Tag Archives: Bridging business and IT

The Transformational CIO

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, there is a mandate for a new breed of Chief Information Officers (CIO) who can bring and support fundamental change to the organization’s technical, political, and cultural systems.  A transformational CIO helps the management team to develop the vision, gathers support and buy-in from stakeholders, and successfully leads the organization through the transformation.

 

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Bridging the Gap in Mindset

image006image007To be really good at transformation the binders must come off.

These two images capture the ‘from’ and ‘to’ of making the mindset shift into an agile, interoperable organization that is capable of continuous transformation.

Each organization has a greater or lesser degree of each mindset and the reason for the identification and discrete definition of the Transformational Organization Paradigm is to provide a platform for assessing the current mindset of the organization.

Characteristics of pre-millennium thinking that are fast becomming obsolete can be described as ‘Industrial Age’ in nature. The degree to which an organization holds to Industrial Age thinking, methods, organizational structures, practices in management and governance, and leadership techniques indicates how large a gap must be bridged to bring the organization into alignment with new-millennium ways of operating.

Moving from Industrial Age thinking through Information Age tactics to New Millennium ideologies is work each pre-millennium business must approach. The Transformational Organization Paradigm and Framework provide a measurable, repeatable way of doing just that.

In this area of the Transformational Organization Framework, employee demographics, prevalent leadership styles, reward and value characteristics are evaluated against the particular industry, business environment and specific transformational pressures the organization faces.

Before an organization can embrace the kind of agility and inter-operability represented in the second image above a number of dicotomies must be resolved within the day to day work context of the balance of employees from the board and executive team to field staff. Below is an example of these.

Industrial Age to Information Age First

In order to bridge the gap in mindset the organization must also address the divide between the ‘business’ side of the organization and the ‘technology’ side of the organization. So as the organization work to bridge the gap in mindset, it must also work to bridge the divide between ‘business’ and ‘technology’.

The common objective is an aligned stride and cadence of organizational agility – in preparation for the next ‘age’ that is coming into view.

 

A New Industrial Revolution is Coming

Over the past 25 years, the Internet has radically altered the way people communicate and share ideas and the way businesses interact with customers and clients.

For an even longer period, starting in the 1950s with the so-called Third Industrial Revolution, businesses have become more digitized. In the next few decades, a new industrial revolution will combine elements of these two trends, along with related technologies and practices, into a truly “smart” manufacturing process.

This convergence is known as the Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet of Things. Whatever the name, the result will profoundly affect global trade patterns, supply chains and societies. The impact will vary, presenting many opportunities for developed countries to be more disruptive in developing economies and possibly limiting the use of low-end manufacturing for quick modernization and development.

Nonetheless, this Fourth Industrial Revolution will change manufacturing, industry and society.

Read more: https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/smart-factories-next-industrial-revolution#ixzz3cmM7z0Ih

 

TEDTalk

TEDTalk Leadership Leverage for Transformation 2012

Presented at the Transformation Leadership Event September 26th, 2012
TELUS Spark Science Centre, Calgary, Alberta.

Dr. Linda Miller of iMind Transformation talks about transformational leadership and the shifts in thinking required to successfully transform business.

 

Constructive Conflict for Creative Innovation

iMind supports constructive conflict – it is a way to break through norms and addictions to the current state.  Properly applied, this technique removes resistance to change and garners higher levels of commitment to transformative work very quickly. Avoidance is a big barrier to achieving transformation and methodically pursuing the transformative vision. Bringing existing conflicts to the surface, acknowledging them and discovering commonalities as a result, clears a path for transformation to move forward.

See full article…

http://p3edge.com/constructive-conflict-for-creative-innovation/

 

The Well-Placed Voice of IT at the Executive Table – the Power of WE

– By Dr. Linda Miller

Many organizations still see their IT function as non-strategic – lying somewhere on the continuum between order taker and scapegoat.   Business want to give IT some measurements and send them away to construct something that we will tweak here and there for a perfect fit… in denial about the magnitude of the complexity within the IT world and unable to grasp the meaning and value that IT brings to business and its potential as a strategic partner. 

