The 3 Ds of digital

Diverse, Dynamic & Distinct
Thursday, December 7, 2017

In the current work climate, I observe a frantic push to develop something-anything-digital, among companies and their executives. The fear of being left behind, coupled with a lack of imagination and no real sense of what to do with digital leads to wildly unthinking behavior and a frenzied hurry to just do something among many organizations. Owing to this lack of a clear digital strategy, these companies have a tendency to copy other’s initiatives. An app here, an app there, this needs to be digital, and that as well…

Digital is fashionable, no doubt, and it might even be vital for your organization to stay relevant. Yet, you shouldn’t panic!

Here are three dimensions to think about: My 3 Ds of Digital.

Digital is Diverse.

There is no singular conception of digital. Digital can and should be many things. Think about internal processes, what can meaningfully be digitalized? Which parts of your internal processes are painful, error-prone, repetitive, and could even be completely automated? Think about touchpoints with external stakeholders and customers, how can you improve (and that’s the key here) your communication, collaboration, and experience for your customers and other external stakeholders? What is the value-added of digitalizing parts of that customer relationship?

Digital is Dynamic.

Digital is not a one-time thing. It’s not linear. It’s rather organic in the sense that you will need to try and learn what works for your organization, what makes sense, and what does not. We have many Digital tools already at our disposal, yet a great many people in organizations don’t know how to use them. It’s OK to try. It’s OK to change your mind and discontinue a tool and then try another one. It’s OK that the adoption is not immediate or 100% successful. This also means that you need to give your organization, ecosystem, and customers the time and support necessary for experimenting with your digital tools, processes, and whatever else, so they can learn what digital means to them.

Digital is Distinct.

Your company, its customers, and the ecosystem you rely on will benefit most from your digital efforts if they are distinct and individual to your company, your business, your customers, and your ecosystem. Don’t just copy what others are doing. Think about your specific challenges and opportunities. Think broadly about your processes, the ways your company works, your offerings, business models, and revenue models. Where will digital have the most value in your context?

Originally published at on December 7, 2017.

Dr. Marc Sniukas

Marc has built and delivered corporate strategy, innovation, and transformation programs around the globe. Co-author, The Art of Opportunity, he is a member of the global Educator Network of Duke Corporate Education.

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