Template: archive.php


Business Design is the Strategic Link

April 5th, 2017

Design Thinking is a Useful Tool, but the Critical Organizational Perspective is Business Design

Design thinking is all the rage today as business leaders seek to leverage an important contemporary approach to analysis and design. Introduced in product and service development, the user-centric orientation of design thinking is highly valuable in developing an understanding of user contexts, pain points, and previously unidentified work practices. The user’s journey through an experience is also very useful.

However, in addition to its product/service orientation, design thinking tends to live “downstream” in the organizational value hierarchy. More fundamental enabling business elements, such as organizational capabilities (think knowledge creation and sharing) and program design (think talent), require a more expansive and robust approach that simultaneously examines business goals, business ecosystems, enabling technologies, and constituent perspectives – all in concert to define logical business relationships and to identify solution requirements that in turn inform organizational design, work design, and experience design.

This perspective is important more than ever as companies seek to develop digital organizational strategies and build essential “digital-first” organizational capabilities that will position them competitively in the future. In a much more complex environment of innovation, where human behavior is deeply commingled with technology, how does the organization function as discrete human activities and practices, and how do these elements come together predictably to serve strategic business goals?

LDS is deeply involved in researching this emerging field of Business Design and developing new, leading-edge work practices, protocols, and methodologies. It’s an exciting field and highly valued by clients who are aggressively pursuing digitalization.

Our Work Realizing Business Strategy

March 29th, 2017

Science tells us that personal reflection adds neural circuitry to your brain by anchoring and deepening your experiences – essentially, a higher form of learning.  With that carrot, I thought I’d look back at a recent experience working at LDS.

The client engagement was a big opportunity for LDS talent solutions.  A global Fortune 50 company had recently formed a new strategic function (Mobility) and needed a digital experience to support employee awareness of and participation in programs.  This project was also a big opportunity for me. As lead Business Strategist, I was responsible for discovery of experience needs and managing the stakeholder relationship with the new global head.

I dove headfirst into research, learning everything I could about the Mobility function in HR. It’s no wonder we’re hearing more about talent or “career” mobility.  The mobility function is undergoing a significant transformation from back-office relocation support to a leading element of people strategy.   Global learning and development opportunities support business strategies of diversity and sustainability, as well as answer a growing interest in the workforce for new and different career experiences. Fascinating!

This opportunistic vision was soon juxtaposed with the realities of what it means to align a corporate function to new business mandates. Our client was reengineering top to bottom, including mobility policies, processes, service delivery, vendor relationships, and technology.  Even its scope was in question (the depth of nuanced employee movement scenarios and their associated cross-functional support needs is staggering)!

I find that consulting is like cooking: the ingredients are there, but there’s an art to creating a meal that your customer will enjoy.  The digital strategy and design work we do at LDS is tailored to each unique client context.  With Mobility, this meant asking ourselves, “How do they think and reason about their space?  What discussion ‘view’ creates a foundation upon which we can logically build our thinking?”  My resulting framework served as a protocol to discover people contexts and needs within their (more familiar) operational model.  A win-win.

Another valuable practice worth noting from this experience was the value of the project team’s collective participation.  Frequent conversations with talented teammates in Architecture and User Experience generated a more rational and targeted requirements effort, and ultimately, a more considered and mature output for detailed design.

Noteworthy takeaways from another great experience at LDS.  On to my next venture exploring a data visualization and decision-making solution leveraging big data and A.I.!

Strategic Business Analyst

March 3rd, 2017

Consultant, Business Strategy & Design

March 3rd, 2017

Columbia University Career Fair

February 12th, 2017

Thank you to the students of Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies for sharing your diverse and accomplished backgrounds. We were impressed with the many insightful conversations!

Aligning Metrics to Strategy

September 13th, 2016

A Strategic Measures and Metrics Program assesses the health and alignment of a digital solution relative to its strategic business objectives.  Regular performance read-outs, including both snapshot and trending views over time, equip stakeholders with feedback critical to evaluating the solution against stated goals and value propositions.

A “nested” measurement model parses each strategic business goal into associated measures of success, and each measure into informing metrics.  Scoring elements – target values and weighting – are layered into the model, creating the Scorecard framework.


Some best practices when implementing a Strategic Metrics and Measures Program:

  • Position as the ‘feedback arm’ of strategic governance and as a critical input to the solution roadmap alongside desired business capabilities, strategic technology goals, and innovation opportunities
  • Identify scorecard recipients and align on a process for consumption, communication and action
  • Define ownership of scorecard creation and plan for ongoing responsibilities, including the coordination of various inputs from associated data owners and the execution and administration of user input protocols
  • In determining scorecard frequency, consider executive needs, effort to update, how often user input can be collected, and importantly, the time span necessary to observe impact of solution changes
  • Iterate the scorecard with the evolving solution and business strategy – even if some trending data is lost – to ensure ongoing measurement of value

What is the Employee Experience?

September 2nd, 2016


Addressing Top CEO Concerns

August 9th, 2016


Drivers of Digital Transformation

March 1st, 2016

Digital transformation: an unprecedented, multi-dimensional confluence of ideas, inter-disciplinary thinking, and distributed expertise – and a revolutionary change in management sciences thinking – merging to drive exponential impacts on business, organization, and culture.

Truth and insight? Or echoes of the platitudes of business transformation from years past?

We wanted to explore this question and assumed a skeptical starting point. We looked deeply at the existing industry literature, then reflected on LDS’s direct experience working with our clients in their digital transformations.

What we found is that digital transformation is markedly different from business transformation, grounded on five tenets (in order of importance) and one qualifier:

  1. Customer at the center of everything – “digital first” approach, design thinking, new interactive services
  2. Disruptive business ecosystems – innovative business models and relationships realized through new services and shared platforms and integrated operations and programs
  3. Inversion of expertise – interdisciplinary thinking and distributed expertise, principle of open knowledge, cross-functional interaction, and hyper-collaborative work practices
  4. Transformation-focused, top-down leadership – new digital vision and abilities, bold business goals, strategic investment in digital, tearing down silos and securing alignment
  5. Application of digital technology – particularly that which is highly personalized and always available, integrated in service of business and user contexts

… all collectively subordinating (and leveraging) traditional business transformation practices (e.g., organization, process, job, change management).

Of course, there is a world of meaning behind these five tenets and their relevance is always particular to the client situation. Also, this does not address the structural nature of digital transformation inside the organization itself (to be described in a forthcoming Point of View article; spoiler alert: the profound importance of the digital employee experience).

Evolution of the Intranet

March 1st, 2016