The digital mindset

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Catherine Howe 26th January 2018 5 minute read

The digital mindset

On Wednesday 24th January, members of the Contact Centre Association (CCA) gathered in London’s Walkie Talkie building for the Future Thought Leadership Forum. Dr Catherine Howe, Capita Digital Transformation Director, spoke at the event and outlines her thoughts here.

It was real pleasure to attend at the CCA Leadership Forum, where I gave a brief talk on the topic of digital transformation. My presentation focused on three key areas – ‘the digital mindset’, ‘the 8 tribes of digital’ and ‘the change curve’. These are the three models designed to help senior managers and their teams unpack what it means to ‘be digital’. I believe organisations should consider this before they embark on any (digital) transformation programme.

In this article, I want to focus less on my presentation content and more on the conversation and debate that followed. As a sociologist it was fascinating and heartening to hear attendees focusing much less on technology for technology’s sake and more-so on the impact technology has on our workforce, our customers and ultimately our organisational success.

Some of the key points of discussion were:

  • How do you create organisational change in a culture that creates a fear of failure? It’s clear that change programmes have to embrace new ways of working and, perhaps more importantly, new attitudes to these ways of working and some of the stereotypes that surround them. If an organisational culture is one of presentee-ism rather than being output-based, I would argue that it is very difficult to drive digital transformation – this is a topic that cannot be solved in a silo. True digital transformation has to be driven by the whole organisation and there has to be an environment that enables the ‘soft-landing’ of new ideas and innovations.
  • What role does organisational design play in changing organisational culture? Workforce design is clearly becoming a significant factor in how adept organisations are at delivering sustainable digital transformation. There is a clear understanding within most organisations that in order to attract and retain the best talent, they have to ensure that the structure and environment meets the needs of employee groups that are likely to embrace innovation within their organisation. Take IT infrastructure as an example. Does your IT infrastructure proposition really support talent attraction and retention? Or, is it never right first time, with a poor user experience that drives frustration and inefficiency? In essence, organisations must strive to create a multi-disciplinary environment. This is only possible if we consider which tribe each of our stakeholder groups may belong to or where they see themselves on the change curve. Simple things like striving to adopt a common language when discussing digital topics will help to drive consistency and confidence in relation to key areas and help to drive positive outcomes.
  • ‘Innovation only comes in on a Tuesday’. This was a comment made in jest by one of the groups during the discussion. Sadly though, this is not too far from the reality within some organisations. Just like the way in which we must all be committed to creating a multi-disciplinary environment, we must also look to a future where innovation is not contained within one team or individual. It is cultural and getting it right is the key to success.
  • How do we make it real for people so that they are open to hearing more about digital and can grasp a better understanding? We all have a responsibility to educate ourselves and others and to be able to look at outcomes and impact rather than thinking about how the latest technology should be incorporated. We must be concise and keep making sure we don’t blind people with science. If the technology doesn’t fit the solution, don’t try and shoehorn it in. I’ve lost count of the amount of times an ‘app’ has been delivered as part of a project just because a senior stakeholder wants one.
  • Does ‘Agile’ have a role to play in digital transformation? Agile is a development method, and there is a clear role for it if the project demands it. Similar to the previous point, there’s no point in focusing on it unless there is deemed to be a clear business, environmental or social impact.

You can find more of my thoughts on this topic here. I’d love to hear what you think about the subjects outlined above, as well as any organisational challenges you are currently facing with regards to digital transformation.

Further insights from Catherine can be found in our January edition of Intelligence - read it on our Intelligence landing page here.

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