Human beings are engaged in a constant struggle to transform their lives with a desire to re-engineering their way of living and interacting with their environments. Life must be transformed continuously. Digital thinking is the basic ingredient for recreating, redesigning and reorganising life and its significance in the 21 st Century. Reaching out into a knowledge economy is one of the primary motives of digital citizens. That goal is only achievable through digital rewiring and reconfiguration of the human mind. The brain must be trained to adopt flexible and immersive thinking, the kind of thinking that generates digital images of hyper-connected and unadulterated digital futures whose goal is to consciously and deliberately change the world. With prolific digital thinking, digital citizens can discover new and amazing ways of engaging with their future in which the world offers infinite opportunities for digital futures and solutions to complex problems. Transformation becomes continuous digital innovation characterised by blue ocean strategic engagement interfacing the present and the future.

In the 21 st Century, life must find significance in creating uncontested digital thinking spaces that condemn rivalry into perpetual irrelevance driven by blue ocean digital thinking algorithms. Emphasis is on blue ocean strategic thinking avenues because the impending digitalised future is a virgin space, a typical blue ocean. It is one that demands both individual and collective, personal and institutional digital innovation perspectives of unprecedented magnitudes in human history.

Hinings et al., pointed out that digital innovation is creating and putting novel products and services into the world [1]. It is all about marshalling the collective power of blue ocean digital thinking to unleash multitudes of digital novel innovations designed to disrupt existing structures, practices, perspectives, values and systems. Old rules of the game must collapse and give way to new dynamics. Classic and analogue thinkers and actors must create adequate spaces for digital novel thinkers and actors. Classic business models and strategies of doing business must contend with rapid inching towards their full stops. Digital transformation should be viewed through the prism of radical disruption, shattering ceilings and walls that limit the exploratory and discovering power of digital mindsets. Blue ocean digital strategy automatically positions itself as a great threat to the status quo, boldly asserting itself as the future of life. Apart from threatening to replace the status quo, blue ocean digital strategic thinking does not hold prisoner to wholesome negation of the past and the present. Rather, it seeks to draw critical lessons from the past and prolong, only as long and as is necessary, existing perspectives that define the rules of the game. Its agenda is to rapidly usher in novel ways of executing life. New digital systems must increasingly drive transformation, always pointing towards unexplored futures. Only when these requisite conditions are met can digital novelty earn the needed social approval or digital legitimacy in the eyes of digital citizens [2].

Change by digital transformation is what the world has been waiting for. Change driven by digital transformation questions everything analogue and warms up to flexible digital thinking which holds promises of novelty of the future. The meaning of this is that digital transformation totally negates any views that purport to perpetuate any perspective bent on convincing digital citizens and 21 st Century stakeholders that analogue systems, infrastructure and their protagonists still have a role to play in designing and re-engineering the digital future of humanity. Simply put, analogue building blocks cannot offer alternative and sustainable creative climates and “makerspaces” in which digital era human capital can thrive [3]. New theories that aim at changing perspectives on digital innovation must now rise and replace classical theories of the analogue era. Many scholars now converge on this proposition [4], [5] and [6]. Theories on development and reorganisation of digital personality traits, competencies and talents must be allowed to coalesce around and within institutional frameworks under the tutelage of the digital era psychology and HR functions.

A powerful combination of advanced futuristic visioning, digital psychological thinking, transformational HR practices and disruptive digital innovation perspectives leads to blue ocean strategic digital thinking. Inside this paradigm, it is not difficult to envisage the perfect consummation of the dynamics of a shared economy shaped by the next generation of digital talent and competencies as propounded by Mair and Reischauer [7]. In a knowledge economy, digital skills, competencies and talent are the most critical ingredients of a technology-ready human capital that is designed to create new frontiers of uncontested markets for 21 st Century organisations. A human capital saturated with blue ocean strategic digital thinking is the springboard from which next generation of digital business models are launched.

Out of the belly of blue ocean strategic digital thinking new products, services and jobs of the future emerge. Digital technology horizons are beckoning, fomenting the rise in oftenly inconceivable product and service innovation. Emerging technologies have been perceived to be the missing link and “needed dynamic tools” for 21 st Century firms to push with aggression the horizons of emerging digital innovation processes [8]. With the right digital technologies, companies can challenge traditional assumptions and ways of doing business, restructuring and reconfiguration of entire industries, extraction and packaging of value proposition, as well as their strategic positioning in achieving business goals and objectives. Digital innovation technologies serve as the gateway to adequate brand expression in the form of unique digital customer experience. New ways of forecasting and interpreting what the future holds in store for the digital world of work and business begin to permeate managerial, leadership thought processes and boardroom practice alike, thanks to such emerging technologies.

Several questions should be addressed as part of an on-going inquiry into what should dominate business strategy, managerial and boardroom thinking and, indeed, all leadership narratives, as the world glides towards fully-fledged digital transformation and Industry 4.0. Certainly, it cannot be business as usual. Forward-looking organisational narratives need to be birthed and shaped by a bold invocation of disruptive thinking at all the echelons of organisational leadership. It takes well informed courage to confront and overcome old-age analogue paradigms cemented into classical pillars of resistance to organisational transformation. True digital culture starts from, and gains traction through, honest conversations at the strategic leadership level. Top leadership should give clear signals of their commitment to flexibility and open-mindedness as they encourage conversations around the hard questions regarding their envisioned future and role of the HR practice in the 21 st Century.


[1], [2] Hinings, B., Gegenhuber, T., & Greenwood, R. (2018). Digital innovation and transformation: An institutional perspective, Information and Organization, 28(1), 52-61.

[3] West, J., & Greul, A. (2016). Atoms matter: The role of local “makerspaces” in the coming digital economy X. Olleros, M. Zhegu (Eds.), Research Handbook on Digital Transformations, 182-202.

[4] Nambisan, S., Lyytinen, K., Majchrzak, A., & Song, M. (2017). Digital innovation management: Reinventing innovation management research in a digital world. MIS Quarterly, 41, 223-236.

[5] Svahn, F., Mathiassen, L., & Lindgren R. (2017). Embracing digital innovation in incumbent firms: How Volvo cars managed competing concerns. MIS Quarterly, 41 (1), 239-253.

[6] Yoo, Y., Boland, R.J., & Lyytinen, K., & Majchrzak, A. (2012). Organizing for innovation in the digitized world. Organization Science, 23 (5), 1398-1408.

[7] Mair, J., & Reischauer, G. (2017). Capturing the dynamics of the sharing economy: Institutional research on the plural forms and practices of sharing economy organizations. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 125, 11-20.

[8] Nylén, D. and Holström, J. (2015). Digital innovation strategy: A framework for diagnosing and improving digital product and service innovation. Business Horizons, 58. 57-67.


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