Digital thinking: raising the bar

I’m still buzzing from a lively roundtable discussion at the digital leadership breakfast I co-hosted this morning. One of the key themes that struck me in what I was hearing from our guest Chief Digital Officers (CDOs), eCommerce Directors and digital Non Execs (dNED) around the table was an emphasis on finding the best way to leverage Digital Thinking in their businesses.

As with any good roundtable the conversation was lively and wide ranging. We talked about emerging methodologies, we talked about disruptive start-ups, we talked about talent development and we talked about examples of best practice in big companies. But ultimately everyone at the table was focused on what we can all learn. From each other, from inside and outside our businesses, and from everything we do. To leverage Digital Thinking.

The shared stories about waterfall vs. agile and the variations different businesses are adopting to fit their needs concentrated not on the technology and methodologies required but rather on what can be achieved in terms of business and customer impact. Digital Thinking: not dogma.

When we compared what each business is doing to develop digital talent more widely – digital boot-camps, requiring staff to have a ‘digital license to operate’, video learning programmes – they all have one thing in common: adapting to what works in the context of the specific business. Digital Thinking: not a sheep-dip approach.

We discussed testing the water to see how working with start-ups can raise the game of the core business and lift digital performance to the next level – speed-dating with start-ups to partner on new online conversion initiatives, employing your own scout in Silicon Valley to benefit from emerging tech, acquiring start-ups and fostering the learnings across into the core business – different strokes for different folks. Digital Thinking: not accepting the status quo.

And we felt collectively that the approach of adaptive strategies for the big enterprise to pivot the core business strategy – a concept much more familiar in the start-up world – is possible now with the pace of digital change and the insights from customer development and data insights. Digital Thinking: not straight line thinking.

All in all, a fascinating session, thanks to all our guests. It’s safe to say that given the right environment this generation of digital leaders is committed to positive change in their businesses. Digital Thinking: raising the bar.

I’m already excited about planning the next in our series of digital leadership breakfasts.