Welcome to our blog, the digital brainyard to fine tune "Digital Master," innovate leadership, and reimagine the future of IT.

The magic “I” of CIO sparks many imaginations: Chief information officer, chief infrastructure officer , Chief Integration Officer, chief International officer, Chief Inspiration Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Influence Office etc. The future of CIO is entrepreneur driven, situation oriented, value-added,she or he will take many paradoxical roles: both as business strategist and technology visionary,talent master and effective communicator,savvy business enabler and relentless cost cutter, and transform the business into "Digital Master"!

The future of CIO is digital strategist, global thought leader, and talent master: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The New Book “Problem-Solving Master” Introduction Chapter 2: Problem-Solving Methodologies and Practices

Many complex business problems today are like the gigantic puzzles with many misplaced pieces, you have to put them all in the right places to discover the real solution. Problem-solving is about understanding a problem and actually discovering or designing a solution to that problem, not just fining the band-aid approach to fix the symptom. Problem-solving has a very wide scope and takes the interdisciplinary approach which involves Engineering, art, principles, condition, social norms and group behavior.

Develop a systematic problem-solving framework: Due to fast-paced change, the exponential growth of information and continuous digital disruptions, the problems facing businesses also turn to be over-complex and difficult to solve. You need to have deep insight, take a holistic approach to complex problem-solving and build a comprehensive framework for both defining the right problems and solving them effectively. First, assess problems systematically. The business management should determine why problems happened, how problems escalated, and when the problems started. To frame the right problem, you need to step back, or get out of the box, and understand the issues holistically via multidisciplinary lenses. Then, you should identify qualified problem-solver with the right mindsets, differentiated capabilities, and skills for solving the right problems. Also, you should leverage the efficient tools, methods, and practices, develop the tailored methodologies and practices. It’s important to discover and design creative solutions, to push the envelope, and to go beyond what is expected; and last but not least, you need to evaluate outcomes. It is important to keep track of the outcome of problem-solving. Taking a systematic approach to measurement can avoid blind-spots in problem-solving, having the appropriate performance indicators is very important. And acting on what those indicators are telling you is vital to sustaining and improving problem-solving capability at the business level.

Handling problems at the mindset level: As Einstein wisely put: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Diagnosing the problem from the mindset level is the critical step for digging into the root causes of many problems today. To master problem-solving in the digital era, there needs to be mind shift: from static, siloed or biased mind to growth, holistic and creative mind. Because digital is all about information flow, mind flow, and idea flow. When people’s mind far lag behind the digital era we live in, that no doubt becomes the root cause of many thorny problems facing the business and our society and stifle the collective progress we all deserve to enjoy. The mind interprets how a person sees the world- the perception and decides their cognitive capacity and attitude to solve the problems. With increasing pace of changes and shortened knowledge life cycle, there needs to be a mind shift in order to master problem-solving.

Holistic problem-solving:
Holistic thinking is important to understand, frame, and solve today’s multilayer, interdependent, and over-complex business problems. Holistic Thinking has a correlation with systems thinking which is the thought process for seeing interrelationships rather than isolated things, from seeing patterns of change rather than static “snapshots.” We can drive mechanically thinking about a problem in normal traffic and linear logic. However, if the situation is fluid and dynamic, with a lot of inter-dependencies and uncertainty, it calls for holistic and systems thinking. Holistic problem-solving which requires interdisciplinary knowledge and systematic approach is in demand to deal with today’s over-complex problems. A holistic perspective is a zoom out view and works well when deploying, conceiving, and redefining a problem more precisely and solve it more systematically and creatively.

Problem-solving is both art and science. There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong. So, it’s important to build a comprehensive framework, develop the systematical methods and practices, leverage multidisciplinary knowledge and approaches, to pursue optimal solutions.

CIOs as “Chief Insight Officer”: Are You a Digital Shaper or a Follower?

IT is no longer just a reactive support function only, but a change organization that keeps information flow, enables business growing and drive digital paradigm shift. The unprecedented opportunities brought by digital technologies and increasing speed of change can lift up a fast growing business promptly. It can also reinvent a well-established organization to reach the next level of the business growth cycle. CIOs as the top digital leader and “Chief Insight Officer” should do the self-reflection: Are you a digital shaper, digital adapter or just a laggard?

