The tech media is obsessed with innovation. Front pages of sites like The Verge, Wired, or Fast Company tell us very clearly that innovation is all about cool, new ideas. Pragmatic iteration is overlooked as the boring rehashing of old things, while exciting ‘moonshots’ and 10X leaps are fetishised. However, the opposite is often true: the most successful companies in the world focus on nailing iterative execution, not constant reinvention. Continue reading “Innovation is Overrated: How Execution Can Make Up For an Average Idea”
With business models under pressure and competition for audience and advertising dollars increasing, media organisations inevitably search for innovative new ways to attract audiences, tell stories or earn revenue. Continue reading “A Brief Guide to Newsroom Innovation – for Journalists”
It is currently one of the most pressing questions in journalism: how can legacy media successfully master the digital environment and flourish in a world dominated by the Internet and social media?
So great is the interest and the demand for answers that the Web is filled with think-pieces, best practice guidelines and conference talks on the topic yet, until recently, there has been little empirical research available.
A new report by Lucy Kueng, a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and professor of strategy and innovation in media organisations, tries to address this gap. Continue reading “A Tough Message for News Organisations: Change or Become Irrelevant”
Editor’s note: Rather than slow, the pace of change in news in 2017 appears only to be accelerating. McClatchy’s new chief executive recently announced a program to speed up digital transformation in the newspaper chain’s 31 newsrooms. The multi-million dollar Knight-Lenfest Newsroom initiative (of which API plays a role) has expanded its team-centric process to accelerate organizational change at local newspaper companies. And leaders at the New York Times have gone public to answer questions about the future of editing at the paper after announcing plans to eliminate the stand-alone copy desk. Against that backdrop, API is releasing a fresh look at data gathered from more than 10,000 people who studied journalism and communications. This new analysis assesses the differences and similarities between managers and staff in journalism. The new report was written by Alex Williams, who is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School.
To what extent do newsroom leaders and the journalists who work for them agree on what constitute the biggest challenges facing the news industry? Are managers and staff in agreement when it comes to new approaches such as data journalism, gathering information from audience metrics, and experimenting with new revenue approaches such as sponsored content?
Given the degree to which culture impacts how successful legacy organizations can be in making changes, the answers to those questions can be a major factor in the future of news.
For a research fellowship centered on this concept, I’ve taken a deeper look at data from the American Press Institute’s 2015 survey of more than 10,000 journalism and communication school graduates, plus a previously unreleased sample of news managers from American Society of News Editors and Radio Television Digital News Association. In sum, this report analyzes survey responses of 1,604 managers and 3,579 staff members in the media industry to gauge their comfort level with new technologies, the challenges they face in their daily jobs, their views about the journalism industry more broadly, and their career experiences in 2010-2015 (see Methodology and Sample). While the data is from 2015, we believe the attitudes about long-term issues, and the differences between managers and staff, remain as relevant as they were then.
The views of managers generally resemble the ‘business side’ that focuses on audience metrics and embracing new streams of revenue while the views of staff more closely align with the ‘editorial side’ that focuses on creating content and preserving news quality.
The results of the survey suggest that managers are more comfortable embracing new digital practices and technologies, managers and staff members report similar experiences and frustration with cut backs, and that staff members are more critical of sponsored content and media owners. A key implication of these findings is that compared to managers, staff members are less comfortable with certain new digital applications and less interested in learning about new business approaches.
While managers and staff share some similarities, the overall picture that emerges from the survey is still one of lingering silos. The views of managers generally resemble the “business side” that focuses on audience metrics and embracing new streams of revenue while the views of staff more closely align with the “editorial side” that focuses on creating content and preserving news quality.
Some may see this as a natural extension of managers focusing on the “big questions” while staff focus on what they do best: producing journalism.
But innovation reports, studies of best practices, and individual case studies have concluded that this traditional set up may stymie change. Innovation often requires workers throughout the organization to share the same goals and views. Seen from this perspective, the contrasts between managers and staff may illustrate the need to more clearly communicate how new strategies fit within existing norms and goals. Conversely, managers may need to listen more to staff concerns to iterate new approaches.
Innovation often requires workers throughout the organization to share the same goals and views.
Among our notable findings:
- Managers want quicker adoption of technology. When asked about the biggest challenges facing journalism, managers are more likely than staff members to believe that traditional media companies need to adapt faster to new technology (39% vs 30%).
