How digitalization and innovation are combined through strategy

Integrating digitalization and innovation management into a digital strategy

Digital transformation and digital innovation go hand in hand if managed properly

Innovation is created by peeking at the future. Especially technological innovation is founded on the fact that the technology of choice is new and fairly immature. By studying the emerging technology lifecycle we can calculate prognosis of the forthcoming maturity of such technologies and thus create plans for how they can be suitably injected into our digital environment when appropriate.

Any proper business strategy has the same purpose. A strategy does not depict what is important to implement here and now – a strategy takes aim at what is desired in certain years to come. This is why a digital strategy is the key to creating a more innovative digital environment while minimizing risk.

How it works

When developing your digital strategy there are a few vital activities to conduct to ensure future prosperity. Other than measuring your current internal capacity using a digital maturity model (DMM) it is equally important to do market and technology research. Doing a SOTA analysis (State-Of-The-Art) you investigate how innovative leaders are applying new and emerging technologies in areas that are important and relevant to you. This sets the scene as an inspiration to what is feasible and helps to inspire new opportunities and perhaps even create new demands. It is important not to look too narrowly on solutions, but to take a wider look at digital applications. Just analyzing what the leaders in your industry have done is necessary and important, but sincerely limits your view and restricts your options. Rather look across industries and look at all possible implementations of new technologies, regardless of field or form, because real innovation happens when you find a way to combine new solutions with new problems. Don´t look at the obvious, look at possibilities.

After you have grasped the current internal and external situation, you use that information to develop your vision and strategic goals for digitalization. This is fairly straightforward as long as it is aligned with your organization´s other strategies and the business context. But the key part – which is often overlooked by digital strategists – is to visualize future scenarios. Using scenario planning methods with selected co-workers and other stakeholders you can create a visual roadmap of what your digital future will actually look like in detail – all envisioned by those who will be involved in it and are engaged in getting it there. The definite perk of having a large set of future scenarios for digitalization is that they can be analyzed and used to build a delivery plan. If a scenario says that all employees should be authenticated using face recognition, then you can start looking at the IT implications of this requirement and start to plan for necessary activities to implement it. This way a digitalization strategy and the IT-strategic plan become incorporated and intertwined.

A digital strategy champions digital innovation

So when you start to understand the practical application of various new technologies you can start to imagine how the benefits of these may fit into your digital strategy and be part of your innovation pipeline at the same time. This approach makes digital innovation tangible and concrete, you can develop a viable implementation plan and take most of the fuzz out of innovation. Digitalization can be uniquely innovative with very little risk as long as you have a systematic strategic approach to it. This is what a well-prepared digital strategy is for. 

If you are curious about the ASE digital strategy methodology I work with just send me a message.