Shaping the digital vision: Forward-looking organizations empower their IT organization to lead digitalization, and become the digital shaper. CIOs need to have the technological vision and digital awareness. Being “Visionary" refers to taking the business strategy and having a vision of how the IT landscape, IT organization etc., will look like in mid or long-term and how IT can bring opportunities to the business for catalyzing growth and build business competency. More often than not, technology becomes the game changer and innovation driver for businesses. To become the digital shape, the CIO needs to be a dynamic digital leader with open, growth and complexity mindset, with high ability to handle change, ambiguity, manage impressions, enforce creative communications to suit situations so as to make things happen and drive change proactively. Sometimes the business users don't have a sense for the IT roadmap, and a clarified vision helps them understand the multidimensional value IT can deliver, bridge IT-business gaps and lift the business up to the next level of digital maturity.

Shaping the problem-solving culture: Information is permeating to every corner of the organization and technology is the disruptive force of digitalization. Therefore, IT leaders must proactively participate the vision and shape the future of organization via integrating hard business elements such as process, technology, people, and soft elements such as culture, communication seamlessly and to execute the capability-based strategy effortlessly. IT leaders need to have business acumen and customer insight, CIOs need to become far, far more business focused and digital literate in order to be the digital shaper who can create the business synergy by shaping the problem-solving culture and building IT-enable business competency. IT needs to be the problem framer, a solution is useless if the problem is not perceived and the root cause is not scrutinized. CIOs need to develop, demonstrate and increase their problem-solving skills, thinking and problem-solving skills are always and continued needs for CIOs to become the digital shaper.

Shaping the dynamic business competency:
The characteristics of digital business are dynamic, volatile, uncertain, and hypercompetitive. IT, is, in fact, the strategic competency of the business. To become the digital shaper, CIOs have to develop a set of organizational competencies and shift IT reputation from a cost center to a value creator. IT is the value-added delivery that makes the organization different and competitive. IT is the key ingredient and integrator of the business capabilities. Leveraging unique IT knowledge and expertise to build business competency is crucial for the business's long-term growth and maturity. Keeping IT dynamic is crucial for adapting to unforeseen urgent changes in the business or other fields. Many components of business capabilities are common and reusable across the enterprise. To shorten the time cycle and save the cost of building business capabilities, it is also critical to build dynamic capabilities to adapt to changes.

Digital CIOs need to thrive for becoming the digital shapers, envision and participate to shape the future proactively. They have strong digital awareness, understand how they relate to others, which speed they could swim in the uncharted water; what competency needed for the business’s surviving and thriving, and how IT can contribute to the top line business growth and unlock the digital potential of the business.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Monthly Foresight: Look Back and Look Forward Feb, 2018

The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Digital is the age of creativity and innovation, creativity is the most wanted trait for digital leaders and professionals today, and innovation is the light every organization is pursuing. Which themes shall you set to advocate digital transformation? What are your practices for building a hyperconnected and ever-evolving digital business ecosystem?        

 Look Back and Look Forward

Look Back and Look Forward to Leading Digital Transformation Confidently: Organizational change and digital transformation are inevitable. As the matter of fact, the life cycle of business today grows shorter and shorter because of increasing pace of changes, overwhelming growth of information, and demanding of shareholders. The business transformation journey is full of velocity and uncertainty, thus, a clear vision is in demand. Vision is the ability to see beyond what is to what could be. It is the synthetic view of ‘looking forward,” and “looking behind,” “looking beyond,” and “looking around.” But more specifically, how can digital leaders today look back and look forward to leading digital transformation??

The Future-Driven Leadership - Vision vs. Leadership? The substance of leadership never changes. It’s all about making the positive influence, and providing direction, both for oneself and others. Leadership is about CHANGE. It is a basic human ability to inspire self and others to look beyond limitations and make continuous improvement. This ability becomes a capability if we constantly nurture our basic human instincts of HUMILITY, CURIOSITY, and CREATIVITY. Fundamentally, leadership is more about future but starts at today.

Windshield or Rear Mirror: Which is more Important to Leaders? Every leader is unique, and they may also have different leadership style: the pivotal leaders are the pathfinder to look forward, and discover the new trail to let others follow through; the seasoned leaders have plenty of experience, look back with rich and invaluable leadership lessons to learn from. Forward looking or with an eye on the history and culture - both could be essential.What kind of leader do you prefer? Which leadership style do you have?

Have you Actively Participated in your Vision? Vision is to zoom in the future as if it were closer. We always measure ourselves in terms of our vision - what we intend to be or to accomplish, and what we leave behind is our action upon those intentions. We contemplate, we reflect, we learn, we act, we perceive, and our vision evolves and leads us - the reason we usually see that what we have accomplished is always less than our potential. The future is based on your visions. Either as an individual or an organization, do you allow them to evolve, and actively participate in it?

