FAQ 11: What’s the worst way to approach Digital Transformation?

FAQ 11: What’s the worst way to approach Digital Transformation?

Lindsay Herbert, keynote speaker and author of the acclaimed book ‘Digital Transformation’ continues her series answering frequently asked questions on the subject of digital transformation.

Here Lindsay answers the question, “What’s the worst way to approach Digital Transformation?”


I’m Lindsay Herbert. Today’s “Friday’s Answered Question” is going to be a two-part, because the question is “What’s the worst way to approach digital transformation?” and there’s a tie in my book, so for this Friday, I want to say that the worst way is to have a separate team, [a] totally separate entity within the company that’s only in charge of innovation and they’re going to have cool offices. They’re going to have beanbag chairs and everyone’s going to wear jeans to work and they’re going to create lots of prototypes and they’re going to test those prototypes with real users and those users are going to give feedback and you’re going to have some nice real results. But they’re not going to be able to scale a single one of those prototypes, and the reason is because they haven’t been properly integrated in the rest of the business.

Even if the idea is good and the results from the users have been good, the effort that needs to go into scaling something is so much bigger than the effort needed to prototype. If you want that manager and the traditional part of the business to really put that effort in, give up some of their budget, give up some of their people and resource, they have to be just as invested as the people who’ve been sitting on the beanbag chairs coming up with the cool idea, right?  They have to be in that part.

So please, stop creating these separate innovations, centres, units, labs. If you want to have that as a co-working space in a collaboration environment, great. Make sure that the people from the traditional parts of the business spend just as much time in those cool work environments working with the innovation people as the innovation people are working on their own.

Otherwise, all you’ve done is create another silo. You’re going to give a bad name to innovation-into-digital because everyone is going to look at it as something that’s a fun little thing for people to play with, but it never results in any business outcomes, anything real, anything scalable.

So that’s part one. I’ll answer part two next Friday. Thanks!

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