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Digital Transformation: Who to follow on Twitter

For most business leaders, a major concern is the emergence of disruptive digital challengers to established business models. With the accelerated speed at which technology is developing, staying current and up-to-date is a challenge. For these reasons, we’ve pulled together this list of online influencers who are actively engaged in writing about and sharing relevant information about digital transformation across a variety of industries.

Tim O’Reilly | | @timoreilly

Tim O’Reilly is the founder, CEO, and Chairman of O’Reilly Media, and a partner at early stage venture firm O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV). O’Reilly is a thought leader with a history of driving conversations that have reshaped the computer industry around topics such as open source software, web 2.0, government as a platform and “the WTF economy.”

Ray Wang | | @rwang0

Ray Wang is the Founder and Chairman of Constellation Research, Inc. He’s the author of Disrupting Digital Business, published by Harvard Business Review Press, and the popular business strategy and technology blog, A Software Insider’s Point of View. He has held executive roles in product, marketing, strategy, and consulting at a variety of companies.

Kirk D Borne | | @KirkDBorne

Kirk Borne is Principal Data Scientist within Booz Allen Hamilton’s Strategic Innovation Group (SIG). In this role, Borne is responsible for advancing data science techniques and delivering cutting-edge capabilities to the firm’s clients across disciplines. He’s a top influencer on topics such as big data, machine learning and IoT.

Dion Hinchcliffe | | @dhinchcliffe

Recognized business strategist and transformation consultant, Dion Hinchcliffe is widely regarded as an influential figure in social business, digital strategy, and enterprise IT. Hinchcliffe is currently Chief Strategy Officer at 7Summits and is an industry expert on the topics of digital transformation, social collaboration and next-generation enterprises. He is co-author of Web 2.0 Architectures (O’Reilly), as well as Social Business by Design (John Wiley & Sons, 2012).

Ronald Van Loon | | @Ronald_vanLoon

Ronald Van Loon is Director of Adversitement, a digital consulting firm specializing in Big Data implementations for leading businesses. He is a recognized thought leader and innovator in the field of digital transformation. He maintains an active blog and Twitter presence and is the owner of a Big Data discussion group on LinkedIn with approximately 7,000 members.

Doug Laney | | @Doug_Laney

Doug Laney is a research analyst with Gartner. He advises clients on data and analytics strategy, information innovation, and infonomics (measuring, managing and monetizing information as an actual corporate asset).

Tamara McCleary | | @TamaraMcCleary

Tamara is an internationally-recognized expert on branding, influence, and social business, and the Founder and CEO of Thulium, a brand amplification company. As a keynote speaker, Tamara presents on topics at the intersection of marketing and technology; MarTech, Influencer Marketing in B2B & Enterprise, Social Media Account-Based Marketing, Marketing to Women in the B2C Retail Space, Generational Marketing, Marketing to Millennials, Gender Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Influence & Thought Leadership, Employee Advocacy & Engagement, Women’s Leadership.

Don Tapscott | | @dtapscott

Don Tapscott has been at the forefront of the digital economy for over three decades. He’s the author of 15 books, including Paradigm Shift, The Digital Economy, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything and, most recently, co-authored with his son Alexander, Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Underlying Bitcoin is Changing Business, Money and the World. Whatever is happening in technology and digital transformation, you can be sure that Tapscott will be talking about it before most others.

Daniel Newman | | @danielnewmanUV

Daniel Newman is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, contributor to many popular media outlets, and adjunct professor. He has is the author of 5 Amazon Best Selling Books, including: Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy, The Ultimate Field Guide to Digital Program Management, Evolve: Marketing as we know it is Doomed, The Millennial CEO, and The New Rules of Customer Engagement.

Charlene Li | | @charleneli

Charlene Li is a Principal Analyst at Altimeter and has published three major books including the New York Times bestseller, Open Leadership. Her newest book, The Engaged Leader, was published in March 2015. She is one of the foremost experts on business strategy and disruptive technology, and a sought-after speaker and advisor to many top global companies.

Shelley Kramer | | @ShellyKramer

Shelly Kramer, co-founder of V3*Broadsuite, has over 20 years of experience in marketing veteran. As a brand strategist delivering integrated marketing solutions in both the B2B and B2C space, she helps businesses leverage the web for growth and profitability. She’s an expert at multi-channel marketing, content strategy and execution, and connecting social media to business initiatives.

Michael Krigsman | | @mkrigsman

Michael Krigsman is an internationally-recognized industry analyst and host of CXOTALK. He has written over 1,000 articles on topics related to innovation as a columnist for ZDNet, particularly around digital transformation and leadership. His work is frequently referenced in major newspapers, television, radio, trade publications, presentations, academic dissertations, blogs, and other media. Michael has been quoted in roughly 50 books, published in the Wall Street Journal, and is syndicated on important technology websites.

