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You are here: Home > ConnectingTheDots scrapbook > Wordbook: Digital Transformation and Innovation- the social impacts

Viewed 505 times | Published on 2019-12-28 21:27:11

While the first part of the title is familiar to everybody, and there is at least a partial convergence on its meaning, the second part is still a matter of debate.

Few days ago posted a video on my YouTube channel on change, as usual a presentation built as a narrative through bullet lists: https://robertolofaro.com/ctr-socialimpacts.

The purpose is to inspire thinking, not to provide answers.

The key theme across the video is simple: we got used to read on a daily basis on mainstream media about "digital transformation" and "innovation", usually in a blend covering both- and often with a bit of scaremongering.

The video actually builds upon previous videos posted on my YouTube channel on change since early 2019, https://robertolofaro.com/ctr-channel.

Being just a dozen minutes long, and mainly built as a bullet list through a roadmap of points that are actually more questions than assertions, obviously most of the points will raise more doubts than offering solutions.

Maybe eventually will add more material on each section, but, for the time being, I wanted this video to close close the circle on my 2019 videos on change.

In reality, I think that, as I wrote often in the past, change has to be seen within the overall context where change is applied- a systemic context.

And this all start with... understanding where you are, either before or after you have a rough idea of where you want to be heading to.

The most puzzling element in many change initiatives that I observed or studied (I tried to avoid it in those I was part of or leading), both on the micro-economic and macro-economic level is how often they sound as if designed by a big architect... playing with Lego(tm) bricks.

In my first "digitalization" projects in the 1980s, sometimes offices were receiving their first desktop computers.

And, at the time, most of the "digitalization" meant exactly that: convert existing processes into something supported by computers.

Digital transformation has an additional element of complexity: it properly applied, there is a significant element of innovation.

Specifically, the point is not just to improve efficiency, or even efficacy, but to consider what you need to do, and what you will need to do further down the road.

A short narrative through the themes of the video (in bold each of the themes, as shown on YouTube):
1. outlining the basics
there are implications within any change, but it has to be considered the current trend: is it real change?. Of course, I think that it is.
2. understanding where you are
this is certainly worth doig before you start and change initiative, and implies that you know your environment (something that shouldn't be taken for granted).
3. some use indirect methods to implement change
as an example- changing Europe has been done since the Treaty of Rome often via a blend of crisis management and crisis generation. But it is correct to usecrises as a facilitator? Personally, I doubt- it is more a matter of choices, choices, choices
4. thinking systemically has other implications
A start should be to consider what does mean participation in the XXI century, as transitions are affected by what is considered "normal"- including importing tension that is generated outside your own control.
5. as an example, I consider few cases
About what could come, e.g. urbanization and a new concept of subsidiarity, but also what is already starting to change, e.g. in automotive, banking, and maintenance.
6. there are few key concepts about transformation that affects the implementation of any change
phasing out isn't a trivial issue, as temporarily you will have an overlapping between the old and the new, and how that works out depends on how well defined is your teleology of transitions, i.e. "why" more than "how" you are implementing change, as well as how do you plan to manage conflicts of interests, and how will be managed cases of continuity seeking>/strong> (as any change affects the business continuity of somebody).
7. most changes involving digital transformation and innovation will, in effect
alter the models of interaction, and specifically the social models considered as your "reference framework". We are moving from the mid-XX century pyramid, to what is our recent and current model, the early XXI century hourglass. Professional media and commentators often talk about the techno-enthusiasts model, but in reality so far the GAFAs (Google Apple Facebook Amazon) of this world are getting closed to the tech-elitist model- as if the choice were between addiction and providing addiction, and then replacing with a new form of addiction, not the model enthusiasts often promote.

Each one of the themes obviously deserves more than the roughly 20 seconds of thinking provided to each by the bullet lists- but while I will add more material in the future, you can search within this website to find other articles where I discussed the same themes.