The Strategic Foundation


In my last post, I explored the evolution of business in the industrial age. This Fourth Iteration of Business establishes resilience on a foundation of automation and intelligence. Resilience may be more important than the productivity gains that are sure to be realized as we progress towards Business 4.0, providing the capacity to recover quickly as the pace of shifts accelerates. This visual represents a strategic foundation for Business 4.0.

The Strategic Foundation

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At the Heart of Digital Transformation


Creating a strategic foundation

To transform is to change in form, appearance, structure, condition, nature, or character. It is an overly used word that can be made to fit several narratives. Yet, given its definition, the dynamics of what is sure to be a volatile and complex future should compel us all to transform. I believe however, that the narrative must change. This is not a technology discussion, and it is not a digital discussion (although digital is the reason we are here). Rather, it is discussion of likely structural shifts that alter our beliefs and intuitions. These shifts will fundamentally change the way we think about organizations.

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Machines, Platforms, and Crowds


Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson – Authors of The Second Machine Age – wrote a new book which they launched in the middle of this year. Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future builds upon their first book, exploring three big trends that are reshaping the business world:

  1. The rapidly increasing and expanding capabilities of machines
  1. The large and influential young companies (Platforms) that bear little resemblance to the established incumbents in their industries, yet are deeply disrupting them
  1. The emergence of the crowd: the large amount of human knowledge, expertise, and enthusiasm distributed all over the world and now available

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Transforming for the Digital Age


Digital transformation means different things to different people. As I strive to change mindsets, I am sensitive to these distinct perspectives and the individual filters applied to terms like digital and transformation. In my view, Digital has been more narrow than holistic, while in some organizations ERP implementations are considered transformation. So, does digital transformation represent the narrow use of digital technology to improve some aspect of our organization? Or, is it the wholesale change of a set of structures, institutions and paradigms built for a different era? Although I have mostly abandoned the phrase, when I do use it, I mean the latter.

Let’s call it what it is, starting with the term transformation. To truly transform means to change from one nature, substance, form, or condition into another. I’d maintain that the pace of change has made the archaic nature of our industrial era structures, institutions, and management paradigms very apparent. Therefore, to transform in this sense means to change from the nature, form and substance of our industrial past, to a state that is viable for our digital future. Digital is foundational: the building block for which this future state is built upon. Therefore, for clarity sake, a better way to describe digital transformation is:

TRANSFORMATION FOR THE DIGITAL AGE: a change in the nature, substance, and form of our industrial past, to a future state that allows us to thrive in our emerging digital future.

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Privacy and Corporate Responsibility


coffee-break-with-game-changers

I joined another episode of Coffee Break with Game Changers on Wednesday of this week. A very good discussion on privacy and data. Here is a brief abstract.


The buzz: “You already have zero privacy – get over it” (Scott McNealy). We as individuals have welcomed Internet-connected, mobile devices to help us make daily decisions. But when we share data with companies, and they share it with their business partners, are their built-in and bolted-on data security capabilities enough to protect our personal information?

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Digital: We’ve Only Just Begun


“Digitization has barely started, and so has the accompanying upheaval”

Jacques Bughin, Mckinsey

That’s a scary thought – but accurate. That thought comes from a recent Mckinsey Insights post titled: Think digital is a big deal? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Thanks to Heidi Schwende for sharing this article.

Their research finds that digital technologies and processes have penetrated only about 35% of an average industry, which says that a third of the products and operations that could be digitized have been. Yet this is more than thinking about digitizing the other 65% – it’s a moving target. The phrase “You ain’t seen nothing yet” captures that well. As the innovation accelerators that I describe in my Anchor Visual accelerate, digital is merely the foundation. A reimagined world is built on that foundation – and without it, organizations cannot participate in Reimagination. Here are other key insights from the Mckinsey post:

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