Five Pillars Of Digital Transformation: The Digital Mindset

Ashutosh Kumar, Joao Ribeiro, Jose Carvalho, and Kay P. Hradilak

As mentioned in the first post in this blog series, one of the five pillars for a successful digital transformation is to focus on the digital mindset. Digital transformation is much more than a fad or the latest management buzzword; it will affect everyone and every business at speeds never before seen. Industry players are excited, even if somewhat scared, about the prospects of what technology can bring and how it can change the boundaries they operate in. From automated self-driving cars to personalized medicine to therapy chatbots, the opportunities are immense. Things that were only possible in science fiction are now a reality.

Let’s look at the digital mindset from the perspective of a well-known aphorism: “To change the world, one needs to change oneself.”

What does this mean? How can someone knowingly change their mindset? How can an organization change its mindset? Here are three ways

1. Openly embrace digital in all interactions

A mindset refers to a person’s established set of attitudes about a topic, including digital. By having an open-minded attitude about the benefits that digital technologies can bring to people, processes, and businesses, we open a new world of opportunities. Moreover, this is not about re-engineering; think of each process, each channel, or each model in your business in a revolutionary way. Eliminating the idea of technology boundaries enables us to re-imagine each aspect of the business’ entire purpose and value-generation chain. It starts with each of us, as consumers and producers, in each interaction we have. Being open to a digital mindset will unlock previously unseen business model possibilities.

2. Spread the digital mindset across all levels of your organization

Leaders need to be tactical and strategic. Changing a culture takes time, up to seven years with traditional methods. People change when they realize how it will benefit them, and then they feel compelled to change. A top-down mandate can only influence a mindset change; it cannot drive it. Instead, people need to feel like they’re part of the opportunity, have a sense of urgency, and see that digital mindset behaviors are ubiquitous and rewarded within your organization. Identifying champions to drive the transformation and becoming the change want to see in your organization will inspire others to join. Take the time to choose the right ambassadors and ensure your team rewards those with the right mindset.

3. Accept that disruption may be uncontrollable

Digital transformation may come from different areas or times. It may even come from looking at old ideas from a different perspective or context. Google’s first released version of its light detection and range (LIDAR) system for its self-driving cars cost $75,000 per unit, and many in the automotive industry mocked it because of the effect it would have on the cost of a car. Eight years later, MIT is testing a LIDAR system that will cost $10 each, and there is no reason to laugh anymore unless you are producing self-driving cars. Change is coming, and the only viable option is to understand that it is uncontrollable and must be embraced at speeds never before seen by humankind. Accepting this is also accepting that failure is part of the process. Every idea that reached success after years of being dormant once felt like a failure.

Businesses and people must realize the need to change. With a new mindset, the challenge is now to know where to go. We will address this in our next blog, on defining digital destiny.

While you wait for the next instalment of our series, you can follow the link in our link to assess your Digital Transformation Maturity with IDC.