a decade of digital transformation

With a focus on improving collaboration, sensemaking, and knowledge sharing in teams, communities and networks, I have had the privilege of working with a wide variety of clients.

Ten years ago I tried to convince senior federal public servants of the importance of social media and how they would have to change their relationship with citizens. This presentation fell on deaf years. I had much more success working with Dominos in incorporating personal knowledge mastery into their leadership training.

Other companies like Cigna, AstraZeneca, and ING Bank were open to changing their approach to supporting learning in the workflow and enabling cross-departmental cooperation. Carlsberg added PKM and social learning to their year-long global leadership program. More recently I worked with Citi to develop a global social learning program based on PKM.

So what has changed in the past decade?

  • The pandemic has accelerated the shift to a network economy.
  • There is a greater understanding that collaboration in work teams is not enough for organizational agility and that cooperation in communities of practice and networks is necessary for most people across the enterprise.
  • Some people in positions of leadership are realizing that their job is to make their networks smarter, not tell people what to do — “Hierarchical authority is much more effective at securing compliance than it is in fostering genuine commitment.”Peter Senge
  • The technology has become easier to use — with simple tools like Zoom — so cooperating beyond the enterprise is getting easier.

What has not changed is that making this shift takes time and effort. There are no easy solutions or simple recipes. Becoming a digitally connected learning organization in the 21st century is a shared journey. I am seeing a new generation of organizational leaders who are more willing to take on this challenge, as they see that many of the old ways that focused on competition and command & control are no longer effective.

networked organization

Open human structures enable transparent knowledge sharing which fosters innovation from diversity and then reinforces these structures. Over time, trust emerges and knowledge flows faster.

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