Three Views to Keep Board Directors Evolving in Exponential Digital Age: The corporate board as one of the top leadership pillars plays a crucial role in overseeing strategies and leading changes and digitalization. Adopting a different paradigm is like changing the glasses and new possibilities continue to emerge. Those who look through the lens of the previous industrial era see their own reality very differently from those who leverage the lens that the new era has crafted. Thus, the board directors need to learn and master the multitude of digital views of the business and understand the exponential digital age profoundly.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with about #4300th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

To Celebrate the 4500th Blog Posting: The Thoughts and Quotes of the “Future of CIO” Blog (Part I)

Blogging is 5% of inspiration +creativity with 95% of dedication + perseverance.

Blogging is to pursue the digital communication way for envisioning, brainstorming, sharing, and debating. It’s the journey to make the continuous leadership influence and connect the dots for spurring creativity and advocating digital innovation. It’s the time to celebrate the #4500th blog posting of the “Future of CIO with all those alphabetic thoughts and quotes. Slideshare Presentation

A - Authenticity

A digital professional who is comfortable to be different can release more positive energy to influence the surroundings, dare to ask tough questions, and challenge conventional settings.

Now the new digital paradigm that is emerging is one of a living organization, one that is organic, alive, energetic, fluid, connected and holistic. Every staff is also like a living “cell,” can continue to discover and grow, creative and influential. Are you comfortable to be different? A digital professional who is comfortable to be different can release more positive energy to influence the surroundings, dare to ask tough questions, and challenge conventional settings. Thus, self-awareness is important for the recognition of one’s strength and weakness, cognition ability, and style, intellectual engagement, creative problem-solving capabilities, personalities, innovativeness, plasticity, pattern discovery, dots connection, adaptation, emotional intelligence.

B- Balance

Like running up to the string, keeping digital balance is critical in reaching the digital high.

The majority of us will work in an organization that is somewhere between old and new; at both industrial speed and digital speed; in the physical building and remote environment; or will remain to be a mixture of old and new. It is the biggest management challenge to be a change agent, where we respond to the current state of the organization and we try to take it from there to a next level. Most of the people, including leaders, often find themselves playing it safe and spending too much time trying to weigh risks and outcomes. Therefore, the capability of balance can differentiate a digital leader from a follower; a change agent from a laggard; an innovator from a mediocre. The digital professionals with balance can bring agility and flexibility across the spectrum of digital dynamic and digital paradox.

C - Creativity

True creativity has an inner origin. It keeps surfacing from within and keeps expressing.

Creativity is a function of imagination, multidimensional thinking, knowledge, psychology, activities, and motivation. Creativity has become a very highly valued skill, and many think it is the #1 most wanted professional capability in the digital era. We all have unlimited creative potential and intrinsic ability to think outside of the box, but we need to learn how to unlock it. An innovator has an obligation to "be a natural creative thinker," to be open, to share and question, to challenge existing concepts, and to bring the new perspective, the fresh idea or the unique insight.

D- Digitalization:

Reimaging the future of business is exciting, but investigating the different path for unleashing business potential needs to take a systematic approach and develop it into a more solid form.

Digital transformation is an evolutionary journey. A comprehensive digitalization roadmap with a clear vision and a few impressive highlights helps the business navigate through uncharted water and blurred digital territories steadfastly. Digital leaders are visible, proactive, and innovative, they are able to communicate, stay focus, be both strategic and tactical, understand how to overcome roadblocks, close blind spots, and make the digital journey both meaningful and delightful.

E- Excellence

Execution excellence is difficult to achieve because it is both art and science, hard and soft; decisions and actions, qualities and habits.

The multidimensional digital effects provide impressive advantages in term of the speed of delivery, the quality of information for decision making, the responsiveness of the business, and the excellence of resource alignment. The challenge is that the environment changes so fast nowadays that your strategy must be very flexible. Therefore, you need to have a strategy before execution, but it must be an agile strategy, Making this change requires a more fundamental and effective approach. It starts with creating a working environment that requires the change to take place, Execution is difficult, also because all the key ingredients in it have mixed flavors. The key aspects of successful strategy execution are comprised of leadership, culture, and performance management systems/rewards, they all well mix the art and science of management disciplines.

F - Flexibility:

Flexibility is to embrace the different PoVs and alternative way to do things.

