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The Key to Digital Transformation: Focus on the Work

June 7th, 2018

The global DISRUPT series of regionally-based meet-ups, comprising their signature 5-minute TED Talks-like presentations, is a unique opportunity for one to articulate an original perspective and to focus on telling as clear, concise and coherent story as possible. LDS’s managing director for Business Strategy and Design, Brad Ivie, was honored with the opportunity to speak at the May 2018 edition of Northern New Jersey’s DISRUPT franchise on “The Key to Digital Transformation: Focus on the Work”.  “This was no slam dunk”, Mr. Ivie explained.  “The highly-structured format is very challenging, so there is no room for verbal missteps.  On top of that, the quality of the other speakers attending was outstanding.  It was an honor to speak alongside such a distinguished and insightful group.”

MIT Sloan: Future of Work Conference

May 29th, 2018

We recently attended the Future of Work conference in New York City hosted by MIT Sloan and its Initiative of Digital Economy (IDE). The event explored the impact of digital progress – especially advancements in general-purpose technologies like AI and machine learning – on traditional jobs, industries, and business models.

In his keynote address, IDE co-director Erik Brynjolfsson observed that even though digital progress makes economic pie bigger, there’s no economic law that everyone, or even most people, benefit.  Assembled panelists and speakers discussed topics ranging from digital ethics and data privacy, to new models of work and work design, to the much needed socio-economic safety net to address worker anxiety.

We Think of Digital Transformation of the Organization in Three Primary Dimensions

May 28th, 2018

LDS has identified a number of critical gaps in industry and management sciences concerning methodology for digital transformation, including translation of digital goals and capabilities into the specifics of work. We have been tackling this gap through deep research and original thinking, including graduate coursework in business management and economic sociology, to develop new protocols around work design and behavioral analysis.

Leveraging Executive Educational Opportunity

April 23rd, 2018

Earlier this year, I was delighted to be accepted into The University of Oxford’s program in Strategy and Innovation, a 12-month, masters-level qualification. LDS has partnered with me to ensure my success at Oxford while continuing to perform in a demanding business strategy role at LDS. The highlight of my first trip to Oxford was meeting my classmates: 67 mid- to executive-level professionals representing 29 nationalities and an exceptional range of industry and functional backgrounds. Back in the States for now, I’ve already leveraged foundational principles of strategy and my peers’ global insights into my job. Cheers!

DisruptHR New York Provides Forum to Exchange Ideas

June 5th, 2017

LDS was excited to participate in DisruptHR’s recent New York chapter May event. DisruptHR is an information exchange designed to energize, inform, and empower executives, business leaders and people in the HR field. There was a wide range of topics that covered talent strategy, culture, onboarding, employee engagement, and so much more. These events employ an engaging presentation style in which speakers present in a format of 20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds.

In the Fall of 2017, LDS will be leading the launch of the Northern New Jersey chapter of DisruptHR. We are very excited to be part of the DisruptHR family in helping to grow and evolve the conversations on talent and digital disruption.

Digital’s Most Fundamental Disruption: Relationships

June 4th, 2017

In our Studio team discussions regarding the essence of digital disruption and transformation it struck us that the most fundamental and profound aspect might be in regards to relationships.

Certainly, relationships are at the essence of all economic and social activity, and relationships have been tremendously disrupted in the past as agrarian society moved to industrial and industrial to “post-industrial”.

However, the range and nature of relationships disrupted (or created anew) in the digital age are telling of the specific sort of new, intractable changes we are now struggling to understand and address in business and society.

The most significant of these digitally-driven changes include:

  • Human to machine: The nature of the interactive experience between humans to non-human actors, such as mobile apps, personal assistants, and virtual reality, as well as to underlying capabilities, such as video content, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Human to human: Human relationships, from those that were directed in companies to be inward-focused and “silo-based” to those that are now actively driven to connect across the enterprise and outside in a wide variety of contexts
  • Business to customer: The role of customers, where the approach to product and service design has changed from a “needs” orientation to a heightened focus on the customer’s “journey” and on new ideas of solution design and value creation
  • Business to business ecosystem: The emergence of the business ecosystem concept, enabling businesses to source all manner of non-critical capability from external providers (e.g., managed services)
  • Employer to employee: The shattering of the traditional employer-employee contract, replaced by many new work arrangements, from temps and contractors to gig workers
  • Employee to manager: The role and responsibilities of employees and managers, to where employees are now expected to take on responsibility for their own careers and development, with the manager (and peers) serving as mentors and sources of feedback
  • Individual to knowledge: The individual’s approach to knowledge broadly, where vigilance for understanding changing business and social direction make the imperative of continuous intellectual self-reinvention perhaps the most important new social norm of this century.

Collectively, these new forms of relationships, along with the pervasive presence of digital technology internally and externally, create a fundamentally new work environment that in turn challenges many, if not most, tenets of traditional organization and work design and dynamics.

