Digital Strategy at Warp Speed: Innovate and Fail Fast

Part eight of a series

Another key area where digital is different is rate of change. While systems technologies have continued to change constantly since the ‘70s, digital takes it to a whole new level. There is no recipe book for combining everything that digital encompasses into successful, profitable offerings.

This pace of change requires digital leaders to approach adaption and innovation differently. Organizations that continue to utilize traditional, multi-year processes to conceptualize, approve, design, develop, test and deploy a product or service will only result in solutions that address yesterday’s opportunities with yesterday’s technologies.

How aggressively you change is a key, defining component of your digital strategy.

This reality is a daunting challenge for large, established organizations, particularly those that have entrenched R&D, portfolio management and product development processes that were designed to support small-scale refinements of products and services and adhere to regulatory compliance.

Silicon Valley and Internet startup companies, unencumbered with legacy businesses, continuously fine-tune their processes to try new things, get them to market quickly, learn from customer reactions and then either make adjustments and scale – OR scrap and focus elsewhere (hard to do when you’ve invested too much).

It’s a very different mindset, one that requires traditional companies to make adjustments in culture, process and leadership. Some of the biggest adjustments include:

  • Introducing innovation functions within the organization and ultimately looking for innovation throughout the organization ( a whole topic in and of itself)
  • Increasing velocity by piloting with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  • Making data-based decisions
  • Being willing to fail more often and increasing the number of balls in the air at the same time
  • Putting technology and processes in place to quickly deploy and pilot new things.

How aggressively you change is a key, defining component of your digital strategy. Easing into a new model in a parallel process, pilot project or part of change program are all potential approaches.

In my next post, I’ll talk about implementing a multi-speed engine as a way to start moving part of your organization at digital speed, while simultaneously maintaining legacy approaches.

Read the Series


zink-150x150John Zink is the Digital Strategy Practice Lead for Centric Consulting, responsible for client engagements, project methodologies and practices. He is passionate about aligning Digital Strategy with the overall business objectives and helping clients deliver change by leveraging enabling digital technologies.

John spent 13 years with a Big 4 Consulting firm and over 15 years in IT and Financial Service operations executive leadership positions. His experience in living on both sides of the business operations and technology spectrum in organizations provides him with a unique perspective that bridges the often too-wide gap in how these stakeholders look at their businesses and digital opportunities.

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