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December 18th: Digital Transformation Leadership Course – “Mastering the PIE,” Led By Gon Nivron

This December 18th, Gon Nivron, Senior Digital Transformation Advisor at i8 Ventures will deliver a lecture as part of a course to Innovation Managers by the Israel Innovation Institute.
Topics covered will include:
  • What is leadership – and how is it different from management?
  • Dealing with change in the fast messy and global = Innovation
  • Why is digital critical to innovation?
  • Mitigating external forces and understanding scalability
  • How? One tool: The Digital PIE (Plan, Implement, Evaluate)

About Gon:

Gon brings over 20 years of experience in International Enterprise Software companies, including Mercury and NICE. He Served in various business and technical leadership positions, with strong customer orientation, influencing business optimization and growth. Today, Gon serves as a Senior Digital Transformation Advisor at i8 Ventures

The Right Order: People, Then Technology

Gerald C. Kane writes in MIT Sloan management review that “The rapid pace of technological innovation is not the key problem posed by digital disruption. The key problem…is people — specifically, the different rates at which people, organizations, and policy respond to technological advances….companies effectively navigate the challenges posed by digital disruption by undertaking initiatives that are far more organizational and managerial than technical.”

In our experience, this is indeed the correct approach, and it means that true digital transformation is mainly about digital transformation leadership. Digital transformation leadership is growing digital infrastructure and adapting new business strategies, but more fundamentally, understanding that the challenge of creating a resilient organization in the digital age is a people challenge. 

The choice to give management and employees the tools to understand and mitigate the digital force is what differentiates organizations that are left behind from those that thrive. This is especially true for companies that were not born digital, and find themselves struggling to keep up, no matter how quick they are to adopt the latest technology. 

Though installing a digital culture may be a less tangible gain than installing, for example, an ERP, a digital culture is the gift that keeps on giving. Both are necessary, but the ROI of building a flourishing digital culture is much more long term. 

That is why, for example, we developed our Strategic Value of Innovative Technology (SVIT) course, which has been taught around the world to senior management, and which we often present in the initial engagement process with organizations. In the course, participants are taught to integrate new technologies with business models, and to understand the power of the digital force. A wake up call together with practical know-how. 

Leading similar initiatives in your organization is critical to crafting a more agile and digitally innovative culture. When you decide to embark on a journey of digital transformation, always remember the right order: First people, then the technology. 

November 2019 Update

Welcome to our November 2019 update, where we share our latest publications on Innovating innovating.

i8 Ventures is a boutique consultancy specializing in digital transformation leadership. 

Yours Sincerely,
Prof. Yesha Sivan and the team

Innovating Innovating
MK Nir Barkat; Investor, Former Mayor of Jerusalem

In this video, Nir Barkat, Member of Knesset and Former Mayor of Jerusalem talks leading innovation both in public office and as a private entrepreneur.

(Read More & See Video…)

Leadership
New Digital Leadership Course, Led by Professor Yesha Sivan at Tel Aviv University Lahav School of Executive Education (Feb-April 2020)

Pre-Registration has begun! Explore the intersection between business strategy and advanced technologies – and learn the skills necessary to manage and lead digital transformation in your organization. Course begins February 2020.

(More Details…)

i8 Research
Moving From Digital 1.0 to 2.0; Know the Difference Between “Regular” and 21st Century Digital

Digital 1.0 means your organization has an ERP, CRM, and CMS. These are good things, but don’t rest on your laurels. Digital 2.0 is already here, and the time for a new digital transformation is now.

(Read More)

Digital Strategy
More Innovation Calls for Much More Digital Infrastructure

To survive, companies must increase innovative output; and the key to innovative output is digital infrastructure.

(Read More …)

Case Study
Innovation is Not an Accident – How China Turned Into a Tech Superpower (Book Review of Tech Titans of China)

Are you on Tik Tok? Did Mark Zuckerberg miss the biggest trend in social? Has your friend told you to buy Pinduoduo stock? This is for you. For the last few decades, China has been known as a source of cheap imitation goods. Today, that’s changing — and fast. Learn how China turned into one of the world’s innovation superpowers, and what it could mean for your organization.