One of the biggest challenges in this complex digital world is the fact that we need different perspectives, different knowledge and different ways to solve a problem. Sometimes there is no "one" answer: there are some or many. That is why what is first of all needed is to think as a team via embracing the collective wisdom. They do not focus on hierarchy but on ideas, information, creativity, flexibility, openness, and curiosity. Together, these flexible teams, with extensive experience, are resolute, responsive, flexible, able to speed up the decision-making process and new way to do things.

G - Gap-minding

Today’s digital organizations simply just can’t stand still. Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge.

Digitalization implies the full-scale changes in the way business is conducted so that simply adopting a new digital technology is insufficient. The very characteristics of digitalization are hyper-connectivity, hyper-complexity, and interdependence; with the exponential growth of information and fast-paced of changes. The traditional management practices are often just not fit enough for speeding up and toning the business capability to respond to the opportunities and risks, due to the multiple gaps existing between functions and underlying processes; the management styles and the outdated “best practices,” they apply. You have to transform the company's underlying functions and organization as a whole with adjusted digital speed. Otherwise, companies may begin a decline from its previous good performance.

H- Hybrid

The organization with the hybrid nature is alive, holistic, vibrant, energetic, responsive, fluid, innovative and resilient.

We live in the digital world with all sorts of hybrid solutions. Organizations today are not limited to the physical buildings, but well mixed with virtual collaborations. Look at all the elements, including the human element, as an integrated system and functions as organic living cells. The emergent organizational models will integrate with social process models with both structured and unstructured social processes. The latest enterprise digital computing technologies enable seamless virtual platforms, enhance physical organization structures, empower workforce brainstorming via sharing the thoughts and ideas, engage customers and partners to voice concerns and feedback, and encourage the broader conversation and interaction within its business ecosystem and social value chain which include systems, processes, policies, culture, work climates, customers, an integration of across global business, social and political systems.

I - Insight

Insight is a perception beyond the thought, a multi-dimensional cognizance, and it’s the experience to explore oneself, surrounds and beyond.

Insight is perception through multi-dimensional cognizance. If knowledge is manpower, wisdom is nature power, then insight is perhaps the bridge between manpower and nature power. There are multilayer meanings upon insight. Knowledge is often in the box; insight is thinking into the box after thinking out of the box. Insight takes both creativity and reasoning, intuition and logic, the power of acute observation and deduction, questioning, connection, penetration, discernment, perception called intellection or noesis. Knowledge is gained via learning; insight is the vision through ‘mind's eyes. knowledge is gained via learning process, but insight is the integration of learning and thinking scenario. Hence, knowledge can be taught, but insight is a unique perception which needs to be gained by each individual.

J - Justification
 A business justification provides the description and reason for starting initiatives.

A business justification provides the description and reason for starting initiatives such as- What are the key drivers behind the project? What problem or event is driving the need for the project? What immediacy does the problem or event have and why does it need to be addressed now? Can the impact of the problems be measured and quantified? Etc. Overall value, therefore, has to be judged at the enterprise level considering the overall satisfaction over each combination of cost, schedule, performance, and customer satisfaction. The challenge is to ask the right questions and fitting together different components and mapping the business requirement systematically

K - Knowledge Management

A well-designed and relatively simplified information/knowledge solutions bound to unlock the enterprise knowledge, to turn a downward spiral into an upward spiral.

Knowledge by itself is nothing if you do not understand how to apply it and make it useful. As we all know knowledge is power, information and knowledge management is rather like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering unusual dots and build unexpected connections between our starting points and its rich environment, the digital ecosystem, to spark innovation, broaden varying perspectives, advocate the scientific methodology, and advance the knowledge-based economy. Digital knowledge management will not only enable information flow and knowledge flow, but more importantly, it will empower the mind flow, and transform the modern business from static to dynamic, from short-term driven to long-term focus; from inside out operation oriented to outside-in people-centric.

L- Logic

"Business logic" is a blanket term that covers several very different types of stuff -- at a minimum, algorithms, business rules, workflows, and integration logic.

Business logic comprises business rules that express business policy (such as channels, location, logistics, prices, and products); and workflows that are the ordered tasks of passing documents or data from one participant (a person or a software system) to another. Logic is a thinking process where a result is derived from a thought. The most important capability of cognitive mind is the willingness and ability to seek out knowledge, gain in-depth understanding, and address our ignorance and the assumptions we make to minimize it. Misunderstanding is the big cause of many human problems.

M - Maturity

Maturity is about ripeness, thoughtfulness, quality, balance, and wisdom.