Gloria Lombardi | | @LOMBARDI_GLORIA

Gloria Lombardi is an author, journalist, publisher, and founder of MARGINALIA, a magazine about the future of work. She is primarily interested in innovation, internal communications, digital transformation, tech, and publishing.

Oliver Bussmann | | @obussmann

Oliver Bussmann has over 25 years’ experience as a leader in major global organizations, in a wide range of high-tech and financial services sectors spanning diverse geographies. As founder of Bussmann Advisory, he focuses on consulting, coaching and thought leadership services in the areas of digital transformation, innovation and business model re-creation.

Mike Quindazzi | | @MikeQuindazzi

Mike Quindazzi serves as Business Development Leader and Management Consultant at PwC. At PwC, he leads global companies on strategy and transformational initiatives. Specifically, he finds and builds competitive advantages via global expansion, accelerating digital tech (DX), improving customer experience (CX), transforming organizations, and implementing complex systems (HR/ERP).


Nurturing an Innovation and Self-Disruption Culture in Large Organizations

How large organizations can drive change in the face of disruptive competition.

The 21st century has introduced a new generation of competition. Capitalism in the 19th and 20th centuries was largely a matter of ‘bigger is better’. From the early days of the Industrial Revolution through to the 1980s, there was a common set of themes that defined business success: economies of scale, division of labor, quality through minimizing process variance, conglomeration, vertical integration, and so on.

The Information Age brought new capabilities that enabled small business to thrive, unleashing the potential of entrepreneurs everywhere to challenge mature industries and long established business models. Financial services, professional services, transportation, media, advertising, retail are all under threat from non-traditional competitors and disruptive start-ups.

Many large organizations struggle with how to respond and get ahead of these changes.

Why have we failed to make major change happen?

Let’s look at disruptive change from the perspective of a large company that is starting to see small startups entering various parts of their industry: none are having a major impact today, but it is unsettling nonetheless. And with daily business conversations centering around ‘digital, cloud, mobile, social, big data’, and people in meetings talking about the Ubers and Airbnbs of the world, CEOs are on edge, trying to understand and assess the risks and opportunities.

Innovation threats

Creating disruption from within is about more than launching a new initiative with a catchy name or creating an investment fund. It can’t happen without teaching your people how to think and behave more like entrepreneurs, risk takers, and innovators. Making people in all parts of your organization accountable for:

  • voicing new ideas;
  • taking chances;
  • challenging norms (and senior management); and
  • moving things forward in a sometimes ambiguous environment.

Without vocal, repeated and demonstrable support for these behaviors, sustained innovation will not happen.

An organisation’s people are the drivers of innovation and disruption. Executives need to nurture this environment, not try to control and direct. The ideas that will drive the long term success of a company do not come from steering committees. People that live and breathe the business, the customers day in and day out, the intricacies of the products and services, the good, the bad and the ugly of the company, are the ones who will lead the way.

But it’s not as if organizations don’t already have the strong and talented management to recognize and take action to address these issues. So why isn’t it working?

Innovation vs. stagnation: Why do large, well-managed, successful organizations struggle when faced with disruptive change?

Solid research points to at least part of the answer: “Good management was the most powerful reason why leading companies failed to stay atop of their industries.”

The Innovator's Dilemma
‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ – Clayton M. Christensen

Wait, what? Here’s why:

  • Large firms with good management can fail for the exact same reasons they succeed:
    • listening to customers;
    • investing aggressively in technology, process and operational capabilities that their largest customers need;
    • adding new features and services to their product suite;
      carefully studying market trends; and
    • systematically allocating investment capital to innovations that promise the best returns.
  • The research has shown that the principles of good management are only situationally appropriate. Situations involving sustaining versus disruptive technologies require different management approaches.
  • With disruptive change, there are times when it is right not to listen to customers, right to invest in developing products that deliver lower margins and aggressively pursue smaller markets.

Naturally, this cuts against the grain of most organizations’ strategy, management norms, structures, processes and cultures. So getting from here to there is a major challenge.

How to get there: things you can do now

A common trap is following traditional approaches: striking up a project team, creating a committee or having ‘regular meetings’. Forget it. If these activities haven’t worked in the past, even for more standard efforts, why would they work for your most challenging and disruptive priorities?

Try new tactics. Test and learn. Fail fast and try again.

