A new year’s resolution for leaders: take digital to the core in 2016
It is December 31st 2015 and like many people I am thinking about my New Year’s resolutions. Some people think that they are a waste of time – but resolutions seem to work well enough for Marc Zuckerberg’s self-improvement.
( Listen above or read below – the same text )
The natural boundary between two years and the refreshed post-holiday mindset provide a good opportunity to stand back, review and set out a new challenge. However, as the date change rapidly approaches, sometimes we fail to finally nail down and clearly articulate the one or two big ideas that will make a real difference. So let me help by offering you a pre-crafted suggestion for a professional resolution:
In 2016, take digital to the core
By ‘core’ – we mean, into the heart of your products and services. We mean, use the technologies of the internet era to reinvent what your organisation makes or serves.
Recently I met with some old friends and colleagues who have worked over the years on British Airways website. They reminded me that it was inaugurated on December 24 1995. The internet has been a fact of business life now for over 20 years! For much of that time we have applied what the internet can do, to the outside edges and the supporting capabilities of our enterprises. Digital marketing, e-commerce, e-procurement, dynamic supply chain management, portals and collaboration, media sites, investor sites.. all these things, including many now made mobile, have had a great effect. But they didn’t reinvent the core. That’s often the last and most important stage.
The banks went online, to provide you access to your account very early in the history of the internet. The difference today – is they are beginning to reinvent money and banking, through things like the R3 blockchain consortium. The car companies formed Covisint in 2000 as a B2B exchange for car manufacturing parts supply and services. The difference today, is that they are planning to reinvent personal transportation, with autonomous vehicles providing uber-like mobility-as-a-service.
When a fundamental enabling technology like the internet arrives, for the first decade or two society uses it to do the same things – but better and faster. Then, once we have truly understood its potential, we use that technology to reinvent what we do and how we live. The first cars were called horseless carriages and they were designed like carriages. The first TV programs were like radio but performed in front of a camera. Eventually, we learned how to use cars to redesign where and how we live, and TV to redesign how we educate ourselves about the world and even how we operate modern democracy.
We have now entered the reinvention phase of the internet. Every product and every service will be digitally ‘remastered’ – taking it to a completely new level of capability and performance. This is happening on your watch. It is something you have the opportunity to be a big part of. So don’t let 2016 be just another year of superficial digital wallpapering over the old cracked business model, products and services. Resolve that this year, you will take digital to the core.
To help you lead your organisation though this next stage of profound digital change, we have written a book. Its packed full of early example cases from many different industries and countries. I hope it helps you on your journey.
Happy new Year!