Becoming Digitally Relevant – Encouraging a Digital Mindset

Posted on: April 1, 2015 by Rob Price

"Change is the enemy of the competent as it re-defines the safe place within which they dwell." Jonathan MacDonald (@jmacdonald)

As any business leader will tell you, there is no sure-fire recipe for success. Business is, and has always been, about balancing risk with reward – playing it safe may have helped you survive, but it won’t allow you to thrive.

As the pace of change quickens organisations are under increasing pressure to think outside the usual confines or else face being left behind by more innovative and agile competitors. Digital Thinking is coming to the fore; while the IT department keeps the ship steady, other areas of the organisation must look to expand the way they do business, find new and exciting ways to deliver traditional services and keep the customer continually surprised.

Pushing Boundaries

Failure to spot long-term technology trends can spell disaster for a business. Organisations must learn a lesson from video-rental chain Blockbuster, back in 2000 the company was offered a 49 per cent stake in Netflix but turned the opportunity down. A mere four years later Blockbuster attempted to move its subscription service market but found it was too late to the party. Today, Netflix is worth around $20bn while Blockbuster is no more.

With Digital thinking, businesses are now able to reinvent themselves at pace. The challenge is to recognise new threats and react before reaching a crisis point. For example, cinema operator Curzon has launched its home cinema service, providing users with access to independent films while LEGO has brought crowdsourcing into the heart of their product development strategy, working out a profit-sharing system with contributors.

Encouraging Digital Thinking across the Workforce

Here are our four tips for helping your employees adopt a digital mindset:

  1. Introduce Reverse Mentoring Tap into the expertise of your organisation’s Digital Natives and millennials by pairing them with more senior members of your workforce. The partnerships can be mutually beneficial, with the wider team learning how to use social media as a communication and collaboration tool and the younger generation gaining insight into the strategic challenges of the organisation.
  2. Gamification Help create a mind-set in which ‘Digital’ is not simply a set of rules but an immersive culture by setting ‘quests’ – complete with rewards – for demonstrations of digital understanding. This approach can help drive interest and wider adoption for the mainstream employees while pushing early adopters to continue testing the boundaries.
  3. Teach Digital through Digital Thinking At Atos we developed a new teaching concept for our employees, codenamed Digital Ninja. The app was created as a personal guide to Digital, helping to provide clues and links to training that could deepen employee understanding. Combine this with visible Digital exemplars, raising employee awareness of the art of the digitally possible
  4. Use Your Virtual Networks Using enterprise social media technology - including platforms such as Yammer, BlueKiwi , Jive or Tibbr – can help encourage collaboration between employees globally, allowing them to share best practice examples of Digital Thinking, or crowd source solutions to common issues.The digital wave has changed industries vertical by vertical and represents change on a scale as big as the industry revolution. Digital is hard to define but certainly blurs the lines of learning between our business and personal lives. It requires employees with a thirst for learning to be experimenting with new apps, training, reading and networking continuously so not just business but our society can keep pace with digital innovation.

We’d love to hear other examples of how businesses are enabling Digital Thinking across their organizations…

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About Rob Price
COO for Worldline UK&I and member of the Scientific Community
Rob is COO for Worldline UK&I, the European leader in the payment and transactional services industry. He was previously Head of Digital for Atos UK&I, is a member of the Atos Scientific Community and was a founder of the award winning CIO/CTO Atos blog, the predecessor to Ascent. He successfully melds inspiration and creativity with strategic direction and implementation, focusing on driving more efficient and effective exploitation of technology and services to drive positive business outcomes and better connect our clients with their end consumers. The insight gained through both operational delivery roles and strategic Digital evangelist roles ensures that he views the Digital Revolution from multiple perspectives. Find him on twitter @The_Digital_COO

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