programs, such as getting the right strategies, execution, great leadership to drive changes, and a broader view of consumer demand, etc. Either change or more radical business transformation are to solve the problem small or large. Effectiveness is about doing the right things. Doing the wrong things differently isn’t transformation. That is the importance of good transformation practice within a motivated change culture oriented to the right work for the right reasons. A solution is nothing if the problem is not perceived accurately. Therefore, creating the awareness of the problem is the first step to making a solution being understood and accepted. Digital transformation starts with the realization of the gaps where you currently no longer can deliver the business objective and vision of success for your company and shareholders. Determining what the future needs to look like, and what the transformation must look like is the next step. There are many pitfalls on the way for digital transformation, hence, it’s important to bridge the effectiveness gap. First things first, frame the right questions before answering them, ensure doing the right things before doing things right.


Bridging the gaps between capability and process: view Capability and process are two viewpoints of an organization. An organization has the capability to deliver outcomes, an organization executes processes to deliver an output of the organization, leverage people, process, and technology to achieve business goals. Capability view is for the strategic re-think of “What,” and the process view is about the executable know “How.” A process view will cause stakeholders to limit their thinking to process deficiencies, and not consider the other resources inherent in exercising the process; by leveraging capability view, they readily consider service, people, process, information, asset, etc, dimensions of the adequacy of the capability to fulfill their business strategy. Capability provides a level of abstraction that allows more open consideration. Capabilities are WHAT abilities/competencies an organization has/needs. Process are HOW an organization does something. Both capability and process view are useful in managing business transformation, which to use depends on the purpose you have in mind. A process view gets into technical details, and capability view of the enterprise helps businesses identify “actuality, capability, and potentiality,” build competency and improve the overall business maturity.


Closing the learning capability gap: Learning becomes the knowledge builder and we can define learning through the information it absorbs and the capability it builds. Learning is a process and everyone has an enormous capacity to learn. Limitations on learning are barriers invented by humans to create gaps which stifle changes and innovation. In the digital era, the knowledge life cycle is significantly shortened, digital workforce today has to learn and relearn all the time, and then apply those lessons to succeed in new situations, and a collective learning capability is a strategic imperative the company’s long-term success. Learning becomes knowledge builder and we can define learning through the information it absorbs and capability it builds. It is important to cultivate the learning culture that has awareness and understanding the importance of learning in order to bridge the learning capability gaps and build a high-innovative and high-mature digital organization. From a management perspective, to bridge the learning capability gap, it is also imperative to improve knowledge management which involves the use of technologies and processes with the aim of optimizing the value that is generated and with the goal to improve the organization’s collective learning capabilities and ultimate business competency.

It is crucial to identify and close enterprise capability gap for achieving the business coherence and improving organizational maturity. A cohesive set of business capabilities builds into the business competency. And a core business competency is a deep proficiency that enables a company to deliver unique value to customers, engage employees, out beat competitors, and achieve high-performance business results.

CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: Setting Principles to Manage an Innovation Capability Portfolio

 Innovation should start from a deep research of people’s concerns, needs, and frustrations.

Generally speaking, innovation is to transform novel ideas and achieve their business values. It is not a serendipity, but a discipline and a systematic approach with a set of practices to achieve business goals. Innovation helps to tackle the complexities of business dynamic in the digital ecosystem. Nowadays, innovation is no longer “nice to have,” but “must have” differentiated capability to stand out from the competitions. Capabilities are typically expressed in general and high-level terms and typically require a combination of people, processes, and technology to achieve. So how to set well-defined digital PRINCIPLE to manage a healthy innovation capability portfolio and drive a successful digital transformation.


Do not ignore any specific types of innovation: Without innovation, organizations cannot thrive for the long term. Managing a healthy innovation portfolio should be integrated with the annual strategic planning process and financial investment model. The size and mix of the innovation project portfolio depend on the business circumstances, strategic objectives and severity of external challenges or changes. Generally speaking, all businesses should have a handful of "bets" in the breakthrough category. What's important when developing the mix is to strike the right balance of quick wins and long-term winning proposition; the radical breakthrough and the evolutionary changes. There are “hard” innovations such as product/service/business model innovations, as well as “soft” innovations such as management/culture/communication innovations. A high mature digital organization can handle innovation streams for different purposes and with different time frames. Due to the increasing pace of changes, innovation can happen anywhere across the organization and its ecosystem. If you do not innovate, your competitors will and make your current successful products obsolete. Innovation is the mechanism through which you grow and evolve something to something better (higher value-add) or something new, mostly based on a combination or modification of previous attributes/approaches. The evolution of innovation only exists in the more open environments that create insights, take advantage of all sources of creativity in a more open way and leap innovation management to the next level.


Accept risks for potential reward: The risk is part of innovation, but you can manage parts of these risks. Innovation by its inherent nature comes with a risk. The failure is of crucial importance in the process of achieving innovation. People learn far deeper and more enduring lessons from significant failures than from anything else. These lessons will increase the effectiveness of your next innovation practices and therefore probably increase your chances of meeting your objectives on your next attempt. Accept risk for potential reward for innovation management. However, from finance management perspective, set the discipline, consider what capital you are prepared to risk in making the innovation, do not let this be so much that losing it will cripple your business. Hence, the best judgment, a qualitative approach is given for managing innovation risks and improving innovation success rate.