- Managers say they are more comfortable with new digital practices and technologies than staff members do. Managers are more likely to be “very comfortable” with content management systems (47% vs 31%), layout software (23% vs 14%), project management tools (23% vs 11%), graphic design (19% vs 13%), HTML (16% vs 10%), and using digital tools to verify information (50% vs 44%). Staff members are more likely to report that they do not use these tools in their jobs.
- Managers place greater emphasis on data journalism and audience metrics. Managers were more likely to emphasize fluency with data (39% vs 31%), understanding audience data (32% vs 22%), and conducting audience research (31% vs 26%) as important for someone in their field.
- A growing problem in the industry may be overworked employees. In the past five years, the majority of managers and staff members reported having duties added to existing job responsibilities (68% vs 62%). Relatedly, for both managers and staff members, the biggest obstacle affecting their ability to do their job is “organization resources and staffing” (59% compared to 47% of staff members).
- Staff members feel less secure in their jobs. 74 percent of managers reported feeling at least “fairly secure” compared to 67 percent of staff members.
- Managers and staff members have experienced cutbacks at similar rates. In the past five years, members of both groups have personally experienced layoffs (13% in both groups), pay cuts (15% vs 14%), and furloughs (10% vs 9%).
- Outside of their primary jobs, managers donate more time while staff members freelance more. Managers are more likely to have donated their skills to a charitable group (53% vs 44%). Staff members are more likely to have performed freelance work (33% vs 22%).
- Staff members are more skeptical of financial questions such as sponsored content and aggregators. Staff members are more likely to believe that sponsored content crosses ethical boundaries (58% vs 50% of managers) and that news aggregators should compensate journalists (61% vs 58%).
Ahead of speaking at Disruption Summit Europe, D/SRUPTION co-founder shares his views. . .
What is ‘digital transformation’?
My experience has led me to form two specific opinions about digital transformation. The first is that it describes a culture where data forms the basis of business decision making and innovation. That’s pretty dramatic for most organizations where decisions are made by learned and experienced individuals, but remain subjective by nature. Data takes the subjectivity out of decision making and as a direct result organizations become a lot crisper and more informed.
The second is that it entails removing the word ‘failure’ from the company lexicon and replacing it with the question, ‘what have we learned?’ A classic example would be Google Glass. Four or five years ago, Google introduced Google Glass, then, about 18 months ago, they withdrew it and everybody assumed it had failed. However, Google simply treated it as an experiment to learn from. This July, they re-launched an enterprise version of Google Glass with lots of applications for specific industries such as the petroleum industry, retail, healthcare, etc. Unlike most corporates which regard failure as being a catastrophic event, Google actually regarded it as a learning exercise.
Which industries have been most impacted by digitalization and which are likely to be next?
Finding a business that is not being impacted by digitalization is actually quite hard, but I think the industry that has been most dramatically affected by digitalization is the advertising and publishing business. The whole business is being transformed by the fact that what was before a very imprecise art has now become a precise art driven by major technology companies such as Google and Facebook.
In your experience, how many companies are really prepared for digital transformation?
If a company is asking now whether or not it is prepared for digital transformation, it is about eight years too late and the game is close to over. The simple fact is that it is already happening. There is in fact massive appetite for digital transformation from the corporate world but that appetite needs to be focused. There are two steps to this. The first is realizing your company can save considerable amounts of money thanks to digitalization. Companies then need to put an entrepreneurial hat on and say, ‘where can I make money out of digital transformation?’ That’s where the creative work is: digital opportunity.
Which well-known companies do you think have handled digital transformation the best?
Without inside knowledge of an organization, the way to tell a company that is digitally transformed is to look at it from the outside in. I have two examples, one in the B2C space and one in the B2B space. The B2C example is Mattel, the big US toy company, which I think has got its head around digitalization. For instance, they just launched a home 3D printer, a virtual reality product range and a Barbie which connects to IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence computer. The B2B example is a business called Kern which makes weighing scales so precise they can weigh tiny differences in the earth’s gravity. Kern gamified its business and turned it into a sensational success. Take a look at Kern: The Gnome Experiment’ on YouTube here:
Given the rapid pace of technological development, how should management teams go about discerning between available technologies?
Ten years ago, companies were often forced to choose between different suppliers with lots of proprietary technology. This completely changed with the advent of open source technology. Google, for instance, puts significant amounts of the software it develops into open source. You can use it free of charge as long as you make a development contribution to it rather than a cash contribution. Companies like Microsoft, Facebook and IBM are doing the same. This means the proprietary nature of software is fading in all except legacy IT situations.