Innovation - Customer Manifesto

Be ready for the ups and downs of the journey and keep moving despite them. When in doubt, remember this quote from Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Here are some new strategies and tactics to consider:

  • Look outside your organization for wisdom and inspiration. Join groups, meetups, and mailing lists on topics that inspire you. (Example, ‘The Customer Development [Manifesto]’ has a lot of statements that can challenge your assumptions).
  • Question and reconsider preconceived notions and assumptions of how change can happen in your organization.
  • Keep in mind, if it doesn’t feel different or uncomfortable, you probably aren’t changing anything.
  • Focus on execution of fundamentals and build a sense of urgency into everything you do.
  • Adopt a startup mindset and culture. Keep things small and focused. Aggressively narrow scope and timelines.
  • Don’t just throw money at things. Be frugal and invest in stages, spending only on what is critical and with milestones tied to progress. Quality of money matters: too much dilutes focus, too little implies lack of commitment and saps energy and speed. Think like an angel or VC.
  • Build your ‘Goldilocks’ team. Is there a team, department, function or group that can propel you to an early success? It should be small enough that clear objectives and outcomes can be defined, while big enough that the result will be significant and measurable.
  • Find smaller opportunities that can get to success quickly. Ones that demonstrate to others that change is possible, taking risks is rewarding, and innovative use of new technologies is happening.
  • Emulate the characteristics of entrepreneurs and startups (probably the same strengths that powered your own company’s early success).

Exercise ways to get fresh perspectives

Just like you would train to run a marathon or study to learn a new language, opening up to new ways of thinking takes effort. Find and study one example of a way to get a fresh perspective and practice trying to gain a new point of view.

Here is one to try: a video that talks about how seeing the entire Earth from Space can change your whole perspective.

Perseverance is most important

There are many traits considered instrumental to business success: customer-centric organizations, singular focus on product and service quality, streamlined delivery, collaborative work, transparency, hunger for results. Above all is persistence. Perseverance. The belief in yourself and your vision. The trail is well worn, with others leaving signposts and markers, which are the wisdom and tactics to help us succeed.

Here are some inspiring success stories that endured repeated failures:

  • WD-40 literally stands for “Water Displacement – 40th Attempt”.
  • James Dyson created 5,127 failed prototypes over 15 year before his first Dyson vacuum cleaner model was proven successful.
  • Angry Birds was Rovio’s 52nd attempt over 8 years.
  • Nine months after launch, Pinterest had “catastrophically small numbers”. The site only had 10,000 users and very few of them were active on a daily basis.
  • Response from Dustin Moskovitz, Facebook co-founder, when asked how he felt about Facebook’s overnight success: “If by ‘overnight success’ you mean staying up and coding all night, every night for six years straight, then it felt quite tiring and stressful.” Facebook was launched as Facemash in 2003 and it took almost 9 years to grow Facebook for an IPO.
  • Starbucks began in 1971 and took 16 years before it started to expand beyond Seattle.
  • OpenTable, the online restaurant reservations site, began in 1998, went public 11 years later in 2009 with a market cap of $626M and in 2014 was sold to Priceline for $2.6B.
  • LinkedIn began in 2002 and launched a year later in 2003. Profitability was achieved 3 years after launch in 2006, it became a publicly traded company in 2011 and was purchased by Microsoft in 2016 for $26.2B.

While there’s no one recipe for success in every business situation, learning how to adapt your mindset and organizational culture to digital innovation and transformation only increase your likelihood of success.


Engage audiences globally through storytelling, video and language

So much of our business lives in a world dominated by English. While this is ‘efficient’ for the West, it belies a bigger issue around how we can engage and dialogue with people around the world in common issues and causes.

Current technology can bring messages to more and more people, using video to tell stories that can inspire change. The key is to provide content that is localized. Speaking to people in their native language. The ability to do this in a fast and inexpensive way has major implications for how knowledge can be spread and shared to people that need it most.

The use of these capabilities is growing in organizations for training, marketing and communications. This innovation can be leveraged for broader social purposes: health, education, social change, and news. Video can be used more and more to create compelling content that has a message and tells a story.

Storytelling in video form is rapidly becoming the dominant way to market, train, inspire, communicate, educate, entertain about all aspects of a business.  And as evidenced by the explosion of time spent on social media and digital communication, and the desire of all companies to emotionally engage with their customers, employees, stakeholders, suppliers – it is becoming increasingly important to communicate with people in their native languages, instead of in languages they might understand only as a 2nd or 3rd language.

Only 6% of the planet speaks English as a native language, another 19% speak it as a 2nd or 3rd language – meaning 75% of the world does not understand English.  As Nelson Mandela says:

Check out our partner DotSub which helps deliver video storytelling campaigns in any language.