Make innovation benefit the widest possible audience within your organization: Innovation is the means to the end, it should either benefit your customers or your employees. Innovation, as an individual process or collective process, helps us adapt, improve, grow and integrate. Lots of tools are available to help us think differently, assess problems and come to solutions in novel ways. When looking at business/organizations, the most powerful of these processes involves tapping the organization's ecosystem (people-centricity) for the collective perspectives/insights of those who make up and know intimately their parts of the system. Being innovative is our gift as humans, with a great deal of what defines us as humans actually, whether new products, services, solutions, new sounds and music, new way of reading and publishing, new ways of educating future of generation, etc It is about incorporating entrepreneurial and startup principles, with a focus on reducing risk adversity to add value to the quality of people’s lives.


Don’t sacrifice the long-term viability of the portfolio for short-term rewards: Innovation can happen everywhere -disruptive innovation, evolutionary innovation, and incremental innovation because technology is changing constantly. In dynamic environments, there must be a capacity to respond to new and emerging opportunities and to create new opportunities. Though both quick win and long-term return on investment for innovation are crucial, do not sacrifice the long-term viability of the portfolio for only short-term rewards, maintains a balance between exploration and exploitation. It is important to manage the innovation life cycle with speed. It’s about how to get all the way around the world, to capture all relevant information, to see from different angles. Disruptive innovations may be considered as drivers for emerging digital strategies with the goal to build the long-term competency of the organization.


Last but not least: being innovative is a state of mind, which is more important than doing any type of innovation:

Just as we find energy is released from one steady state to another, we find innovation from our outer realities attempts to change to the steady state of our inner self. This energy is called being innovative - as a state of mind. There is an emotion life cycle in an innovation! The kind of emotions within a person that triggers an improvement/creativity process can be numerous and most likely will be a combination of emotions. Real change and creativity are deprogramming old mindsets, letting go of outdated traditions or the voices from the past, reprogramming collective minds with new values, norms, and attitudes. Innovators need to rise above the status quo and take on a new set of activities that have them involved in the strategy development process from the get-go. Being able to engage in the successful creation of innovations is a very hard work and does include a lot of thinking, observation, inquiries, unusual connections, experimenting, skills, and abilities as well as practices and theories. Innovation should start from a deep research of people’s concerns, needs, and frustrations. Innovation requires thinking beyond, as opposed to outside the box, altering or changing the frame of reference to create previously unconsidered solutions. Innovation is about thinking differently, acting differently, delivering differently, adding value differently from the status quo.
Digitalization stipulates companies work together in a hyper-connected and continuously converging environment that provides structural analysis and a certain extent of serendipity. This is about understanding the wholeness. Digital means flow, there is more flow of creative ideas, the better opportunities to reap the benefit from innovation management. Set principles, and take a holistic approach to manage a healthy innovation capability portfolio.




Sunday, March 26, 2017

The New Book “DIgital Gap” Chapter 3 Introduction: Digital Management Gaps

The very characteristics of digitalization are hyper-connectivity, hyper-complexity, and interdependence; with the exponential growth of information and fast-paced of changes.

Most organizations at the industrial age have been operated with classic management discipline, which is based on a tacit assumption that organizations can be compared to machines as a mechanical system. They are based on silo functions and divide-and-conquer methodologies which are promoted both in organizational design as well as task responsibility or accountability distribution. Nowadays, businesses are steadily moving into the digital era with characteristics of hyper-connectivity and interdependence, how to close the gap between classic management and digital management in order to improve business effectiveness and maturity?


Bridging strategy-operation management gap: Strategic management as a long-term planning requires a vision. In other words, a company needs to define which it wants to be with a clear vision and how they want to get there, and then operational management will translate the long-term plans into smaller scale plans to operationalize the move toward the vision. Generally speaking, strategy management takes a holistic view, and operational management takes an interval view. Operational management could be viewing things from a single side internally while strategic management is a holistic view of things both internally and externally as the way of coming up with actions that will improve organizational performance and conformance in order to achieve the set goals. Strategic management is concerned with establishing “where” the organization competes and “how” it chooses to compete and capture the market share; Operation Management, on the other hand, is concerned with a specific aspect of how such as the roles, process & procedure used to make decisions, and measurement, etc. They are complementary management approach to achieve digital management continuum.


Bridging IT-business gap: There are nature frictions between different functions of the organization, especially between business and IT. IT doesn’t exist to do everything it is asked, nor does it exist to implement without business justification. It is there to manage a scarce and expensive resource for the business, doing its best to see that the application of IT brings the best business results possible. However, often there is typically a significant gap between what the business wants and needs vs what IT is providing. The result is usually a lot of churns until they get it right. The bottom line is, for any company to succeed, it is essential for the entire company to be pulling in the right direction. IT is integral to the business. IT and the business need to develop a true partnership and work to pursue the desired outcome via bridging the multitude of gaps such as communication gaps, collaboration gaps, skill gaps, and performance measurement gaps, etc.