(Read More …)

P.S. If you got this from a friend, feel free to sign up for our updates.

Watch: Nir Barkat on Innovating Innovating

On this episode of Innovating Innovating, former Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barakat and Yaakov Eilon discuss leading innovation both as a mayor and a private entrepreneur; Watch More

Nir Barkat started his career in the hi-tech industry by founding a software company called BRM in 1988, which specialized in antivirus software. Later, the company became an incubator venture firm that invested in several companies such as Check Point and Backweb. He later helped found the social investment company IVN, Israel Venture Network. Barkat has said that he has brought the skills he harnessed in his work in high-tech to his role as Mayor: “Now I see myself as a public entrepreneur, so it’s very methodological. We use data and information, and we scale successful pilot studies, using the same approach that I took with technology in the business world to change things in the city.”

Digital Leadership Course at Lahav School of Executive Education Taught by Professor Yesha Sivan

Come join Professor Yesha Sivan at his latest course in digital leadership offered through the Lahal School of Executive Education at Tel Aviv Univeristy.

Explore the intersection between business strategy and advanced technologies – and learn the skills necessary to manage and lead digital transformation in your organization.

Social Networks, Mobile Applications, Business Analytics and Big Data, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Wearable Computing, Cognitive Computing, Advanced Robotics, Internet of Things, Virtual and Augmented Reality, 3D Printing, and more.

Starting date: Febrary 18th 2020

Meetings – Tuesday 16:00-20:00 – 42 academic hours

i8 Focus – Digital Leadership

The Individual Challenge – Lead Change

  • Managers deal with the current; leaders deal with the future.
  • Digital leaders juggle both threats and opportunities – at scale.
  • Bottom line: enhance your digital leadership skills, both at the strategic and tactical levels.

i8 Approach – Leadership Development

Moving from Digital Transformation 1.0 to 2.0 : Know the Difference Between “Regular” and “21st century” Digital

Many managers feel that their organization is already digital. Consequently, they don’t understand why they have to burden themselves and their organization with yet another journey of digital transformation. 

From their perspective, the organization has already implemented the required digitalization and there is less need for more. To support this view, these managers will note that their company has already implemented an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, a customer relationship management (CRM) system, a supply chain management (SCM) system, and a business intelligence (BI) system, maintains an e-commerce website, and manages its social media accounts. 

In fact, this contention is largely justified – many organizations are indeed digital. However, digital transformation is not static, and the rate of new waves of “digital attacks” is only accelerating.

Digital 2.0

Most organizations have already completed what we call “digital transformation 1.0” and are now in the midst of what we call “digital transformation 2.0.” Digital transformation 2.0 means companies continuing to examine new technologies, improving their digital footing, and continuously adopting new business models at an increasing rate.

To keep pace with new technologies, the 2.0 model calls for significantly more resources diverted to digital transformation than 1.0. While on the surface this may be seen as a burden, it is absolutely necessary given the exponential rate of technological shift. 

The inflection point at which organizations are poised today. The choice is just to continue with digital transformation 1.0, or to follow the new developments and embark on a new wave, digital transformation 2.0.

The Giants Have Already Started

It’s no surprise that some of the largest organizations in the world already understand this, and have already constructed the relevant business models.

These are models incorporating “21st Century” digital as opposed to regular digital. For example, Amazon has launched a store without checkout counters or cash registers (Amazon Go); Domino’s Pizza is delivering pizzas with drones in a pilot project in New Zealand; factories are deploying an increasing number of smart robots; full digital banks are entering the financial market, focused on meeting customer needs; insurance companies are increasingly offering smart insurance policies based on pay per usage, and more.

Other examples of 21st century digital technologies include  the Internet of Things (IoT), cognitive computing, machine learning, advanced robotics, 3D printers, wearable computing, virtual reality, augmented reality, voice-operated interfaces, blockchain, and autonomous cars.

