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Last updated on 12/21/23

Create an Innovative Environment

Welcome back to the third and final part of our course about creating a digital transformation roadmap.

So far, you’ve learned how to identify the organizational opportunities and roadblocks for digital transformation. You’ve seen how to grapple with the innovator’s dilemma, and then win support for your project from a variety of stakeholder types around the organization.

Prepare for a Future of Continuous Change in Your Organization

We’ve talked about the theme of continuous change. A digital transformation will not succeed if you treat it as a “do once and forget” exercise: it’s far more integral to the future of your organization.

You need to create a full-scale cultural shift within the organization, to create an environment of continuous innovation.

The external forces of digital disruption have made your customers more demanding - in other words, creating a market transformation. This has driven the need for a transformation within the organization to respond to those external forces. We’ve seen that this can radically change the organization’s business model. Together, these forces also create a series of new challenges for the people within your organization.

Create a Plan to Address Changing Needs for Skills in Your Organization

New challenges mean new skills, at all levels in the organization.

🐕 When we looked at the SWOT analysis for Blue Cross, we saw that under 35s were demanding more information from them about the work they do and the way the money raised gets spent. We also saw a much greater emphasis on social media and other digital channels - and identified them as an opportunity for Blue Cross to meet those raised expectations.

To take advantage of this, many charities have had to either train their existing staff with the new skills they require or hire a new cadre of staff who already have them. Or both.

At the same time, there was an investment in technology to make the Tap Dogs project deliverable - the jackets with contactless payment functionality and the back office systems behind it as well.

You will, therefore, need to audit your organization’s digital competencies and make a plan to plug any gaps as appropriate.

Embrace a Cultural Shift in the Organization

Alongside this combination of new technology, skills, and people, you’ll also be engineering a cultural shift in the business – the third and vital component to creating an innovative environment.

Everything we’ve studied in this course so far supports that cultural shift:

  • The breakout thinking we introduced in phase two of the transformation framework.

  • The new technology tools.

  • Training people.

Overall, you need to underpin this with a more entrepreneurial mindset. People across the organization need to be encouraged to experiment and, as Steve Wozniak famously said, "Think different." 

Your guiding idea should be that you don’t do things in the organization simply because that’s how you’ve always done them. Instead, frequently ask yourself, “If I was to start with a blank page, how would I solve this problem?” Constantly challenge the status quo.

Find Out how the Blue Cross Rolled Out the Tap Dogs Project in Stages

🐕 As we’ve already discussed, the Tap Dogs project was conceived as the first visible step in a larger digital transformation project. By running a project that achieved measurable success for the organization, Jane was able to persuade her senior team colleagues to get started on that larger project.

This first stage used four dogs in tightly-controlled locations to demonstrate that it was an efficient way to raise money. At the same time, it created a significant uptick in coverage for the charity; through traditional mainstream and social media.

In other words, by starting with a measurable, clearly-defined first visible step, the Tap Dogs project created the right conditions for the broader digital transformation project to win acceptance and start creating a shift in strategy, operations, and culture within the organization.

The positive reinforcement of good (and widespread) PR from the pilot project, together with some measurable results, allowed the rollout of the Tap Dogs project across the country.

This has enabled a deeper shift in the organization's culture and capabilities: where there had been a lack of digital competencies, the project did two things internally: it equipped members of the team with practical experience of running a digital campaign and, through the PR and social media impact, the project made the organization look like a more attractive place for digitally competent new hires.

Finally, this created a culture within the charity where new, digitally-led ideas were encouraged throughout the organization. An innovative environment was born.

Let's Recap!

  • Your digital transformation project should usher in an era of continuous change for your organization.

  • Create a plan for the changing skills needed by your organization as these changes take effect.

  • Underpin these changes by embracing a cultural shift that must take place, where the organization welcomes and embraces continuous innovation.

Now that you've thought about the human side of the transformation, and how to address changing skills and culture, let's look at the technology side once more. It's time to think about how to separate the inflated sales pitches and hype of technology vendors from the reality of what the technology can deliver for your project.

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