Business and IT are working in the same boat, so why is it so hard for business and IT to capitalize on the power of WE.

As deep and complex as IT is, it offers an almost instant transformative power.  And we as IT practitioners perceive that our work appears to non-IT people as a huge piece of experimental artwork – avant-garde and wildly ungraspable.  This is actually a misconception, but conveying where the balance points of the IT creative process are, as compared to where the balance points of business command and control systems are, continues to be difficult after 50 years of trying.

We as business people are reluctant to give up control to what we instinctively perceive as a force so powerful it could consume all in its path – a justifiable fear, which would explain why real information about business strategy is often left out of conversations with IT.  Until we as business people are ready to have honest and equal fear-free dialogues with them, our IT leaders need to continue to find creative ways to work through the psychology of the situation in order to add their voice to the greater good and health of the business and its people.

As the industrial-age-minded, curmudgeons of “business” wave-away the millennium-entitled- acting-out of adolescent “IT” again and again, forward motion grinds to a halt.  And, having had the unbridled enthusiasm worn out of it in a manner not that far from the way a horse is broken, we as IT people have stopped coming up with brilliant ideas about how we can create something that will blow the socks off our business guardians with its potential – that approach has proven to be career limiting. 

We’ve not been particularly good at knowing how to direct IT potential under industrial-age business paradigms, and IT can overwhelm its audience when talking to business practitioners long-steeped in fixed and finite realms of numbers and calculations.  Most often IT still reports into the CFO as a measure of control that was put in place in the ‘80s and ‘90s to try to rationalize IT costs – but mostly to allow time for we as business people to perceive and carefully embrace and stabilize this explosive power called IT. Since the turn of the millennium, however, a balance of controlled experimentation vs. radical innovation has tipped and business risk has shifted from grappling with unfettered IT spend to dangerously low generation of business innovation.

Expressing this in terms “flow”, we as IT people cannot celebrate stasis and equilibrium with our business comrades because IT is essentially movement – that is, IT represents the movement of the business and amplifies it.  Like fashion, there is no beginning and no ultimate end-state of IT.  There is no destination point.  The point of IT is movement and flux.  So ultimately, how can a conversation between a group that values stasis and a group that is always in flux find success?  When flux is dominant stasis occurs accidentally, when stasis is dominant flux bounces around in a closed system with little productive output… sound familiar?

Metaphors aside, we as IT people have known for some time that the nature of IT is essentially different and opposing to the nature of traditional business.  Having exhausted all avenues of trying to fit in, we as IT people are left wanting for a place to put the overspill of the potential of IT. We have started to look into human connection, interaction, creation and thought for a place to lend the robustness of IT for business benefit.  But before business goes there, we as business people must break down and break through traditional confines that judge results more by ROI than by positioning for the future. Here is where IT shines its best light – and also where the impetus for business transformation is – shifting trajectory to where future success now lies.

So, the place of the voice of IT has become the sum of what it was in the ‘90s – offering solutions to stated business problems and designing couture systems and software to assist the bottom line – plus a “new-millennium” role as illuminating the path business takes to position and reposition itself at the right speed. We as IT people have the rapid-fire-change, transformation-through-uncertainty competency the rest of the organization is looking for.  Building the unified path is a new and daunting piece of work we must approach together.

As we as IT people sigh deeply about digging into the next round with business, weary from decades of repression, we also look to knowledge capital management and business intelligence as playgrounds to exercise within – a chance to take longer strides at least, as we run the perimeter of our cage.

As we as business people sigh deeply about surrendering more control and waiving a white flag to IT, we swallow a chunk of pride and lift our gaze to the human connection part of the business equation as a way to share the burden that comes with the demand for agility – it takes many minds to turn the school of fish in unison.

It’s becoming obvious that IT and business are finding common ground in collaboration enablement, and value network.  For this common ground to be a lasting connection point requires moving conversations about change and transformation away from being expressed in a language of sameness and a celebration of conformity achievement (risk), and toward expressing them in a language of dynamic multi-purposefulness and the intrinsic indeterminacy of the learning journey (reward). That is, sharing the common ground requires a reordering of thought from hierarchies, taxonomies, separateness and self-contained-ness toward group genius and innovation for the sake of innovation, in full knowing that what is created will inevitably benefit the business, it’s a matter of deciding where and how to apply it.

