Digital innovations continue to transform industries globally at an impressive pace. It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since the first iPhone was released in 2007. Although it doesn’t seem that long ago, it’s crazy to think about how much technology has evolved in such a short time. In 2007, there were no ride- or home-sharing companies. Social media was just beginning to move from college campuses to the mainstream. Facebook had a mere 50 million users compared to today’s nearly 2 billion users.
What can we learn about the future of our digital strategies from prior innovations of such magnitude?
First, it is imperative to understand that smartphones didn’t just disrupt the telecommunications and computing industries. Smartphones changed how all organizations were required to think about their products and services, how they operate, and how they engage with their customers. As a result, entire business models were overhauled, ecosystems were built, and market opportunities evolved. Those companies that embraced this new reality early were able to capitalize on the largest segments of these opportunities. Others are still struggling from the fallout.
Going forward, there are three ways executives can approach the need for their organization to evolve:
- To identify where change is most needed, organizations should consider looking to disrupt before they are disrupted. For banking, this might mean more robust mobile applications with better encryption. For General Electric, it meant the launch of Predix in August of 2015 to change how companies evaluate their machine and infrastructure performance. How does your organization identify where change is needed most?
- To choreograph a transformation, organizations need to think about IT differently. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, only “52% of executives rated their Digital IQ as strong”. With the rapid pace at which digital is evolving, CIO’s are increasingly given a front and center seat at the table. Even the best digital strategies will fail if they aren’t embraced by the team. Choreographing a transformation doesn’t require a CIO. It just takes the right internal and external stakeholders with the right mindset. What’s your organizational mindset and who is your team at the table? Is there anything missing?
- To empower your team and your customers, organizations need to focus on the human side of the equation. In a recent THRIVE conversation, for instance, Lyft's VP of Marketing Melissa Waters explains how she integrates this mindset into their core values: Be Yourself and Make it Happen. She explains that by practicing these values, Lyft gives permission to everyone in the organization to show up, see white space, and make change happen. By encouraging your team and your customers to become a part of the process, you not only drive engagement, you create a sense of ownership. That sense of ownership is what drives individuals to identify problems or opportunities, and solve for them through cross-functional work or sharing of ideas. How are you empowering your team and your customers to assist in transformation?
Considering these approaches, what is the best next step for your organization? Realistically, not every organization can come up with the next societal “game-changer." But your organization can position itself to capitalize on the new waves of digital by being ready to adapt and incorporate the right integrations.
It may be something as simple as integrating a new app or plugin that allows your organization to streamline bottlenecks. It could require developing new features, or building extensions and plugins. It may take introducing a new product or service altogether. How are you prioritizing and identifying digital innovation given more disruptions of magnitude are on the horizon?