Why are technology businesses giving away their software like this?
The answer is twofold. The first reason is that when you turn your software over to the open source community, you add a significant multiplier to the number of developers working on that software. It’s like Wikipedia in concept. The second reason technology businesses are giving away their software is that they recognize the value is not in software anymore, it’s in data. Open source software allows us to use the data we hold in a more effective manner. Most of the organizations I come into contact with don’t even know what data they have. One of the first things all companies should be doing from an operational perspective is a data audit: find out what data you have, find out what data is available from third parties and then see what you can do with it using open source AI to create new products.
Is open source technology relevant for every sector?
Yes, especially around data analytics, layered data and AI. If the software is open source that means a healthcare company for example can pull AI software out of the open source community, modify it to their needs and then plug in their data. Going a step further, the real game changer companies should be looking at is something called API [Application Programming Interface]. API is a layer of technology that allows disparate computer systems to talk to other disparate computer systems, allowing all different sorts of opportunities, including cost saving opportunities.
One of the big debates about digital transformation is the potential net cost to human jobs. How real a concern should this be?
A rule of thumb here is that if you have a very tight job description, your job is threatened. If your job description is creative, you are much less threatened although even AI is becoming creative. However, this is not like falling off a cliff – to start with we are taking about job augmentation for humans, not replacement. Workers in the trucking business are not going to be replaced by [self-driving technology] tomorrow morning, although it will eventually happen. The job replacement by AI is likely to be stealthy.
In terms of what this means for us humans, I think we’re heading into an age where entertainment and enjoyment will become a much more fundamental part of our lives. The difficulty with all this of course is the economics that are attached to it – when you have that many unemployed, who pays for them? All companies should be doing a data audit: find out what data you have, what is available from third parties, and then see what you can do with it.
Is digital transformation a leveler of the playing field – for example between companies in developed and developing countries – or does it further exacerbate gaps in development?
US and European startups, probably up to a D round, will concentrate on their own local markets instead of attempting to enter emerging markets. This gives local businesses and startups in other parts of the world an enormous opportunity to copy US and European startups and be the first in their marketplace with a successful new technology. But there are going to be winners and there are going to be losers. I can normally see the winners as soon as I walk through the door. That’s what happened at SPi Global: I immediately saw a winner.
How is digital transformation likely to impact SPi Global and how, in your view, is the company positioned to take advantage of that?
Initially, my role in the acquisition was to verify the management team was aware of new technology and had some use cases and plans to be able to use it. However, as soon as I walked through the door and met the IT director and CEO, I knew they were in the right place. I had a conversation with the IT director very quickly about using machine learning and data parsing to increase the efficiency of their business. That meant my role then changed into looking for opportunities for expansion. I believe SPi can enter new markets and use its emerging digital technology to turn those marketplaces into very profitable businesses.
For example, a fundamental part of SPi’s business is the re-purposing of content for different platforms, which is a very good business. In the future, they could be using AI to perform intelligent data parsing, whereby content and data that is incompatible with other systems is made compatible via machine learning, automating a number of processes.
What emerging technologies you are most excited about?
I’m an entrepreneur; every time I get out of bed in the morning I see exciting opportunities around disruption! There are two technologies that I am extremely positive about. Firstly, Chatbots, an online technology that takes over conversations you might ordinarily have with a call centre worker. As AI becomes more powerful, the human operator will appear later and later in the conversation – and this will happen by stealth. In the end, this will make a company’s net promoter score higher because consumers will speak with one computer entity instead of a call center worker with a script. This is the future interface to the web.
Secondly, material science, which has fundamental opportunities to change every object that we lay our hands on to make those objects much more efficient, changing industries in the process. An example of this is provided by Boeing, which about six months ago launched a new metal called microlattice. This is ten times as strong as stainless steel and almost as light as air – and it’s 3D printable. In the future, they plan to make aircraft out of it. I would say that’s pretty ground breaking and has enormous implications for the transport business.
“BBC World Service is undergoing its largest expansion since the 1940-s. The current set-up of 28 editorial teams working in languages other than English, based in London and around the world, is about to be extended by another 12 languages teams, all within the next nine months. Within this investment programme, which is also used to diversify content offering for Africa, the Arab and Russian-speaking world, as well as English language programming for World Service English radio, I am editorially responsible for all investments and projects covering the digital side of our operations – existing and new. ”
How we’ve changed our approach over the past two years
Anyone who reads Severe Contest will notice that our social-media team has evolved over the past two years.