Bridging innovation management gaps: Although innovation is listed at the top of every forward-looking organization’s agenda, there are both idea gap and execution gap existing in innovation management. Innovation is not serendipity, but a systematic process to transform novel ideas and achieve their business values. It requires a much deeper whole system with emergent, generative, iterative, and integrative approach. It requires much more time, energy, passion, courage, experimentation, retreat, and reflection to get clear and focused on the innovative idea, business model, process or solution. It is also critical to pulling the resources to build an innovation nurturing working environment which can encourage talented people to develop their creativity, with the freedom to try and even to fail. Innovation management takes cohesive steps of minding the gaps, accelerating strategy execution and make a leap of the digital organization.

The very characteristics of digitalization are hyper-connectivity, hyper-complexity, and interdependence; with the exponential growth of information and fast-paced of changes. The traditional management practices are often just not fit enough for speeding up and toning the business capability to respond to the opportunities and risks, due the multiple gaps existing between functions and underlying processes; the management styles and the outdated “best practices,” they apply. It is imperative to close the modern management gaps, harness communication and collaboration, and improve organizational agility, effectiveness, and maturity.

The Interdisciplinary Approach to Digital Transformation


The organizational digitalization is surely a transformation journey, as it has to permeate into business vision, strategy, culture, and communication, processes. etc.

Compared to changes, the transformation is more radical, digital transformation is not just about experimenting the latest digital technologies or playing the fancy digital gadgets. You have to optimize the underlying functions, processes as well as fine-tune soft business elements and expand changes to all directions; you have to take an interdisciplinary approach and collective leadership to manage a digital transformation successfully.


Managing digital transformation takes multidisciplinary approach: The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. But dealing with the significant challenge of digital transformation requires accelerated digital mindsets, leveraging multidisciplinary knowledge and insight, taking an end-to-end response and a structural approach. It involves applied science (Engineering), art (Design), principle (Philosophy), cognition (Psychology), social norms (Culture) and group behavior (Sociology). Overall speaking, trans or interdisciplinary science can be applied to digital management with integrating multidisciplinary methodology, it enables digital leaders and professional to frame bigger thinking boxes, to work not just within the box, but across the multiple boxes, and approach problems via multi-faceted way, technically, scientifically, philosophically, psychologically, and sociologically. The solutions will most probably cover standard aspects such as culture/behavior change, support resources for the design/build/ implementation of the change (what mix of internal/external resources /capabilities), planning and control etc. but also very specific technical/functional/system aspects.


Digital ecosystem is just like the nature ecosystem, with the full spectrum of lights, and keep the dynamic balance of order and chaos: Classical science defined an ecosystem in terms of the multiple parts of a system while systems science defines it based on multiple interactions with the environment and the interactions among parts within the viewed system. All artistic, scientific, philosophical knowledge of mankind are inspired by nature. Just like the nature ecosystem has provided the impetus to her evolutionary agenda of human mind and consciousness. Digital businesses and their people learn through their interactions with the environment, they act, observe the consequences of their action, make inferences about those consequences, and draw implications for future action. The process is adaptively rational, it has to strike the balance of ‘keeping the order,’ and sparking the innovation. The dynamic digital ecosystem can be perceived through the lenses of sociology, psychology, the economics of education, the anthropology of cultures, economics, organizational and communication sciences, poetical science, STEAM, and so on. In the similar processes, poets, artists, scientists, philosophers also tread on their path of the quest to understand the symbolic language of nature contributing to the evolutionary processes. The interdisciplinary business insight should lead us not only understanding, but also predicting; not just managing problems, but also pursuing solutions and purpose seeking, as a mode of thinking and action.


Digital transformation reflects the holism theme: Digital transformation is like to paint the picture which needs many colors; it is also like to orchestrate a symphony which takes many instruments, and it surely takes multidisciplinary knowledge and understanding for leapfrogging. Because for every need, provisions are there, for every problem, solutions are there, for every scientific development, resources are there, but to be discovered, applying human intelligence and through the process of discovering, human mind and consciousness will expand and evolve. Digital organizations and systems have the characteristics of non-linearity, adaptability, unrepeatability, unpredictability and denial of control. So, with such digital paradigm shift, knowledge is not less important, but more important, though knowledge alone is not sufficient, the insight is the most wanted vision to see the world in the holistic and intimate way, with artistic touches and scientific disciplines. To engage and function in such dynamic environments, it requires fundamentally different mindsets and paradigms such as accepting that influence is attainable, but control is not. It is important to understand the philosophy, psychology, and technology behind the digital transformation. The challenge is to move from the individual level to the system level. In other words, in order to enable systematic macro change, you needs to apply methods and techniques deriving from social sciences, political sciences, statistics, economy, and so on, according to the principles of scientific and empiric inquiry. The need of the time is to design the institutions and societies to be a well-balanced digital ecosystem with the abundance of energy and sustainable advantages.  