The disruptive forces that bring change are only accelerating, and thus forceful action is the solution. If companies want to mitigate the fallout, and even capitalize on it, they need to act.

If management claims the organization doesn’t need to implement new digital transformation because it is already digital, be skeptical, and ask them if a CRM for Barnes and Noble helped them? 

Innovation is Not an Accident – How China Turned Into a Tech Superpower (Review of Tech Titans of China)

This post is in part based on the 2019 book “Tech Titans of China: How China’s Tech Sector is challenging the world by innovating faster, working harder, and going global” by Rebecca Fannin. To purchase the book on Amazon, Click Here

In the fast, messy, and global world of today, one only needs to blink to open their eyes to a new reality. One such reality is the emergence of China as an entrepreneurial and tech powerhouse.

That China could be a world leader in innovation might sound strange to a generation of westerners who grew up knowing China as an imitator of advanced western tech. Yet, the China of today has produced such a robust tech scene, that ironically, western companies are now copying from their Chinese counterparts. 

E-commerce platform Pinduoduo and Messaging app WeChat are gaining recognition abroad. Bike-Sharing platforms are a Chinese innovation copied globally. Chinese advanced Electric car brands are beginning to make inroads in the US. 

It remains to be seen whether China will surpass the US in innovation. Regardless, China’s rise serves as an excellent case study for the power of innovative infrastructure and goal setting for innovation within an organization.

The Rise of Tik Tok

Consider the case of Beijing-based Tik Tok, possibly the world’s fastest-growing social media platform. Since its launch, the Tik Tok app has had over 1 billion downloads. In 2018, it was the number one downloaded app in the iTunes app store. And most surprisingly, much of its new growth has been in the US.

Tik-Tok allows users to edit and post 15-second videos about anything, whether it’s lip-singing or cooking tips. While Tik-Tok has been credited with “making social media fun again,” the app’s true innovation is its seamless blend of AI technology into its user interface. 

Rather than simply a Chinese take on social media, it is Tik-Tok’s advanced AI (that feeds content to users without requiring the user to ever set any preferences) which makes it stand out as a company. 

The app has grown so rapidly that it is now seen as a threat to social media giants such as Facebook, which has since released its own (and not particularly successful) version of Tik Tok called Lasso. 

Tik Tok is symbolic of the cycle of Chinese innovation today – rather than Chinese companies creating “Chinese versions” of apps such as youtube, China is coming up with new ideas, and the rest of the world follows suit.  

The Power of Innovation Planning

China has always been a place for innovation (Paper, Fireworks, Kites), so it’s no surprise that the China of today would continue the historical trend. However, the rapid rise in innovation and the emergence of leading Chinese companies all in less than a decade cannot simply be explained as a result of organic innovative growth.

Rather, China serves as a paradigmatic meta-example of how actively building infrastructure for innovation can act as a catalyst for unleashing potential. 

The steps the Chinese government has taken to foster innovation are enormous. There exist today in China numerous multi-year strategic plans to stimulate innovation and the tech sector.

For example, China has created a $15 billion “New Era technology” fund to finance Chinese tech startups. China’s education plan has encouraged student enrollment into STEM fields; by 2030, China is expected to grow its number of STEM graduates by 300%.

The Chinese government plan — Made in China 2025 — was created to help upgrade Chinese manufacturing from low-tech into high tech sectors such as robotics.

China’s latest five year calls for accelerating innovation, entrepreneurship, and research.

China is literally building innovative infrastructure by creating a mega-business region in what is known as “the Greater Bay Area” to compete with Silicon Valley. Features include a 34-mile bridge linking Hong Kong to Macau, new rail lines, and the construction of innovation hubs.

Whether government spending is the best way to fund innovative infrastructure is not the question (the right and left-wingers can duke that out elsewhere). Rather, what is clear is that innovation can prosper as a result of building the necessary infrastructure, whether by government or a private company. 

Micro Perspective – Company Level Innovation

When approaching the Chinese model from an organizational perspective, it is important to note that, of course, there many differences between national and corporate projects. However, there are key principles that can be distilled from a comparison. 