Our overarching goal of increasing awareness and ultimately paid readership among globally curious people has not fundamentally changed. But how we achieve this mission has — and continues to do so.
The main reason is because the platforms where we distribute our content are also rapidly changing. Whether it’s a tweak to their complex algorithms or slower user growth, we have to respond accordingly.
Does this mean that we dive enthusiastically into every new product launch or platform? Quite the opposite; we strive to be disciplined about saying “yes” only to the ideas we believe will help us achieve our goals and asking “why?” to help us stay focused on the right things. That means being open to experimentation, but setting a hard deadline and killing a project if it fails to meet expectations.
There’s another reason we constantly fine-tune our approach: tactics that worked yesterday may no longer be as effective today. For example, we have realised that focusing solely on social media distribution — and expanding our reach — is not the most optimal use of our time.
We need to strike a healthy balance between striving to reach more readers across platforms over which we have zero control, with bringing them back onto the platforms over which we do have control, such as our apps and website.
To that end, here’s how we’ve changed our approach over the past year:
We’re diversifying our sources of traffic
When we expanded the social media team in the summer of 2015, our short-term goal was to post more, catch up with rivals and remind the world that we exist. However, we ended up devoting too much time to churning tweets that few people read.
So we focused instead on producing high-quality social-media content, such as “vimages”, shareable video and other new formats, as well as resurfacing evergreens and coordinating across departments to give important events a big push.
We’ve achieved huge success so far, with social media helping to drive record engagements and traffic to economist.com this year.
Yet an over-reliance on social media can leave us particularly vulnerable to sudden changes by platforms. Ultimately, we want people who find us on social media to come back to our website and apps, and to spend more time there.
That’s why we’ve diversified our sources of traffic by focusing more on app push notifications and newsletters. Since January, our team has been experimenting with different types of push notifications to figure out what works. We’re also beta-testing and preparing to launch a new newsletter later this year. (Details to come!)
We’re interacting more with readers
For some time, our team focused mostly on reaching new audiences across social media platforms by publishing as much content as possible. Over the past year, we’ve invested more time and resources into engaging with readers on economist.com and elsewhere, because these are the types of activities we believe will help build loyalty and hopefully encourage readers to subscribe.
On Medium, we launched Inside The Economist and Correspondent’s Notebook to help readers understand the people and processes behind the red and white logo. At a time when Americans’ trust in mainstream media has fallen to an all-time low, we think that these series can help improve transparency and bring us closer to readers.
Similarly, Quora has proven to be an effective way of connecting our biggest fans with The Economist’s correspondents and editors — and at a much deeper level than on other social media platforms. The breadth and specificity of questions suggest that readers want to better understand how we do journalism. Our Quora Q&A with Idrees Kahloon, a data journalist, generated more than 4m views.
Building on these initiatives, we’ve also just launched a Facebook group for readers who want to debate American politics in a civil environment. My colleague Adam Smith outlines how it works here.
On Economist.com, work is under way to apply some of the lessons we’ve gathered on Medium and Quora, with the ultimate goal of creating a space for the kind of high-quality conversations The Economist is famous for.
We’re aligning our efforts with the marketing teams to get more readers to subscribe
No longer do editorial and commercial folks avoid talking to each other. We now work with the marketing teams daily to identify the types of content and formats that resonate with our most engaged social-media fans, and to target them with subscription messages.
We supplement these efforts with campaigns around a particular topic (e.g. Oceans, Future of Work and Pride & Prejudice) to raise awareness of the stories readers may not know we covered.
We’re thinking more holistically about metrics and shifting away from vanity ones
The Economist has more than 40m social media followers, but what does that actually mean in terms of their propensity to engage with and subscribe to our publication? Not much.
We’re more interested in driving high-quality engagements and traffic, and trying to hone in on the behaviours — bounce rate, articles read, retention and time spent — that lead people to ultimately become loyal fans and subscribers. For us, reach is a meaningless metric if it does not translate into anything concrete.
These are the questions we ask daily:
What is the most common journey from social media to becoming a subscriber? What are the characteristics of a reader who is likely to subscribe? What types of content do they engage with most?