Organizations’ digitalization is surely a transformation journey, as it has to permeate into business vision, strategy, culture, and communication, processes. etc. Understanding that digital business development is multifaceted. You can't expect an individual to fully develop such broad-based concepts, it takes the team effort, and more importantly, team coordination. It is the transformation that is reshaping our thinking and recasting the way we view ourselves, the systems of which we are the part of the environments in which we live, and the way we think and solve problems. It is the paradigm shift which takes a multidisciplinary approach.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

The New Book “Digital Gaps” Chapter 2 Introduction: Digital Leadership Gaps

The key to the organizational success is to integrate next generation of leaders, tap into their way of looking at the world, solving problems in a very creative and collaborative style.

Digital means hyperconnectivity, fierce competition, and “VUCA” digital normality. Successful companies need to keep growing and innovating, and developing the next generation of leadership is one of the best ways to do that. The variety of management studies shows that there are significant leadership gaps for both innovation management and management innovation, as well as the radical digital transformation. The traditional cookie-cutting matching leadership development approach more possibly lands a homogeneous follower, cannot discover an authentic leader. And traditional talent pool is too static, limited and not dynamic enough to select authentic, creative, and energetic digital leaders who can lead more effectively in today’s complex global business environment. The change needs to come from the top to amplify its influence. If you are not taking steps now to shrink that leadership gaps, you will not be prepared to lead the digital business in the future. But more specifically, how to identify and close digital leadership gaps in order to improve leadership effectiveness and maturity?


The gaps between leadership and management: A fundamental purpose of leadership is to provide vision and empower change while a fundamental goal of a manager is to oversee the tasks and execution. Great leaders inspire people to think broader for catching the holistic picture and to think deeper to understand things underneath the surface. They invite debates and challenges from employees for innovative ideas. Whereas, the managers merely administer and execute the assigned functions with an aim to achieve targeted results. Great leaders not only have great vision, but are realistic towards making it happen, and have a great manager to complement the execution process. The primary role of leadership is about creating change while the primary objective for management is creating order. Challenging beliefs, ideas, and strategies along with accepted ways of doing things are all hallmarks of leadership. Being a leader can on occasion feel isolating, however, by following your instinct, you will more often than not turn the situation around and produce a positive outcome. A great manager does need to lead “at times,” and a great leader does need to manage “at times,” however, at the very core, great managers, and great leaders are both critical to every organization and we should respect both of the roles which are often interdependent, with complementary mindsets and skill sets.


The trust gaps: The progressive business relationship and society are built on mutual trust and respect, not power and status quo. This is particularly important at the dawn of digital age because the business and the entire world become so hyperconnected and interdependent. However, many organizations are still running in a command and control mode and live in the silo working environment lack of trust. One thing that is true, fear and anger operate on the lowest level and can do little more than creating orders in the short term but often make damages for the long-run. Trust is not straightforward, but multifaceted. When leaders realize that if you want to achieve greatness in your realm, you will have to touch the upper levels -the mind and the heart, thus eliminating fear, anger, or other negative emotions. In order to close the trust gap, continue to see the importance of dealing with blind spots by learning how to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. Leadership mindset and behavior have been found to be the most influential elements in building trust. Trust starts with oneself, the mind, and grows outward to the people and the environment, just like changes. Mutual trust is that linchpin without which leadership is hollow and ineffective.


The vision gaps: Top leadership roles are supposed to be the guiding force in the enterprise, envisioning and leading the business towards its future. Closing the vision gap is in fact to close the leadership authenticity gap. Leadership is about the future and change, innovation and progress which are all based on the clear vision and profound insight. The best vision is insight, and the most wanted vision is foresight. The vision thing is, in fact, the precious leadership trait to bridge the industrial age and the digital era, the local and global understanding. A visionary leader changes the course of the business by seeing beyond what all others see or by charting new revenue or growth through the creation of new products, services, business models or market share, etc. And C-level executives need to be the visionary, because vision is an integral part of the leadership or directorial role. The essence of leadership is to guide directions via removing the obstacles or breaking down the outdated things either hard or soft, visible or invisible, in order to lead forward. Vision doesn’t have to be exclusive or externally focused. In most cases, it must be a shared and collaborative vision.

There is no one generic set of leadership skills. Effective leadership differs by level, the type of organization, the stage of organizational evolution, the mindset of stakeholders, the complexity of the business, the national and political culture, and many other dynamics. In order to mind the gaps, the leadership principles should be abstracted and highlighted, the criteria need to be refined and clarified, and the leadership development has to be re-tuned and integrated with all other policies and procedures. The key to the organizational success is to integrate next generation of leaders, tap into their way of looking at the world, solving problems in a very creative and collaborative working style, to drive the successful digital transformation effortlessly.

The Capability-Based Digital Transformation

The digital capability is modular, dynamic and nonlinear, having many visible and invisible business elements, for improving organizational competency and enabling business strategy. 

