Digitalization has to be lead in organizations – but how?

On 30th September I had the chance to participate an event organized by PRY (Projektiyhdistys ), which is the local Finnish association belonging to IPMA (International Project Management Association). IPMA is known for its project management certification system.

The purpose of this theme event of digitalization was to get introduced to methods and lessons that can be of help in advancing digitalization development in organizations in Finland and thus lead us as an economy back to the growth trend.

I think this as a current issue in design thinking as service designers participate in design projects involving digital concepts and their skills are also needed in transforming an organization’s mental mode towards design thinking (DT), due to the growing pressure to digitalize processes or entire business models that requires DT approach.

Why is everybody now talking about digitalization?

Vesa Ilmarinen, the founder of Katalysti company, probed us first on our perceptions of digitalization. He defined it as an operative change that needs leadership. Currently, digitalization is a hype term in the media and it arouses both concerns and hopes. Concerns in that it destroys many jobs and hope in that it creates new kinds of businesses and job opportunities. One could imagine service design to be one of those new opportunities. Vesa mentioned trends leading to digitalization being rapid technological development that affects consumer behavior patterns, shift of power from service and product providers to consumers and thus the increased demand for rapid responses, honesty and transparency from organizations.

Finnish success stories of digitalization

Vesa has recently published a book together with Kai Koskela on challenges of digitalization in Finnish companies, called Digitalisaatiohaaste – Yritysjohdon käsikirja. The first edition was sold out in a month and second one is coming soon. There are plenty of examples of Finnish success stories in the book, here a few he mentioned:

  • Kalevala Koru – 3D-printable plastic jewelry
  • Finnmatkat – travel agency online services
  • Enevo – optimizing disposal of garbage with garbage bins containing sensors

Elementary in making digitalization a success story

according to the authors is not solely the technological capabilities,

but introducing new kind of leadership and ways of working to the organization.

Digitalization often requires renewing strategy,

operative model of the company and the company culture.

How to proceed with this change?

Vesa introduced four lessons on how an organization can take leadership in the digitalization development. They are grouped on the following image with related activities specified further.

4lessons_digitalize_organization

During the remaining part of the event, project manager Pirjo Saksi from Ministry of the Environment shared her experiences on stakeholder management as a tool for leading change. Her project is the first joint development project in the public administration (national register for housing company shares of stock) involving diverse public actors. Thus stakeholder analysis is of great importance to engage everyone and to enable decision making.

(This post contributes to the course of Current Topics in Service Design.)

One thought on “Digitalization has to be lead in organizations – but how?

  1. This is a HUGE question which I think only a few cloud-based companies have cracked to date. ICT transition projects have traditionally been seen as something complex which takes several years to implement. Cloud companies have transitioned from doing ICT-projects to constant delivery (agile + DevOps) around competencies. They can focus on creating constant value to customers instead of doing projects which focus on scope around quality, cost and time. I think design thinking is a major issue missing from ICT-development. It can be implemented by adding customer outcomes as an aspect of business architecture. Business development can then be viewed from the perspectives of IT roadmaps (projects), customer outcomes, business outcomes and others. Focusing on customer outcomes also enables ICT-enabled activity models (such as that of Megaklinikka) which are not completely ICT solutions but require an understanding of the business and its activity.

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