Are you sure that your killer app won't kill your business? Are you really ready for the digital age?

Society and technology are changing at an incredible pace. How can you ensure that you're able to bring a new service to market, test it, measure it, adapt it and successfully deploy it before your competitors catch on and beat you to the punch?

Ideally you'd review your ability to innovate and deliver in a cloud first, mobile first world. This requires examining business, people and technology capabilities.

Moving quickly in this new digital age requires much of the following:

  • customer obsession: creating experiences your customers will love and figuring out how to capture value at an affordable cost. Q: when was the last time you heard a customer rave about the value your products provide? Is that rare?
  • innovation: the ability to integrate ideas across industries is a good start but it goes beyond big ideas. It requires exploring the unknown, learning from failure but driving forward and delivering results despite set backs. Q: what percentage of last year's revenue came from products released in the past 2 years? Compare that to your competitors, are you ahead?
  • agility: the right people and process that embrace data driven experimentation and learning. No great idea will wait forever. You've got a limited window of opportunity, hack your way forward. Please note: Agility covers multiple aspects:
    • agile execution: getting things done in an iterative and adaptive manner. Q: How often do initiatives succeed after significant setback? Is there a growth mindset that supports iterative experimentation and learning?
    • agile decisions: making good decisions even with limited information. The quality of a decision isn't about the outcome but about the likelihood of a successful outcome given the information available at the time the decision was made. Learn from your decision making mistakes and improve. Q: what processes are in place to track and evaluate the decision making quality and improvement over time?
  • insight: data and information driven decision making supports good decision making. Machine learning and analytics can help. If you're unhappy with the results of your decision you might need better data in a more repeatable process and a better model for analysis.
  • leadership: the ability to craft a culture of learning and growth that supports both Innovation and Agility. The kind of leadership that is there answering questions, providing resources, dispensing insight and generally clearing blockers. Without leadership support its going to be hard to experiment, learn and respond quickly. Q: does leadership support a learning growth mindset? Does your corporate culture embrace and encourage smart risk taking?

There are a series of questions you can ask to assess how adept you are in each area and identify areas for improvement. I'll explore samples questions in coming posts.