Digitization opens a new door and connects within department silos, across the walls, across the streets, across the seas, and across the planet. When things connect in this way, any organization wishing to negotiate a successful journey has to understand what the implications of this degree of connectivity mean to them and which impact could digital make for leapfrogging of their business. From an ecological perspective, in order for an organization to be sustainable, it must be compatible with its environment. The enterprise is structurally coupled to that larger environment, such that the enterprise and its environment influence each other. The enterprise should build a set of fundamental and differentiated capabilities to make a seamless digital transformation.




Building a set of digital capabilities is the preparatory steps in Digital Strategy Management:  Now, for various reasons such as VUCA factors (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity), both the organization and the environment change over time and change is a given. This is the new normal of the digital era, within this context; the organization must stay compatible and evolve in a compatible manner with its environment, the basic business functionality for the business’s survival is no longer sufficient for building a sustainable digital organization. In fact, there may be many elements of digital capabilities that are foundational to almost any foreseeable digital strategy so implementing them could be viewed as a valid preparatory first step in readiness for a strategic opportunity when it is recognized. The operational capabilities keep the lights on, but the differentiated capabilities enable the radical business changes and digital transformation. The focus is on why companies focus on evolution (perhaps, digitally-enabled extensions of existing operational capabilities) vs. disruption (tear up the road map.) It's tough to plan for disruption because what's disruptive is inherently unexpected. It's very much like positioning yourself for playing a game. You can get caught playing for one move when your opponent makes a different one. Thus, to prepare for the unprepared circumstances, organizations need to learn how to craft digital capabilities which are more dynamic, nonlinear, and have the recombinant nature- built to change, with the goal to lead a capability-based digital transformation smoothly.
Creative collaboration via integrative diversity can overcome silos and amplify the collective digital capability: There is a key difference between digital and industrial organizations. In industrial organizations, the structure is rigid and hard to change, and traditional management style is top-down and bureaucratic. Hence, the business capabilities in those traditional organizations are often static, linear, built to last, are difficult to tune up for improving its maturity. In a digital business environment where change is constantly happening, that handicaps the organization, the emerging digital organizations should leverage digital technologies and tools in enforcing holistic thinking, cross-functional collaboration and dynamic processes management to design, build, scale, and optimize business capabilities continuously and systematically. The business is always on with the new characteristics such as hyper-connectivity, hyper-competition, and hyper-complexity. The least effective culture at fostering a digital workplace is traditional command and control environments. Digital technology is enabling a change in the workforce and how people work. Fostering collaboration is the key to creating a seamless organization when in pursuit of the digital capability-based strategy. Consequently, an organization can try to make its environment friendlier in order to meet the strategies that it sees fit.


The digital capability is also about optimizing complexity, and improving business maturity: The digital world is seen from an 'outside-in,' whole-of-extended-enterprise perspective. The digital ecosystem expands when the business community broadens its scope and consumes all sorts of resources. A digital organization is an organic system. It will be organized as an organic system, with cells that have a function, an infrastructure for input and output and for signaling, a “brain” to process information, generate ideas, and make decisions. It keeps changing and growing. Change can be an opportunity, but at the end of the day, it needs to be all about moving the business numbers upwards and taking the logical steps for achieving calculable results. Therefore, the digital capability they should craft is about adapting, optimizing, innovating, and improving business maturity. Although living in the digital sea, you have to change with the "tide," but you also have to follow the well-defined principles which would guide you in decisions and how you relate to others, with which speed can you swim in the uncharted water, what capabilities help you survive and thrive, and how to laser focus on the destination without getting lost. To put simply, organizations have to proactively craft a set of capabilities and build the core business competency. Alternatively, you can choose a conservative position that should allow you to react and respond to a number of different moves and still get beaten. So if the organization can actively influence its environment, it means that it can actively promote in its environment contains dynamics/realities and attenuates others.

The digital capability is modular, dynamic and nonlinear, having many visible and invisible business elements, for improving organizational competency and enabling business strategy. The right set of scalable, coherent and impactful capabilities directly contribute to the business maturity and success for both gaining the short term benefits and the long-term winning proposition.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The New Book “Digital Gaps” Chapter 1 Introduction: Cognitive Gaps


Today’s digital organizations simply just can’t stand still. Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge.

Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge through thoughts, experiences, and senses. It is a perception, sensation, and insight. People are different, not because we look differently, but because we think differently. Cognitive gaps enlarge problem-solving gaps because it will cause the blind spots for either defining the real problem or solving it. Cognitive gaps cause innovation gaps which disconnect many things that are supposed to be interconnected, it becomes the barrier for connecting the dots to stimulate creativity. There is the multitude of perspectives on the cognitive gaps, as well as how to close them.