What’s next? You tell us
For the rest of this year, we plan to double-down on some of these initiatives. As usual, we’re keen to hear our readers’ thoughts: where do you think we should take our team? What are some ideas (beyond social media) we should explore? How might we create more meaningful relationships with readers? Let us know in the comments below.
Denise Law is community editor at The Economist.
The evolution of The Economist’s social media team was originally published in Severe Contest on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Your steps in digital transformation
Recently, I was invited to give a keynote speech on the impacts of digital disruption at a company’s Innovation Day event. The participants, consisting mainly of the company’s senior management team, were enthusiastic and motivated to develop innovation strategies for their business. During the course of the event, the team discussed digitisation of their business operations as the core of digital transformation.
Although in many cases, digitisation (converting something analogue to digital formats e.g., replacing paper based filing system for online document management) is a key element in organizational transformation for the digital age, I believe it is only one part of digital business transformation in its entirety. Incumbent organisations looking to gain competitive advantage in the digital economy will need to address several levels of change, improvements and development. I have developed a simple illustration of these levels to help companies understand the scope, impact and potential outcome of initiatives at each level.
Level 1 – OPTIMIZE the foundation
The ‘Optimize’ level focuses on initiatives that strengthen and improve the existing business elements to create strong foundation. As a business, basic operations need to function smoothly for the company to exist and sustain itself. These include the physical operations, day-to-day activities, financial management, among other things. The focus here is really to ensure these basic operations are optimized – reduce redundancy, high efficiency, low costs etc. Many ‘Optimize’ activities may involve digitization of the operations, for example process automation, implementation of ERP systems, launching a responsive website, or using social media channels for customer interactions.
‘Optimize’ initiatives are activities that companies should be implementing to improve operations and efficiency, whether ready for digital transformation journey or not. Companies that have not optimized will struggle to stay relevant in the digital economy.
Level 2 – EVOLVE the business
The ‘Evolve’ level focuses on transforming selected foundation elements to prepare for dynamic needs of digital disruption. The rapid development of disruptive technologies are enabling new ways of doing things in an organization. Companies now have the possibility to apply these technologies to enable, improve or transform their business. For example, the use of chatbots on Facebook messenger to improve customer interaction and increase sales conversion, or using machine learning or AI in data analytics to gather predictive insights on customer behaviour or preferences.
‘Evolve’ initiatives typically focus on digitalization of a specific function or business area to improve or transform by leveraging digital technologies. For example, I recently saw a smart factory demonstration where speed and efficiency of the assembly line was improved through the use of smart bins. The bins were programmed to order parts as soon as it hits a minimum threshold level to avoid delays.
Initiatives at this level can go a long way to creating competitive advantage for companies. However, it is not as simple as throwing new technology at a business problem. I have seen many examples of companies launching a mobile app in the name of digital transformation. Here, real benefits are gained only by leveraging technology in a strategic and targeted way to resolve or transform an existing business challenge.
Level 3 – INNOVATE for the future
The ‘Innovate’ level focuses on exploring innovative initiatives to transform the business and create a sustainable competitive edge in the digital economy. This level involves true organization wide digital business transformation. For example, disruptive business model innovation falls within the Innovate level.
I believe that digital disruption will hit every industry at some point over the next five years and change the global business landscape. However, some industries will be hit quicker than others, simply due to the nature of their business. For example, the first big wave of disruption will be technology, media, retail and financial services due to rapid developments in technology, evolving consumer behaviours and high number of digital entrants. On the other hand, oil and gas or utilities may be hit at a later stage.
Despite this, every company should be exploring Innovate initiatives in order to prepare for this disruption. As a result, new operational activities, products / services, or business models may surface, creating a need for organization wide transformation.
Evolution process, not one time change
The digital business transformation journey can be viewed as an evolution process, with change happening over a course of time. As a knee-jerk reaction to disruption, business leaders may be tempted to implement a new technology in an effort to ‘digitize’ the business. However, it is worth exploring initiatives across the various levels to determine where a company needs to focus for highest returns. Keep in mind that not all levels need to be implemented simultaneously. As a starting point, focus on implementing ‘Optimize’ and ‘Evolve’ initiatives. But leadership teams need to already be exploring the ‘Innovate’ level, particularly in the highly disruptive industries.
Kamales Lardi is a digital business transformation strategist and dynamic keynote speaker. She helps companies leverage digital disruption to create new opportunities for business and generate revenue. Kamales is also a published author, lecturer, mentor to entrepreneurs and member of the MBA Advisory Board at Durham University, UK.
