The window for “digital”

Digital strategy, digital transformation, digital innovation… How much longer will the use of the word “digital” still be relevant? For example, is it possible, in 2017, to have a business strategy which is not “digital”? Is it time to drop the word?

Today, most organizations, have come a long way on the journey to becoming truly a digital enterprise. Radically improving customer experience through context relevant, omnichannel solutions, digital twins of products and services, accelerating their workforce with realtime analytics driven decision making, and innovating business models using platform economy principles… they use digital to drive intensified customer obsession.

However, the fact is that still many organizations have yet to take even their first steps. Still stuck in old, physical-only, ways of doing business, some seem to believe it’s enough to have a static “home page”.

I believe that in times when companies win or lose depending mostly due to their ability to excel digitally, the window for the word “digital” is still open. But we are in twilight times. The window is closing quickly. Those that didn’t get it, will be gone, and for the rest, “digital” will be just “business as usual”.

I’m giving “digital” a best before 2018. Ten months to go.

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Open letter to Schiphol airport

Dear Schiphol airport,

I’m writing this open letter to you both as a manager in the IT-industry and as a father. I’m humbly asking for your assistance in one of our (as in everyones) most critical challenges. I’m asking you since I am frequently a customer of yours. I’ve travelled through your airport more than fifty times the past couple of years.

In our company, we work hard every day trying to recruit new female IT-talent and we actively work on improving gender diversity in leadership positions. There are many reasons why this is difficult and I believe in addressing all of them, always, and as soon as we see them.

One of the reasons why it’s difficult to solve the gender diversity challenges is most likely found in how we shape our young ones. This is what happens every day, also at Schiphol airport. In one of your stores, you are allowing/making an unfortunate distinction between boys and girls. See the photos below. Note the sign saying “Girls”. (Not long ago there was also a sign saying “Boys” hanging over the building/robotics section.)

By allowing/making this distinction, you help shape the unfair and unfortunate norm that girls should play with dolls and boys should build and learn about electronics/robotics. This is where the IT-industry’s challenge starts. This is where girls are told to stay away from robotics and where boys are told that playing with dolls is not OK.

I would love to see, when I return back to Schiphol, that this store makes no more such gender distinctions. I would be very happy to see you/the store owner arrange the products in other categories, instead. There are many other to choose from (age, interests, brands, arts, craft), without using stereotypical and polarising characteristics (blue/pink or doll/action).

Thank you!

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Faster, cheaper, and open… Innovation

Innovation is the hottest topic in digital transformation today. It includes technology accelerators such as IoT, machine learning, robotics, new API platforms, and so on. The topic of innovation also evolves around the “who, what, and how”-questions, and it is evident that the faster, cheaper, and open you can run your innovation process, the more value you will be able to create.

The latest report and update of our digital transformation framework (“The Innovation Paradigm for the Digital Age“) dives deep into these aspects, so I recommend spending a few moments and take it to heart. Download it here…

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Blog updates

I’m in the process of updating/redesigning the blog and the purpose is to create a clearer focus on digital transformation and innovation. Meanwhile… I am sorry for the mess, potentially broken links, empty pages, etc.

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Current digital transformation topics

In the last few months, I have traveled to meet customers in Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK. A handful of topics seem to be in focus, regardless of country and sector:

  • Innovation
  • Digital ecosystems
  • Customer journey mapping (in a truly customer oriented way)

Below are some key questions being asked and thus also indicate where companies are spending attention in their ongoing transformation programs.

Innovation

  • How do we best work with innovation?
  • Optimal innovation processes?
  • Dedicated innovation group or everyone involved all the time?
  • Interfacing external parties, such as the startup-scene, partners, customers, etc
  • How can achieve traceability between ideas to incubate/try and our business’ core business objectives?
  • How can we experiment externally, without hurting the brand?

Digital ecosystems

  • How can we open up our products, services, operational processes, and systems, to better collaborate with the world outside the company?
  • How can we both protect our data and at the same time provide easy access to it?
  • If we don’t know how to make money (business model) from sharing data or participate in new digital ecosystems, is it at all worth the efforts?
  • What are the best API-platform management practices?

Customer journey mapping

  • How can we better understand WHY our customer buys or product/service?
  • What happens before and after that the customer has interacted with us, and how can we digitally improve those experiences?
  • How do we test the outcome of changed digital touchpoints acorss entire customer journeys?

 

 

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