Critical thinking gap: Critical thinking is the mental process of conceptualizing, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach conclusion. Critical thinking is looking beyond the surface, not just accepting things at face value but asking questions and being active in your thought process. There are critical thinking gaps existing which cause leadership blind spots and poor decision-making. Because we all have a cognitive bias, it is no surprise to create the thinking gaps by imperfect people using imperfect processes via the narrow lenses. There are education gaps as well because there are very few real critical thinkers, critical thinking technique can be taught, but critical thinking capability can only be developed via practicing independent thinking, insightful observation, conscious and superconscious reasoning. The real critical thinking even has creativity embedded deeply in the thought processes, it has the ability to catch the trends and discover hidden connections. Hence, either organizations or education institutes today need to promote critical thinking, curiosity, and mental agility. They should recognize and appreciate the real critical thinkers who can fill the management blind spots or fill cognitive gaps in order to make the leap of digital transformation more confidently.


Understanding gap: Climbing knowledge-insight-wisdom pyramid is an important step in gaining understanding in a profound way. It requires a person’s ability to grasp or comprehend information. Too often assumptions and prejudices get in the way of understanding. Ironically, we probably all learned as kids: “Don’t judge the book by its cover,” but unfortunately, we do live in an increasingly “profiled” world that does judge a book by its cover. Hence, some say the understanding gap is even enlarged because each individual evolves into the “VUCA” digital normal at the different pace. Hence, it is the responsibility of each individual to examine themselves and make sure they are open to true understanding. It is unfortunate when we become so narrow in our view that we have to put others down, that is not understanding, this is not knowledge, this is ego. To close the understanding gap, we have to really dig beneath the superficial layer, see around the corner and transcend the interdisciplinary knowledge to get to the heart of the matter, be critical and creative at the same time, to dig into the root cause and solve the problem for advancing the business and our society.


Perception gap: Perception is one’s interpretation of the reality. It is the way one’s eyes see the surrounding and one’s mind interprets it. No two person’s realities will be totally identical at the giving time, out perception is, in turn, an interpretation based on our own conditioning, insight, or surroundings, leading us to make the judgment. People’s perception reflects who they are and which lens they apply to make the judgment of others. When we are “mindful,” we not only see but also perceive; we not only live but experience; this will have an effect on others and how we interact with the surrounding. One’s perception matters because it affects on how we are going to respond to “What happened,” and which influence we would make to the surrounds. So, the positive mind often has more positive thinking about the environment, but the out-of-date perception is like the time glue that keeps you still while the rest of the world moves on which creates another problem-resentment and more negative thinking and emotion. Often the conventional wisdom or stereotyping leads to those outdated perceptions which stifle the human progress, even drag down the progress being made. To close the perception gap, the mind needs to be open enough to embrace other minds’ perception as well, to always understand things via different angles. We should all sow the positive thoughts and creativity seeds to bridge perception gaps and make the leap of the digital transformation.

Due to the hyperconnected and over-complex nature of the digital era, it is time to fill multiple cognitive gaps and think more profoundly. There is no magical “thinking sauce” to make one’s mind profound, or leadership effective, you have to practice, practice, and practice more, to cultivate a healthy thinking habit, think positively, think broadly, think deeply, and thinking wisely.

The Multifaceted Aspects of IT Management Dashboard

A dashboard is a tool to visualize and show the metrics of the values and the effectiveness of the measured department (IT), or the measured activity produces.

A Dashboard is a support decision instrument, gives instantaneous information about the organization's main drivers. In other words, it is a tool which is a part of a management system. The feature of the dashboard is to display information that can be customized and categorized to meet a user’s specific needs. Here are the multifaceted aspects of the IT management dashboard.


Well selected metrics and performance measure data: Selecting the right key performance indicator is one of the most important steps in measurement because this process includes to answering why you are choosing that, how you will use them and whether you have enough resources to manage information. Always attempt to identify areas in which measurable improvements can be realized, providing demonstrable value is essential. Even if you choose the right KPIs, you must change them from time to time accordingly. Otherwise, your business is going to be driven by that specific set of KPI. You are going to focus on them only, but ignoring the bigger picture of the dynamic business. Ensure that IT performance measures are both qualitative and quantitative, and implement whatever mechanisms you need to be able to gather the data. Selecting the right metrics is critical from performance management perspective as well. There’re always two sides of measurement. The measures to motivate teams to achieve more and the measures to distract management from the ultimate business goals. KPIs and the associated metrics drive priorities and behaviors. Therefore, KPI setting should focus on achieving the ultimate goals of business as a whole.


Top accomplishments for strategy execution: Performances are not just numbers with metrics, they are numbers in context, results related to your strategic goals. Measure IT performance through the benchmark which can reflect the multidimensional value of IT to the business, not only for the bottom line but also for the top line growth. IT Metrics have to evolve from being a cost center to becoming a revenue generator.  This is an important step to building IT reputation as a strategic business partner. As for success metrics, either new or old, for success will be predicated on the strategy and sourcing model. However, the problem is that the IT folks tend to see value in things that aren't as important to the business. KPIs for IT need to be defined in keeping the view of the corporate objectives and put into a mix of other KPIs. One of the other biggest pitfalls for performance measurement is measuring the “part” with ignorance of the “whole.” In other words, what are the organization's rewards and recognition structure perpetuating? The problem stems from the way outcomes are being measured. When the collective outcome is the focus, the silo walls collapse. When individual and departmental outcomes are measured, the walls go up. So the performance measurement should ensure the business as the whole is superior to the sum of pieces, also make sure IT and business are always on the same page.


