What is Digital Disruption and How Companies can Embrace it?


Today the only source of competitive advantage and value delivering comes from seeing what customers need and delivering it.

Digital disruptors are changing complete industries, delivering value at a lower costs, with faster development times and with greater impact on customer experience.

Digital disruption

Digital disruption is simply a mindset that leads to a way of behaving; a mindset that bypasses traditional off-line obstacles, eliminating the gaps and boundaries that prevent people and companies from giving customers what they need in the moment that they want it.

Digital disruptors are obsessed with measuring results and rapid innovation cycles in which failure and mistakes are viewed as feedback.

Always evaluate your customer, benefits, business and product

  1. Customer: isolate the core target customers and make some smart guesses about what makes them tick. Ask yourself what your target customer really needs
  2. Benefits: what is the next thing that customer needs?, express the need in terms of what the customer will get out of the deal if you succeed.
  3. Business: what will we get out of it if we innovate?
  4. Product: the art of harmonising Customer, Benefits, Business and Product into a single approach

In other words, you need to focus on creating innovations that are most likely to give the consumers you want to reach the benefits they really desire while achieving strategic outcomes that are meaningful to the organisation.

How to deal with digital disruption inside a large company?

  • Create small innovation teams
  • Identify silos and break down the boundaries between them
  • Get senior executives to commit their support
  • Insist on short development time frames

Digital disruptors constantly seek for the adjacent possible:

  • Asking a simple question “what is the next thing my customer needs?
  • Iterating so quickly from one adjacent to the next
  • Giving the customer the next logical thing, or things

Digital disruptors keep the scope of their innovations small. Rather than creating a five-year innovation plan, digital disruptors proceed from adjacent possibility to adjacent possibility, occasionally failing, but failing so quickly and so cheaply that recovery can be nearly immediate.

Read more: James McQuivey. “Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation“. Amazon Publishing.

What are the Responsibilities of a Program Manager?


We know that programs are longer-term collections of related projects and other activities that will be managed in a coordinated way.

Program manegement

A Program manager goal is not about managing the details of each individual project, but rather about managing the big picture, in order to achieve the strategic objectives and realise the benefits for which the program is designed.

What are the Program Manager tasks:

Program Manager is responsible for leading and managing the program from its initial set up, through the delivery of new capabilities and realisation of benefits to program closure. The program manager has primary responsibility for successful delivery of the new capabilities and establishing program governance.

  1. Managing the inter-dependencies between the individual projects in the program
  2. Prioritising issues that arise from different projects
  3. Making sure the strategic goals and objectives of the organisation for which the projects are being executed
  4. Realisation of benefits from the program
  5. Management of stakeholders
  6. Management of program risks
  7. Oversee the projects in the program and provide high level guidance to the project managers

Management Skills of a Program Manager:

  1. Change: not only expect change but actively encourage it in order to maximise the strategic benefits of the program
  2. Leadership Style: focus on managing relationships, conflict resolution and the political aspects of stakeholder management
  3. Management skills: need to provide overall vision and leadership
  4. People Management: manage the project managers
  5. Planning: responsible for performing high level planning and providing guidance to project managers for their detailed project planning
  6. Success: measured in terms of return on investment (ROI), benefit realisation and new operational capabilities delivered by the program

Stop Planing and Start Acting


Being creative and innovative is not enough, you still need to act.

Many people get stuck between wanting to act and taking action. Professors Bob Sutton and Jeffrey Pfeffer call this the “knowing-doing gap”: the space between what we know we should do and what we actually do. This cal lead the company to have a paralysis by analysis, this is when talk becomes a substitute for action.

Yoya, Do or do not there is no try

A corporate example of paralysis by analysis is Eastman Kodak company, in mid 1990’s the leadership team had a deep expertise and intellectually understood that the future of photography was digital, Kodak had actually invented the digital camera in 1975 and later they pioneered the world’s first megapixel sensor. So why all this knowledge and technology was not marketed by Kodak, why they didn’t take action?

Kodak had basically owned the consumer and professional photography market for at least 100 years, with in some segments having a market share as high as 90%. Facing strong global competitors in the digital market like Cannon, Sony, Nikon, Kodak knew that it will struggle and the management team had fear of failure.

What happened to Kodak is not due to lack of information or leadership expertise; its failure was to not being able to turn insight into action, as a result one of the most important corporations lost its way.

To achieve goals, to overcome obstacles in your way, you have to be focused on getting it done now. As Yoda (from Stars Wars) put it to Luke Skywalker “Do or do not. There is no try”.

8 tips to turn insight into action:

  1. Start with the end goal in mind
  2. Fight procrastination by adopting “do it now!” as your mantra
  3. Don’t plan out everything you need to do to finish a project, just focus on the very next thing you need to do to move it forward
  4. Assign a set amount of time per day to work on a task or project
  5. Un-clutter, be able to access what you need, when you need it, without breaking the flow of your work to find it
  6. Break down large goals into smaller steps to make the journey to completion more doable
  7. Prioritise, certain tasks will always hold more priority than others
  8. Stop chasing perfection, getting things done shouldn’t involve mastering perfection

* Image credit hitwallpaper.com

Personal Touch of Innovation


There are plenty of organisations that have fully embrace innovation as the essence of their business model. An example is 3M defines innovation as “New ideas plus action or implementation which results in an improvement, a gain or a profit“. It is not enough to have a good idea only when you act, implement and execute you really innovate.

People is the most important factor of innovation not only the idea or the execution, innovation not only happen, people make it happen. Innovation Network definition of innovation is a lot more complete: “People creating value trough the implementation of new ideas“.

Tom Kelley from IDEO defines 10 personas to give the personal touch of innovation:

1. The Anthropologist learns by observing other people, how they behave and interact physically and emotional with products, services and other people. They do not judge, they observe, they empathise.

2. The Experimenter prototypes new ideas by experimenting, learning, improving based on a process of trial and error. They are best in to take words to sketch, to model and new offering.

3. The Cross-Polinator brings experiences from other environments like organisations, industries, cultures, countries then translate those into innovative solutions. Organisations can hire lots of people with diverse background, cultures and geographies.

4. The Hurdler knows that the path of innovation is not only one step but a journey that takes time and resources, there will be obstacles that need to be need overcome, this persona understands the importance of perseverance and is willing the bend the rules. This person does more with less.

5. The Collaborator helps to bring cross functional teams together and get things done, he often leads from the middle. You can collaborate working not only within the organisation but with clients and customers

6.The Director brings people together, sparks their creative talent, guide them with a great destination postcard and motivate them. There is an old adage in Hollywood “Directing is 90% casting”, great directors build a team of people who need little direction and can lead by example.

7. The Experience Architect designs experiences that go beyond the functionality and act also the emotional part to connect deeper with people. When companies can copy products and services, the price is not the truly differentiator but the experience created around.

8. The Set Designer creates the environment where innovation is created, where teams can do their best. This environment is the physical space that influence behaviour and space.

9. The Caregiver anticipate customer needs and are ready to go to look after them. They always go beyond the mere basic service.

10. The Storyteller builds credibility, triggers emotional connections, good stories help make order out of chaos.

Read more: Tom, Kelley. “The Ten Faces of Innovation: Strategies for Heightening Creativity” Doubleday