What Meteorologists from Chicago Can Teach us About “Digital Transformation”
Last week, a friend shared a link to a viral tweet showing meteorologist Greg Dutra discovering, in the middle of his broadcast, that his TV monitor is a touchscreen. With joy and amusement, he realizes on live TV that he can move, zoom, and tilt the audience’s view of his weather report. His reaction is light-hearted as he proclaims, “It is a great day!” On a second viewing, my initial delight gave way to puzzlement: How can a professional weather person find himself on live TV without understanding the digital transformation that had taken place right behind him?
This was a classic example of digital transformation failure.
A 2019 survey of directors, CEOs, and senior executives found that digital transformation risk was their #1 concern. The previous year, an estimated 1.3 trillion dollars worldwide was spent on Digital Transformation initiatives, of which 70% — or $900 billion — did not achieve their stated goal.
So, what can a meteorologist from Chicago (and meteorology in general) teach us about digital transformation?
Digital transformation isn’t about getting teams or people to work harder or about “just” using a new tablet; digital transformation requires thinking differently. How can we learn from others with different perspectives and share our unique ideas in cross-functional teams? How can we rethink formal roles and hierarchies that may have stifled innovation in the past? What changes need to take place in our environments for digital transformation to be successful?
The reality is that digital transformation at its core is only partly about technology; it is also about finding different ways to use what we already have. Fundamental digital transformation starts with the intentional approach to rethinking the needs of clients, customers, or employees. It requires understanding their ever-changing needs and then exploring the data and technology that could improve their experience.
Shifting digital mindsets is about helping people get to a place where they are intentionally trying things they have never thought to do before.
At MNP Digital, our Digital Advisory team works with clients to help them with the complex technical challenges of digital implementations, but also — and more importantly — the people side of the resulting business transformation. In doing so, we work from both the top and the bottom of an organization. We’ve helped countless clients develop organizational strategies that function as keystones for business plans to operationalize even the most complex of organizational objectives. With both strategy and business plans to guide activities, MNP then works collaboratively with organizations to engineer support and ability among their staff through tailored change management and training solutions that help drive and sustain change. We bring an outside perspective to support internal innovation so that our clients are successful.
In the end, digital transformation’s success comes down to shifting the mindset of people. The coolest touchscreens in the world are of no value if we forget to bring people through the change with us. Organizations don’t set out to do “digital transformation” poorly, and yet so many wind up there for various reasons. I wonder how many other metaphorical weather people are out in the world doing their jobs every day, not knowing that if they just reached out and touched their proverbial monitors, they too could experience digital transformational joy on the same level as Greg Dutra. Do you know any of these people? Are they in your team? Are you one of them? Are there a bunch of cool capabilities that I am just one accident away from discovering?
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