Chiefly, that while the raw ingredients for innovation must be present for innovation to take place, such as creative talent, the rate of innovation can be increased if the right steps are taken. 

A smoothie can either be made in a mortar and pestle or a blender. The result is the same. The time spent is not.

Similarly, the more innovative platforms a company has, the quicker it will turn out innovation; And innovative ability has never before been so crucial to companies’ competitive advantage. 

In an ever more unstable business environment where competition can just as easily come out of Shenzhen as it can from Silicon valley, 21st Century leaders must invest in innovation infrastructure not as a luxury, but as a basic tool for survival.  

2019 release by Rebecca Fannin. An excellent resource for those who want to explore China's rise over the last decade

More Innovation Calls for Much More Digital Infrastructure

In the above chart, we depict how both more “small-scale innovation” (AKA incremental innovation ala Kaizen) and more “medium-scale innovation” (AKA process innovation ala Michael Hammer) call for much more digital infrastructure. (Note that for simplicity we did not include the third level of large-scale innovation, which of course calls for much stronger digital infrastructure).

To elaborate, organizations see their competitors (both current and new) adopting new digital business models; their leaders realize that they must innovate to keep pace. Think, for example, about a traditional brick and mortar chain like CVS threatened by the entry of new player (Amazon) to their market

In many cases, digital is the external force that is pushing companies to innovate, and at the same time, digital is the force that allows organizations to initiate, groom and scale their innovation. 

Digital is both friend and foe. Creating a strong digital infrastructure enables a company to innovate at a faster pace. In a way, digital innovation at its core is a meta-innovative process that enhances the digital infrastructure and thus allows other forms of innovation.

How might this work? Consider a company which is looking to innovate in the way it interacts with its customers. A manager proposes using a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. 

At a company that has a weak digital infrastructure, such a move could take months. Yet in a company with a strong digital culture and ability, where employees see the opportunity, are ready for change, and have adopted digital technologies in the past, this change can happen in days. In fact, an initial CRM system can be implemented overnight with cloud-based tools, that is fed by an already organized excel based data.

Companies too often see the digital force as a threat rather than an opportunity. Yet to thrive, companies must embrace digital — a simple attempt to “innovate” without it will not suffice. 

Digital technology has become a critical part of an organization’s ability to create a competitive advantage. Therefore, the right way to relate to digital technology is as a strategic investment. Management must use digital technology to reinvent and re-imagine their organization.

The bottom line: To enhance your innovation cycle (initiate, groom, and scale), enhance your digital infrastructure.

September 2019 Update

Welcome to our 2019 September update, where we share our latest publications on Innovating innovating.

i8 Ventures is a boutique consultancy specializing in digital transformation. 

Yours Sincerely,
Prof. Yesha Sivan and the team

Innovating Innovating
Chemi Peres, Co- Founder of Pitango Venture Capital

In this video, Chemi Peres talks venture capital success, innovation’s role in competition, and the value of human capital in entrepreneurship.

(Read More & See Video…)

i8 Research
The Top 10 Risks of Digital Transformation

To succeed in your digital transformation journey, you need to know the common ten risks and how to mitigate them. From i8 Venture’s latest publication, “Doing Digital.”

(Read More)

Leadership
Orange Bike Mindfulness (OBM) Coming Soon to a Hotel Near You

Joseph Fischer, CEO of Vision Hospitality & Travel, discusses his experiences at an OBM workshop, and how mindfulness can be a useful tool for the hospitality and lodging industry.

(More Details…)

External Research
When Your Employees Refuse to be Eaten by Software

What do you do when you want to integrate a technology into your business, but your employees push back? Uber may provide the answer.

(Read More …)

Case Study
The Ferrari Pit Stop and the Value of Shared Goals

Watch: A Ferrari pit stop team needs only 2.5 seconds to change four tires. What’s their secret? Learn how “goal hierarchies” can make your team run like them.

(Read More …)

P.S. If you got this from a friend, feel free to sign up for our updates.