The Digital Transformation Approach is a change method for the organisational transformation of any enterprise, to help the business make the most of digital opportunities across operations, business models, service/product/experience, and customer engagement. Designed by digital transformation specialist Hannah Rudman, The Approach blends methods of modern management consultancy with action research; and utilises some of the tools, attitudes, and techniques of creative practice, and design thinking (including co-design, service design, UX design). Its constituent parts are:
The persistent introduction of disruptive digital technologies means that moving through the states, taking the journey, must be rapid and cyclical, as demonstrated by the diagram above. Learning, during the movement through the states/journey, must be action-based: practical and applied (not purely theoretical or applied from the book or evaluated case study which would take too long to emerge), and risk taking, doing, and sharing emergent practice is essential. The Approach encourages transformation, not just assimilation or adaptation.
The methods applied to The Approach go back to Francis Bacon in 1620 (Novum Organum) with his development of the scientific method: hypothesise, experiment, evaluate. This process is cyclical and iterative, and has been reinterpreted by statistician and consultant W. Edwards Deming to become the modern organisational change management principles (or Deming Cycle) of – plan, do, check, then act, or back to planning (Deming, The New Economics,1993).
Similarly, action research methodology encourages those seeking change to engage with a cyclical experiential ethos of learning by doing: thinking/planning, acting, and reflecting (Reason & Bradbury, Handbook of Action Research, 2008).
Meanwhile, design thinking techniques have been formalised into an approach by the Design Council (Design Council, Design Process, 2005, and Cross, Design Thinking, 2011), encouraging us to cyclically engage with the process of: discover, define, develop, deliver. The easiest to use and most popular tools with practitioners from Service Design and User Experience Design toolkits are included. All tools have been made available by Creative Commons licenses, or are copyright but open source so they can be used by any organisation.
By blending modern management consulting methods, design thinking approaches and creative practices like storytelling and story boarding, there is a set of activities for each stage of the change process or journey that suits everyone’s learning styles. A wealth of practical exercises and activities are made available to organisations transitioning through states on a change journey by blending the methodologies. The Digital Transformation Approach is best used cross-departmentally/cross-functions, engaging all levels of staff/stakeholders.
Does it work?
Your organisation will change, and gain the capability, confidence and capacity to keep changing – digital disruptions are continuing to rapidly emerge, and will require ongoing transformation! Over 250 enterprises have undertaken digital transformation journeys through undertaking The Digital Transformation Approach with the support of Rudman Consulting. 86% of organisations adapted, changing at least one major area of their business to be completely digital (across business model, organisational operations, customer engagement, and product/service/experience). Of these, 37% transformed all aspects of their enterprise to be digital.
The Approach to organisational transformation has been academically verified as successful – studies using digital information systems to collect data proved that the more creative and design thinking tools that were used, the more likely an organisation was to transform. (Rudman, H., Benyon, D., and Hall, H. (2015). A framework for the transformation of the creative industries in a digital age. IFKAD 2015 10th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics Bari, Italy: Arts for Business Ltd, p. 1391-1403.).
Additionally, development agencies in other nations have shared The Digital Transformation Approach with their own programmes for organisational transformation. In 2012-13, Rudman Consulting developed resources for Spain and Iberian America with Asimetrica. In 2014, Rudman Consulting shared the resources with Creative New Zealand and the Australia Council. There were 17,000 unique visits to the toolkit in 2014, with an average dwell time of 3:45mins.