Rutgers University Appoints Board Seat

May 23rd, 2017

Tanvi Mody, a member of the LDS Business Strategy & Design team and a Rutgers Executive MBA graduate, was recently offered a board seat at Rutgers University to help advise and shape their innovative Design Thinking Certificate Program. This brand new program features an all-star faculty team of leading practitioners focused on creating a curriculum that generates real world results. In this intensive one-week program, participants are asked to identify a business problem to solve or opportunity to develop in a workshop format. LDS is proud to share its years of experience and expertise solving some of the toughest experience design challenges faced by Fortune 100 organizations to help make this program a premier one of its kind in the United States.

What do Systems and Platforms Mean to the Employee Experience?

May 3rd, 2017

Recently the WEF Global Future Council for Platforms and Systems published an article explaining the concepts of Systems and Platforms and why they are important to creating the necessary environment that maximizes the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s benefits to society and minimizes the risks that come with it.

It posits that all human interactions are participation in systems of others; people, institutions that interact with each other. To really have impact, one needs to understand the dynamics that drive system behavior and outcomes.

Additionally, it defines Platforms as a set of standards and protocols that facilitate interactions between participants in a system. When appropriately designed and deployed, platforms can significantly amplify the impact of systems.

At LDS, these concepts are highly relevant to the work we do for our clients, designing experiences that maximize the participation and engagement of employees inside organizations.

Observing and analyzing organizations as systems is a useful construct for us in the Business Strategy & Design discipline. A digital transformation warrants a broader and deeper understanding of an organization. A “systems” view of an organization lends itself to a structured approach of assessing how people, especially employees, relate and interact within the organizational system to create value. This approach includes clarifying:

  • What are the core and desired capabilities of the business – its key differentiator?
  • How do members of the organization create value – the value chain?
  • What decisions are made in different parts of the organization – the decision flow?
  • How do people and the organization at large learn and evolve – the organizational learning?
  • What norms and beliefs are implicit in people’s actions and behaviors and what shifts are needed in those mindsets and behaviors – the organizational culture?

When designing an “Employee Experience” for large global enterprises, we work to ensure we have the entire business ecosystem in our frame of reference. Our experiences have the most impact when we can guide and influence cohesive relationships across the ecosystem – from the physical and virtual aspects of the workplace to people programs driving engagement.

Employee Experience platforms can amplify the performance and value creation of an organization, when they:

  • Align, engage and motivate employees under a common purpose,
  • Facilitate interactions among and across participants in the organization: the employees, business leaders and technology enablers that support work;
  • Accelerate organizational learning through real-time feedback loops,
  • Capture and express data as insights, and democratize enterprise data by making it more broadly available.

Finally, the most profound idea of a platform is what the article describes as an “increasing returns dynamic”: the more participants you get in a properly functioning system, the more rapidly the value and the impact of that system increases.

Said another way, when a cohesive, well-designed employee experience creates a Network Effect within an organization, there is an exponential increase in the outcomes desired by business leaders spearheading disruptive organizational and cultural transformations of large global enterprises.

Digital Future of Work Summit

May 2nd, 2017

LDS recently participated in the Digital Future of Work Summit organized by the McKinsey Global Institute and NYU | Stern School of Business in New York. An outstanding slate of speakers from business, consulting, not-for-profit, academia, and government addressed pressing economic, work-related and social impacts of digital disruption.

The afternoon also included an interactive design session exercise led by NYU’s Luke Williams, Executive Director of the W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs.

The Vanguard of Innovative Thinking in Talent Management

April 11th, 2017

We are seeing something new and exciting in recent conferences, client meetings and industry research regarding talent-related innovations for organizations. In the past, there has been a long shadow of established human capital gurus and big-name consultancies with “common wisdom” on best practices and tried-and-true methodologies (some going back 40 or more years). Those days are gone.

For example, with the death of traditional performance management processes (e.g., “9 Box” forced ranking) and with the emergence of innovative, digitally-driven ideas about organizational design, career development, and the “employee experience,” much of the thinking (and the demand for new ideas) is coming from the client organizations themselves (i.e., in-house experts) and from emerging new-generation thought leaders.

In both cases, there is a heavy component of rigorous, leading-edge management and behavioral science combined with fresh business design approaches influenced by digital behavior and work practices. This often manifests itself in teams of PhDs, tools for scientifically sound methodology and measurement, application of analytics for end-users, and the like.

This development also runs alongside the opening of organizational silos – companies realize that the critical business issues and objectives that management science could address cannot be constrained within functional units. Big ambitions for building new organizational capability require new models of business design and new ways to assess, design, and implement employee-facing programs and associated experiences.

The traditional players have a lot invested in established methodologies, but the innovators are not tied to this history and are disposing of old ideas wholesale and innovating in very refreshing ways. For the energized, creative thinker, the talent space today is an amazingly open field of opportunity.