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Keeping Pace with Digital Innovation

Many organisations are struggling to keep up with digital innovation as it continues to disrupt the business environment. Efforts to keep up have increased in momentum in the wake of the Covid 19 Virus. According to an IDG Research business impact survey, 59% of IT decision-makers said they had accelerated their digital transformation efforts due to pressures caused by the pandemic.

As a manager, you can no longer afford to treat IT as an isolated component. Software is fueling innovation in many products, services, and processes. If you want to survive this digital disruption, you must align your organisation with its digital future. And this is not a one-off task or a one-man show. Here are five ways you can enable your business to keep pace with digital innovation.

1. Create Spaces Within the Organisation for Social Networking

Your organisation should create an enabling environment to nurture digital innovation. Create idea hubs within your business where employees can interact, share ideas, and collaborate. Idea hubs will enable your teams to channel their collective creativity and energy into creating, refining, and extending digital innovations.

When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills. An ancient Chinese proverb

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2. Cultivate Digital Talent

Supporting the growth of employees should not be a preserve of big businesses. Even if you are a fledgling company, it is necessary to provide your employees with opportunities and resources to improve their digital skills.

According to a MIT Sloan Management Review’s research report, more than 75% of organisations who have successfully adopted digital technology into their business model said they provide their employees with opportunities and resources to develop their digital abilities.

3. Creating a Digital Culture

Your organisations culture should support digital innovation. It should bolster risk-taking, encourage experimentation, develop distributed leadership structures, and promote collaboration. Cultural transformation will require significant changes in corporate behaviour. The traditional corporate culture of eliminating risks, improving efficiency, and increasing margins will not cut it in the digital age. A digitally mature company prioritises innovation and experimentation.

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4. Focus on Soft Skills in Leadership

Many organisations respond to a changing digital environment by hiring digital experts and replacing traditional roles with digitally inclined roles. However, according to the MIT Sloan Management Review’s research report, soft skills such as having a vision, forward-thinking and collaborative skills are more important in driving digital transformation in an organisation. Therefore the ideal fit would be to compliment your existing teams with external consultants (to plug your knowledge gaps) to drive through your digital transformation.

5. Foster Digital Congruence

To survive the digital disruption, your organisation should fire from all cylinders. Every aspect of your business, including culture, strategy, structure, and people, should work in harmony to navigate the stormy digital waters. You can have innovative and energetic employees, but if they operate in a traditional hierarchical leadership structure, you won’t be able to harness their energy and potential.

You can’t delegate digital transformation for your company. You and your executives have to own it! Executives need to engage, embrace and adopt new ways of working with the latest and emerging technologies. Barry Ross, Ross & Ross International

Final Thoughts

Digital innovation continues to cause disruptions in the economic space, and most organisations are struggling to adapt. To keep up with the digital revolution, your organisation should create an enabling environment for digital innovation by cultivating a digital culture and creating spaces and opportunities for social networking.

Imran Zaman

The founder of DIGITI.ORG - The Digital Transformation Magazine. Imran is a Senior Consultant who helps FTSE 500 companies develop Cloud-First Strategies, introduce Cloud Operating and Cloud Finance Models and leads international Program Management teams to deliver digital change. Imran writes about Business, Technology and Innovation.

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