We need to talk about transformation.  In the age of Digital, it’s broken.

Let’s take a look at the transformation paradigm: change is happening, whether we are talking about big, disruptive innovation that entirely alters your customers’ expectations, or there’s an accumulation of smaller things which are slowly rendering you ineffective, vulnerable to your competition and irrelevant to your customers.

This is what usually happens next:

  • You define the problem and its solution.
  • You look at what you already have, and what gaps need to be filled.
  • You plan a change programme to bridge those gaps.
  • You starting delivering on the plan.

If you are lucky, you deliver.  If you are very lucky, you delivered something that solves the problem.  If you are incredibly lucky, the world stands still for a while and nothing else major has changed whilst you were doing it.

This would be the ideal scenario but is not always the case. Doing transformation programmes the traditional way over a period of many months or even years means that other, newer programmes have sprung up in the meantime or ,worst case, your organization has drifted further away from what your customer currently wants and needs.

The pace of change has accelerated over the past 20 years as digital drives disruptive innovation and shapes customers’ needs, wants and expectations. To cope, we have found new ways of doing things, brought innovations to market, adopted new technologies, changed our operating models and shifted our culture. And in many cases, transformation programmes have been at the heart of these changes.

And yet, many of us either feel like we are still behind or that we are running on the spot as hard as we can.  So, what will happen when the next big thing hits our market, takes away our customers or even makes what we are doing completely irrelevant?  Is yet another transformation programme going to get us to where we need to be?

At Comotion Digital, we believe in evolution through agility.

Through our work with businesses large and small, across the private and public sectors, it is safe to say we’ve been involved in a number of large scale transformation programmes.  Delivering many products and services has strengthened our belief that much can be learned from combining agile methodologies with a focus on the customer.

Let us take a look at how Agile is typically used:

  • The problem as a whole is defined in terms of who the customer is, what they want and why they want it.
  • The problem as a whole is then broken down into a set of smaller problems expressed in similar terms.
  • We then start working towards solving those smaller problems by delivering solutions in a series of short iterations.
  • By producing solutions regularly and quickly, either complete ones to small problems or partial ones to larger problems, it allows us to gauge our progress.
  • Crucially, we get feedback from customers and the business, which helps us to understand the following:
    • Have our solutions solved those problems?  Is there anything we can change or improve?
    • Are we actually addressing the right problems?  Have we identified the needs correctly? Are we aware of and adapting to new things?
  • Within the team, we also talk about how delivery has gone, and anything we’d improve
  • That feedback then affects:
    • Our understanding of the problem as a whole.
    • The set of smaller problems we have to solve.
    • Our approach to solving them.
    • What our priorities are.
    • The next set of problems we’re going to solve.

Our argument is that, by adapting the principles and approaches of agility and customer focus to your business as a whole, you are evolving your understanding of what your customers need and how you can give it to them whilst delivering change. We think beyond the products and services, taking into account the ‘Production line’ that sustainably delivers them, allowing you to not only meet challenges but to stay ahead of your competition and relevant to your customers.

This is a topic that genuinely excites me, as we think about digitally driven, customer led change. You can be sure I’ll be back with more thoughts soon!

In the meantime, we’d welcome your thoughts and concerns, so please feel free to drop us a line on hello@comotional.com.

Article by Greg Mitchell