The Technology Crutch and Crossing the Cultural Learning Chasm – Data Science Central
“The future is already here. It is just unevenly distributed.” – William Gibson
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) released research showing that while 94% of companies have big aspirations to deliver substantial impact via digital transformation, the majority of these digital transformations will fail. Their research highlighted five challenges that organizations must address to successfully execute their digital transformation (Figure 1):
- Making the right choices among disruptive technologies, with the top three disruptive technologies being advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, and IoT
- Reaching scale fast with new digital solutions
- Recruiting digital talent with the top three hires being in advanced tech, software engineers, and data scientists
- Prioritizing investment and development
- Managing the cost and uncertainty of return on investment
Figure 1: BCG “Mind the Tech Gap” Research
Useful list but misses the most important transformation necessary to an organization’s digital transformation aspirations – cultural learning transformation!
To quote my colleague Henrik Göthberg, “The cycle for each technology revolution has shortened. We are now in a state where it is not meaningful to describe it as a revolution anymore. Instead, we are now in a state of continuous learning and adaptability.”
And this state of continuous learning and adapting is driven by the Law of Accelerating Returns.
Law of Accelerating Returns states that the human and cultural learnings from technology advancements feed on themselves, thereby accelerating the rate of advancements and pushing the overall technology advancements well past the linear extrapolation of current progress.
The rate of progress of an evolutionary process increases exponentially as the culture of an organization continuously learns and adapts to the practical, real-world application of the technology advancements. Yes, mastering the “Economies of Learning” are mandatory in a world of constant technology, society, environmental, economic, and political disruption.
Economies of Learning measures organization’s value creation effectiveness from continuously learning and adapting of the organization’s human and analytics assets from operational interactions
So, 1) given the importance of economies of learning in a world of constant change, and 2) given how important creating a culture of continuous learning and adapting is for exploiting the economies of learning, why then, is it so hard to get organizations to prioritize cultural learning transformation? Let’s explore that question.
I think it’s easy for senior management to get sucked into the potential of tech. Nearly every business executive gets excited about the business potential of AI to create semi-autonomous products and processes, Blockchain to accelerate point-to-point commerce, and Quantum Computing to solve previously unsolvable operational problems. Heck, it’s the stuff of movies!
But addressing cultural learning transformation requires senior management to actually change their management and leadership behaviors, and that’s the challenge. Here is a list of actions that senior management can take today to start to cross that Cultural Learning Chasm.
1) Empower Everyone in the Organization
Crossing the Cultural Learning Chasm starts by creating and empowering agile teams founded around common language and mission to accelerate learning and adapting in fluid operational situations. That requires leadership to push authority and responsibility down to the points in the organization where the decisions get made. And that means giving up the traditional command and control management structures.
As I discussed in “5 Ways to Empower Your Team …….