IT Departmental P&L: Running IT as the business with a clear P&L. Build an intuitive dashboard to monitor the performance. It is a very good idea to make IT metrics transparent to the other departments, to visualize the progress and also to evaluate if the KPIs being used are the same as the ones they use to describe IT activity. Every new technology adopted must facilitate the business but also bring down the incremental cost of growth and the time to market. That should be the true metric for IT to demonstrate its P&L, as well as how it impacts the business growth. Another sign of a poorly run IT department is the way in which the business leaders choose to measure them. If their targets and measures are focused purely on controlling the cost of IT, then the group has failed to show the business value that IT brings. This can lead to a lack of trust from the business towards IT and a continuous questioning of "what are you doing?”  IT metrics need to evolve to something that matters to the business audience, at the same time that "business sentiment" needs to get put into something more tangible, such as optimizing processes or improving productivity.


Employee Turnover/ Attrition percentage: People are still the most expensive cost for either running IT or the entire business. When employee turnover or attrition percentage is high, IT performance will suffer. Thus, the values ROI delivers in talent management must be a subset of the organization’s own measure of created business value.  Once you've defined those clearly in the context of your organization that should give you the critical factors you can measure progress on. Take a look at what is important to your business’s long-term growth strategy, and figure out which metric to use. The best IT team should always have well-mixed strengths, skills, capability, and experience. Too much short-term focus in perceived "benefits" (shorter time to fill the vacancy, lower total compensation, etc.) could be very problematic over the long haul. The one way to find out that the performance measurement setting is ineffective is by looking at the behavior and culture the KPI is driving. The goal of well-selected metrics and effective measurement should help align performance management, talent management, and culture management to achieve the high-performance result and maximize its full potential.


Key challenges and relevant information: Dashboards are supposed to be objective. Services provided by IT are critical to efficiency and quality of operations of a corporation. Hence, it needs to be monitored and measured objectively, that it continues to perform optimally. A simple dashboard with a few basic instruments is helpful and illuminating. Because the trick is that the more information you expect to include in your first launch of a dashboard, the more you risk, both in terms of delayed implementation and in terms of loss of buy-in from stakeholders if the data quality is low. The key to success is focusing on business-critical information at the start and not getting bogged down in the 'collect everything you can count' trap. The purpose of measures is to focus on improving overall IT capabilities and maturity.

A dashboard is a tool to visualize and show the metrics of the values and the effectiveness of the measured department (IT), or the measured activity produces. The dashboard is also a good tool to provide input to the decision maker and help create a degree of abstractness in presentations that enables executives to have their saying in a meeting or make an effective decision. The dashboard is an effective method to show IT value, furthermore, encourage the IT departments to create their own marketing plan for dealing with their different 'customers inside and outside of the organization.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 3/23/ 2017

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.8 million page views with 3600+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Here is the weekly insight about digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.


  
The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 3/23/2017
  • The New Book Introduction: “Digital Gaps: Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive BusinessWe are at the age of digital dawn; hyper-connectivity is one of the most critical digital characteristics which make the business holistic and the world smaller. Digitalization implies the full-scale changes in the way business is conducted so that simply adopting a new digital technology is insufficient. You have to transform the company's underlying functions and organization as a whole with adjusted digital speed. Otherwise, companies may begin a decline from its previous good performance. However, many business managers today still apply old silo management mindsets to new ways of leading changes, create the multitude of gaps blocking the way of the radical digital transformation. Being divided by so many chasms across leadership, management, and innovation, etc., organizations lose their collaborative advantage as they are being over managed and under led, remain disconnected, hoard knowledge, decrease effectiveness, and do not have the competence to collaborate in the long term.


  • How to Set Right Priorities for IT Digital transformation: With increasing speed of changes and overwhelming growth of information, IT can no longer keep static to run as a support function only. Today's IT plays a more crucial role in discovering a path to strategy building, implementation, and innovation. Business/IT leaders should also realize the breakthrough success in digital businesses requires not only forward-thinking strategies but also having a step-wise approach. But more specifically, how to set the right priorities for making a digital transformation of the company?


  • A Philosophical Digital Board The shift to digital cuts across sectors, geographies and leadership roles. The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. In fact, Digital Era opens the new chapter of human progress; and philosophy is the compass of human civilization. Digital philosophy is simply in pursuit of a holistic understanding of the hyperconnected digital business world and discovering the better way to do things. The function of the corporate board, as the top leadership team and governance body, should like the digital compass to steer the business towards the right direction. So, how can BoDs apply philosophical digital principles to lead changes, and drive business transformation seamlessly?