Are you a renovator or an innovator?
Digital Transformation – I think and hope we are beyond the “why” stage and moving into the “what” stage. What does a digitally transformed company look like? That’s a question with a thousand answers. Having both a corporate background (CDO Thomas Cook, NED Provident Financial plc) and a startup background (as entrepreneur and investor) I get a multidimensional view of the landscape, here’s how it looks. . .
Firstly I think you have to ask yourself – are we in business as a Renovator or an Innovator? A renovator in the sense of a continual quest to make things better, or an innovator that is doing something completely new and radical. Both can have digital root structures but the cultures are entirely different.
For an established business (especially a listed business) transformation should not mean any shocks – good or bad – it’s business as usual (BAU) but moving to digital business as usual (DBAU). Culturally this is normally a renovation approach and – the most critical element from a transformation perspective is to get the enthusiastic buy in from senior middle managers who are often resistant to change (especially if they have an eye on bonuses and pensions). This can be done from a top down / bottom up approach. One tactic I saw work well was having a 30,000 strong workforce formally asked to help identify and document web site bugs – the whole exercise was gamified and was viewed by the company board as being a great success in internal digital engagement – to the extent that some of the senior managers who had been so resistant to change got carried along on the wave and couldn’t been seen to rock the boat.
For the Innovator a key lever to success is the “prototype” culture, the startup mentality of “we’ve got a great idea, let’s go and build it and get it to MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to test” attitude (normally at odds with the Renovator mentality which takes a serial approach to ideation and can get stuck in the mire of endless PowerPoints). I was tasked some years ago to build a totally new insurance website with some radical functionality – my initial take was that after getting through the political minefield of stakeholders and the IT development waterfall it was going to take 14 months to get to market – so I took a £5000 internal budget, found an external web developer and build a working MVP in 6 weeks – to the businesses total astonishment. . . and the lesson I learnt? It’s a lot harder for a political stakeholder to kill a prototype than it is an idea, that’s a key lesson in digital transformation.
For the Renovator and the Innovator, the use of digital analytics platforms can provide an insight into customer and engagement. I hear a groan about the “insight” part coming – everyone talks about “digital insight” and it can look like an amorphous blob to many, but here’s a clue – digital analytics can provide you with a serious view of what a “hidden objection” might be – the sort of sale killer where only the prospective purchaser knows why they have walked away from a transaction and your business is left clueless. With digital analytics ingrained into every conversation about the “customer journey” you can expect to find out quickly where those hidden objections sit.
Then there is the question of creativity – the life blood of the digital startup and the often hidden asset of a business that hasn’t been transformed. Creativity is the killer edge that your business may have let go to a “moon shot” startup – my biggest challenge has always been trying to help HR work out how to find and encourage creativity without interfering in BAU.I want to deal with the “big data” issue – that “digital transformed businesses know what big data is”. I frequently speak at conferences and when I ask the “who’s knows what big data is?” I get the universal show of hands – when I ask “and what can it be used for” there is normally a sea of blank faces. For a transforming board to look at this, it is looking not at “big data” but “layered data”. Overlaying many sets of data to identify new customers segments is a given for startups – they know how to take Facebook data, layer it on to geographical data and on then onto weather data to work out there’s a new revenue opportunity selling rain capes to 24 year old Glastonbury audiences. There’s money in them there Venn diagrams.
The common question I get from Board’s is “should we be investing in startups to help the culture of our own transformation?”. Certainly having crazy startup CEO’s pop up and be disruptive inside of your own offices has benefits aside from regular injections of passion, enthusiasm and brain power – but the real benefit is to prove to your own people that agility, creativity and data can succeed over legacy businesses (preferably your competition) and provide confidence that DBAU is a realistic goal.
Finally, it often obvious to see from the outside whether a business has been digitally transformed – if you want to see that in action go to YouTube and search for “kern; the gnome experiment” and see a business that has learned to go from something that’s possibly in the boring quadrant to something that delights the world by being digitally centred.
John Straw is co-founder of tech disruption website D/SRUPTION – www.disruptionhub.com
“A survey of 2,216 executives at companies with annual revenue of more than $500 million found executives’ confidence in their organization’s digital abilities is actually at a new low. That said, companies and executives have improved at embracing digital transformation. CEOs recognize how much their digital strategy influences business goals. Back in 2007, only 40% of CIOs were involved in strategic planning; now they’re regarded as some of the most integral members of the C-Suite.”