New Way of Working Part 1 – and an Interesting New Direction

Sure, I’ve been mobile for some time, but it’s late spring in Chicago, and after such a hard winter, I am trying to take better advantage of the balmy weather and these newfangled mobile devices to get work done in alternative places, using alternative methods.

The work is a bit different as well; I’m taking a hard run at some “digital strategy” topics, and forcibly breaking away from the manic focus on cost and productivity. Well, maybe “manic” is a bit harsh – but have you ever noticed that the predominant topic of conversation between IT and our vendors, or My IT Team and Any Other IT Team, is always about cost savings, standardization, and a general focus on the Bottom Line?

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Image credit: Rabittooth

Important topics, for sure – but at the same time, we’re leaving all of the fun work (social media and network effects, digital manufacturing & transformational process change, and data & analytics as a product and/or service) to others in the organization. Well, I like fun just as much as the next guy – so I will be diving into all of these areas in the coming months. You might think I’m a bit late to the party, but my primary objective is to figure out how to translate these airy concepts for a conservative, SMB, manufacturing mindset. Simply put – there is a great opportunity to make digital strategy something meaningful to a whole class of companies that can’t see the downside risk (and lost upside potential) of relegating this to their BtoC counterparts.

Driving for Relevance

There is a significant challenge here – how to take the esoteric & trendy and make it concrete & relevant. I don’t mean to cast aspersions – plenty of IT and marketing folks struggle with making a tight, clean, impactful business case, and rely on factors like Wow and FUD. Then again, most vendors are marketing and selling the Wow and the FUD, talking high-minded concepts with soft business value that have a difficult time getting translated to dollars and sense.

But I feel the correct stories are out there – targeted technology, well-structured business cases that build on success (versus Bang things out in a Big way). However, I agree that there’s a risk in this take-it-slow approach – when those Disruptive Forces show up, they kind of smash through things like Godzilla thru San Franscico.

So stay tuned as I shift some of my writing towards the edgier and the esoteric – in the hopes of making things more actionable and achievable.

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James MacLennan

... is the Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, a digital consultancy focused on creating value in ways that align with your strategy and drive engagement with employees, customers, and stakeholders. He is an active creator, providing thought leadership through on-line & print publications, and public speaking / keynotes.