I never intend to halt my public writing. It just happens. A client invites me to work on interesting problem, which can lead to another interesting problem or client, and before long only the crickets remain here. During this latest, much prolonged, cricket chorus I’ve been helping clients pursue digital agenda items.
It is critical to digress for a moment to mention: there is no one-size-fits-all digital agenda, nor is there an all encompassing digital solution. The digital agenda of any given organization (or individual) will depend on ambitions and challenges, as enabled or constrained by existing situation and organizational capacity. </digression>
The work I’ve been involved in ranged from developing digital products, to defining organizational capacity, to guiding architecture actions: bimodal cohesion, systems knitting and information pathways.
While the engagements varied in purpose, problem domain and industry, there were common threads — beyond the coalescing digital technologies of cloud, mobile, social, analytics, sensors and such.
The common threads are best described as shifts forced by the digital era. Five that I witnessed in the wild:
- Executive embrace of technology for revenue generation and smarter business actions
- Pivot of attention from the needs of the organization to the needs of the customer (member, citizen)
- Extension (or two) of the data-to-knowledge pipeline to include reaction and revenue
- Reconciliation of designing for change (enterprise architecture) with operating for change (digital product development)
- Recognition that new digital opportunities require new thinking in investment, organization design, roles, practices and measures
An interesting point is who is working on digital initiatives. There are new, often cross-industry, talents who specialize in design, customer experience, or product development. There are deep experts in business, technical or data domains. And at the core are an organization’s go-to problem-solvers.
Those individuals who invariably get tapped on the shoulder to explore new terrain, mount a defense, or unravel a giant hairball. These folks have varied titles, expertise and day jobs, but share traits of critical and systems thinking, curiosity, technical acumen, business savvy, tenacity, collaboration and execution ability.
It is this last group, the go-to problem-solvers that I’ve been thinking about as I pursue my latest independent project. Building from my field work, I’ve begun sketching out key forces, questions, considerations, capacities, actions, implications and so on that inform the pursuit of digital era ambitions and challenges.
The problem space I’ve sketched out includes technical, societal, business, information, organizational, and individual domains, as digital is a cross-discipline, cross-boundary endeavor.
I use the term problem space deliberately, as I’m considering this work from the perspective of a problem-solver, for fellow problem-solvers who are being tasked with crafting and executing their organization’s digital agendas.
I plan to share aspects of my work as I go, along with relevant links and commentary. What I won’t share are specifics on my client work, as non-disclosure is another commonality in pursuing digital ambitions.
If history is a guide, my pursuit and output won’t be linear. But, neither is the subject matter.
And yes, I intend to keep the crickets at bay, at least until summer.