And that is a conversation we can all have.

Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy

Not every emerging technology will alter the business or social landscape—but some truly do have the potential to disrupt the status quo, alter the way people live and work, and rearrange value pools. It is therefore critical that business and policy leaders understand which technologies will matter to them and prepare accordingly.

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/disruptive_technologies

Co-Creation Applied – Are You Ready?

Transformation by Co-Creation

Why would you tap into consumer wisdom before you tap your internal experts for advice about how to transform?

For a number of reasons… not the least of which is that your organization may not be ready for the depth of engagement required to transform. Past attempts to mobilize internal wisdom for innovation may have met with crippling ambivalence, or perhaps the imperative for digging deep enough to bring about transformation lacked clarity or may not have been compelling.

Stated in other terms, engaging your consumers in co-creation activities is in part a strategy for breaking though comfortable competency in the status quo, and the associated beliefs and assumptions held in support of the current organizational paradigm and hard-won past success. Consumer co-creation is a way to acknowledge the reality of the consumers’ increasing ability to influence market trends. Managed co-creation can leverage the commitment of your people to dig deeper and apply their wisdom and expertise in new ways toward transformational objectives.

The practice of co-creation has two primary outcomes:  Seeing Value in a new way, and Creating Space where none existed before.

Your customers are ready to co-create… Are you?

SEEING VALUE

Co-creation efforts are aimed at getting to the heart of your relationship with your customers.  In capturing the essential elements of consumer thinking the organization must move on to seeing the intention and intelligence behind them to begin to define ‘value’ anew.  In every sense of the word, the business’s focus must be shifted to understand the value of the consumer-expressed ideas so that they may be internalized by the leaders and makers of transformation. Only then can the ideas be tested against the current organizational paradigm to see what must change in order to align consumer demand and product/service.  And as importantly, to align consumer-expressed value and the way in which the product/service is delivered.

Once the elements of value are seen and understood they can be used to reshape and reorder; embellish, replace and renew the product/service and the systems, processes and human competencies that support their delivery.

This work is more difficult than it sounds as each level of the organization sees the emerging ‘value’ in a different way and all of the perspectives together form the necessary mix for transformation to occur.  You can start anywhere with co-creation as a practice: with the C-Suite, with the customer, with middle management, with staff.  But for co-creation to yield benefits it must eventually be felt by all of these groups in an aligned way.

 

CREATING SPACE

Ingenuity is a function of pressure, and pressure felt in one corner of the organization but not felt in another will result in little traction. As such, efforts to increase customer engagement through co-creation will fail to translate into ‘transformation’ without a corresponding effort to engage staff in the co-creation journey. Like almost anything else we do to grow business, it is best to take an iterative approach to co-creation, so that internal co-creation informs customer co-creation, which in turn, informs and presses internal co-creators to dig deeper, find a new edge.

With support and management, iterative co-creation work forms a part of an ‘ingenuity engine’ between corporation and customer and, under skilled leadership, ignites a synchronized internal ‘ingenuity engine’ that pumps new thought up and down the organization, continuously opening new space for transformation from staff through middle-management to C-Suite, from C-Suite through middle-management to staff.

 

GETTING READY

Making the internal shifts necessary to spark and sustain co-creation requires a good deal of support.  In-flight translation of consumer-expressed concepts demands the ability to leave behind what feels clear, natural and normal in favor of a murky emerging context that is at once individually owned and shared by all participants: a shared presence in design and development (creation), a shared knowledge generation, and a shared value alignment.

Preparing leaders of transformation and the internal participants in co-creation to take in and bring about understanding of foreign-seeming value expressions and then act upon them a way that creates the space for the value to be realized is the challenge that co-creation presents to the organization. A challenge that, when met, mobilizes the organization to deliver newly defined value in a way that can be readily taken up internally, and capitalizes on the consumer interest generated by co-creation.

 

–          Dr. Linda Miller
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