“Technology changes exponentially; organizations change logarithmically.”
Scott Brinker described this observation as “Martec’s Law” five years ago, but I think the same can be said beyond the world of marketing technology to digital transformation in general. Scott went on to write:
“I believe these two things are true:
“1. Technology is changing very rapidly, and those changes seem to be accelerating.
“2. Changing an organization — how it thinks and behaves — is still hard and slow.”
I frequently draw cartoons inspired by conversations with others. This one emerged fully-formed at breakfast with a few people at a marketing conference in Spain a few days ago. We talked about some of the universal organizational challenges that hold us back from actually accomplishing some of the heady exciting ideas that tend to come up in conferences. One of the guys at the table found himself unable to actually send his presentation on digital transformation because of technology limitations.
Recently a Gartner analyst named Graham Waller described the mindset that makes it hard for organizations to change — and he advised CIO’s to become “cultural hackers.” Here’s how the WSJ summarized part of his message:
“The tool that most needs upgrading is not software. It’s that soft squishy thing, between the ears. It’s the mind, or, to be more specific, the mindset, the unseen processes that automatically turn on and off in response to a task or a situation…
“In the world of digital transformation, there are two mindsets: The fixed and the growth-oriented.”
It is easy to get excited about the potential that technology can bring to business. But if we want to pursue digital transformation, we inevitably have to think about organizational transformation.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years:
“Chief Digital Officer” November 2016
“Digital Transformation” September 2018
“We’re Going Digital” April 2012