  • The Ecosystem View of Business Capability Building and Digital Transformation Digital transformation is the paradigm shift. Adopting a different paradigm is like changing the glasses and new possibilities continue to emerge. Those who look through the lens of the previous industrial era see their own reality very differently from those who leverage the lens that the new era has crafted. Due to the hyperconnected digital reality, you have to gain the interdisciplinary understanding via the multitude of dimensions (socio-cultural, socio-technical, socio-economic, organizational, scientific, philosophical, the psychological, the artistic, etc), and to catalyze changes and accelerate digitalization, you have to embrace the holistic ecosystem view of capability building and digital transformation.   


  • Running Digital IT with Triple-Speed Traditional IT organizations are often perceived as the controller which is slow to change and gets stuck in the lower level of maturity, as a reactive order taker. The type of speed issues in these IT organizations come from gaps created between IT and the rest of the company and IT leadership focus - being transactional or transformational? With the exponential growth of information and increasing pace of changes, IT simply cannot sit still, it has to adapt to changes with the multitude of speed, run, grow, and transformation accordingly. IT effects in radical digital to reach digital premium is to become the business solutionary and change agent for driving digital transformation proactively and achieving the ultimate goal of building a high-responsive, high-effective, and high-performance digital organization.  

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The New Book Introduction:"Digital Gap: Closing Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Digital Businesses"

Today’s digital organizations simply just can’t stand still. Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge.


We are at the age of digital dawn; hyper-connectivity is one of the most critical digital characteristics which make the business holistic and the world smaller. Digitalization implies the full-scale changes in the way business is conducted so that simply adopting a new digital technology is insufficient. You have to transform the company's underlying functions and organization as a whole with adjusted digital speed. Otherwise, companies may begin a decline from its previous good performance. However, many business managers today still apply old silo management mindsets to new ways of leading changes, create the multitude of gaps blocking the way of the radical digital transformation. Being divided by so many chasms across leadership, management, and innovation, etc., organizations lose their collaborative advantage as they are being over managed and under led, remain disconnected, hoard knowledge, decrease effectiveness, and do not have the competence to collaborate in the long term.


Digital Gaps -Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Business” is a guide book to help digital leaders and professionals today identify, analyze, and mind multiple gaps with multidisciplinary insight and holistic understanding. Today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still. Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge and a step-wise approach to making a leap of digital transformation.


Chapter 1: Cognitive gaps: Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge through thought, experience, and senses. The "mind" represents our consciousness and awareness. Cognition is a perception, sensation, and insight. People are different, not because we look differently, but because we think differently. Bridging cognitive gaps is about minding creativity gap, problem-solving gap, and insight gap.


Chapter 2: Leadership gaps: There are many multinational companies around, but very few global companies; and there are many multinational business executives, but very few truly global leaders. Digital leadership gaps are a reality, not fiction. Competition at the leading edge of business is fierce at the age of digitalization and globalization. if you are not taking steps now to shrink that leadership gaps, you will not be prepared to lead the digital business in the future. Successful companies need to grow and innovate, investing in, and developing the next generation of leadership is one of the best ways to do that.


Chapter 3: Management gaps: Traditional management is about applying the reductionistic methodology to achieve business efficiency, and holistic digital management is about leveraging Systems Thinking to ensure the overall health of the business ecosystem. Most organizations at the industrial era operate in the functional silos and digital management focuses on broader collaboration. Hence, it is a strategic imperative to close the gaps between traditional management and digital management in order to enforce cross-functional collaboration and improve business effectiveness and maturity.


Chapter 4: Capability Gaps: A capability is an ability that a person, an organization, or a system possesses to perform and achieve a certain result. The corporate capability is the collective ability to implement strategy, innovation and make changes. The organization’s capabilities can be categorized into both competitive necessity and competitive uniqueness. Forward-looking organizations craft capability-based strategies to ensure the smooth implementation. Therefore, it is critical to identify and close business capability gaps and build organizational competency for reaching the long-term business vision and achieving strategic business goals.

Chapter 5: Professional Gaps: Generally speaking, a professional is an individual with the expertise of some specific area, who earns his or her livings from that expertise. Being professional also means that the individual not only has the skill but also presents the high-quality professionalism such as positive mentality and attitude, fair judgment and good behaviors. A professional is an individual who strives to represent skill and delivers quality. Being a digital professional means consistency. Lack of professional maturity causes a digital professional gap. Being a digital professional inherently and inextricably links with high levels of “professionalism.”

Digitalization does make the world more hyperconnected and interdependent than ever. When things get connected in this way, any entity wishing to negotiate a successful journey has to understand what the implications of this degree of connectivity mean to them. They have to understand what it means within their organization and the business ecosystem. Transformation is a journey rather than a destination. Make the digital transformation journey worth the effort.

"Digital Gaps" B&N Order Link

"Digital Gaps" IBook Order Link

"Digital Gaps" Amazon Order Link

"Digital Gaps" Introduction

"Digital Gaps" Chapter 1 Cognitive Gaps

"Digital Gaps" Chapter 2 Leadership Gaps

"Digital Gaps" Chapter 3 Management Gaps

"Digital Gaps" Chapter 4 Capability Gaps

"Digital Gaps" Chapter 5 Professional Gaps



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