The speed of technological change is increasing rapidly. It requires us to constantly adapt. Everything we do will become experimental by nature. And guess what? You are the main subject of experimentation.
We are all born curious. It helps us to learn quickly during our childhood and the early years at school. Later at work we discover that learning isn’t over yet. The first few years of our professional lives we invest in bridging the gap and getting the right skills to succeed. As time goes by we learn what we’re good at and what not. But then there's the danger zone: the comfort bubble, the status quo, doing things the way we always did and not paying attention to what’s really happening outside.
"More and more organisations are starting to realize they need to change."
High performing organisations understand they have to reinvent themselves on a regular basis in order to stay out of that danger zone and remain competitive. Disrupting businesses go a step further. They use the latest technologies to their competitive advantage to do things no one has ever thought of doing before, even creating new business models (think of AirBnb, Netflix and the likes). So what can we learn from these types of organisations? Surely that change is the only constant. Change is why recruiters of these companies prefer looking at the potential of candidates instead of their past achievements. Potential as the key indicator of ones ability to learn and adapt.
More and more organisations are starting to realize they need to change and are going through a digital transformation. A digital transformation is about fundamentally changing the way you operate and deliver value to your customer by leveraging digital technology into all areas of your business. Applying digital technology while at the same time this technology is so rapidly evolving is however a major challenge. It requires a culture where curiosity and continuous learning is at the core. Where it is encouraged to experiment and it is o.k. to fail while doing so. Where the purpose for everyone in the organisation is clear and data is at the heart of the decision making. It also requires an IT landscape that is able to keep up with the same rapid pace of change. Cloud technology for example is designed to scale from one-off experiments to applications serving millions of users around the globe without the need of big upfront investments. Visionary leadership and power to execute are also required as changing an organisation is a tough thing.
"When technology is changing so fast you will be doing things for the first time… a lot."
Companies that reach a high level of maturity in their digital transformation are putting data and analytics at the core of their innovation. They understand the necessity to experiment a lot in terms of: trying out what works best for the customer, trying out how to increase conversion in order to sell more, trying out new enabling technologies, etc. They also believe that the best decisions are based on facts and so they measure their experiments and let the data speak for itself. A lot of companies nowadays are experimenting on how to use technologies like machine learning to continuously learn from and adapt to customer behavior. You as a customer have basically become the main subject of continuous data driven experiments.
When technology is changing so fast you will be doing things for the first time… a lot. In a sense everything we do will become experimental by nature. Continuous learning is part of your everyday life. The good news is that it only requires the one thing we were all born with: curiosity.
So unleash your curiosity and ask yourself each day: “did I do something new?”
This is the first in a series of short blogs I will write about different aspects of digital transformation. This writing reflects my personal view. What I write doesn’t necessarily reflect directions or views of the companies I work or have worked for.
This article was first published on LinkedIn. Cover image: iStock.com/RichVintage