Professional maturity means you are fully developed in some way to fulfilling a role or function. Maturity is a state we want to reach, a behavior, as in a sense of action. Maturity is the combination of capability and potentiality. It is the ability of an individual to gauge or measure the capability or potentiality of a candidate for responding to a particular query - action- behavior- delivery of any thought processes, based on the level of response received at to receiver's end. Maturity is the clarity of thoughts along with self-control which helps in choosing the most appropriate reaction (or inaction: deciding not to react) to any given situation. Maturity is the ability to wait, think, and respond to a situation without responding with a knee-jerk reaction. It’s the ability to weigh in the impact of what we are planning to do and who will be impacted because of the intended action. Maturity is the balance between courage and consideration.

Three Effects Cloudy the Vision and Stifle the Speed of Digitalization

Change is the new normal with increasing pace, digitalization is a radical change. The successful businesses are the ones that can manage change fluently and drive digitalization in a structural way. Now with the uncertainty around with the volatile market situations, intense competition, advanced technology, and abundance of information, it is important to clarify the vision, anchor changes as new opportunities, avoid barriers and pitfalls on the way, and steer the business in the right direction. Here are three effects perhaps cloudy the vision and stifle the speed of digitalization.

Tunnel effect: Tunnel vision happens that every side of the fence, commercial and technical, under the silo walls, misbelieve the relevance and difficulties of each other’s works. Tunnel vision happens when people work as a GROUP, not as a cohesive TEAM. The tunnel effect causes bureaucracy, diminishes trust, decreases productivity, and decelerate business speed. The digital leaders and managers should ask themselves: Does department mean silo? A tunneled group capability? Or is it a group specialization with healthy and slim overlaps with others? You need to jump out of the tunnel to gain the full vision of the future and the holistic picture of the business. The talented people with cross-disciplinary skills can become the interface between both sides of the fence since they understand both jargons and are able to keep in line with both teams. Teams respect and trust each other so much they can challenge, argue, totally disagree, even contradict each other as they work together to produce the best solutions to either new problems or emerging issues. The digital leaders have to eliminate tunnel effective, bridge both industrial silos and digital divide today; with emerging digital technologies, organizations can now have better opportunities to share and amplify best practice and next practice, the collective wisdom and cultural quintessential for enforcing innovation and accelerating business speed.

Bandwagon effect:
It is the tendency to do or believe things because many other people do or believe the same. In other words, as more people come to believe in something, others also "hop on the bandwagon" regardless of the underlying evidence. The tendency to follow the actions or beliefs of others can occur because individuals directly prefer to conform, or because individuals derive information from others, lack of independent thinking or real critical thinking capability. If you uncritically accept whatever values, knowledge or ideas you've been taught, many of them perhaps are out of date or having a bias, you are not a great thinker and a highly effective digital leader, because digital has “VUCA” (Velocity, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity), the blindly followship would lead to poor judgment or cause ineffective decision-making. Being a critical thinker means you do not follow others’ opinion blindly, but analyze and synthesize all sources of input and information to form your own opinion, be unbiased and objective, take the structural process in making sound judgments and solving problems.

Near-sight effect: Due to pressures from shareholders and unprecedented uncertainty facing businesses today, there is the tendency for business managers to focus on short-term goals because the future seems to be so hard to predict. The challenge for them is how to balance day-to-day operations with the resources for strategic initiatives when they are shared to ensure that the strategic goals for the long-term are still met. Running, growth and transformation are all important stage for the business’s survival and thriving. Good leaders don't lose the sight of long-term or 'Big picture' even though they spend the certain time, efforts, and resources on achieving the short-term goals. They should be able to immediately ascertain which term would benefit the situation as they become aware of each unique objective. The critical point is that short-term goals should be aligned with the "big picture."

The forward-looking view of the organization is to determine what the future needs to look like, what the digitalization must look like; how to expand the lens for capturing the big picture, as well as practice critical thinking to deal with digital complexity and uncertainty, avoid the obstacles nd pitfalls on the way, in order to clear the vision, catalyze changes, and accelerate the speed.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Monthly “100 Creativity Ingredients” Book Tuning: The Hot Debates to Stimulate Creativity Feb. 2018

All humans are born with raw creativity ability. 

Creativity has many dimensions, with multi-faceted truth and myth, manifold knowledge and multidimensional insight. Creativity is wings of our mind and tempo of our heartbeat. Creativity is a constructive disruption, not so bad addiction, and a sensational phenomenon. The purpose of “100 Creativity Ingredients - Everyone’s Playbook to Unlock Creativity “is to classify, scrutinize, articulate, and share insight about one hundred special creativity ingredients, to paint the picture with them, to add colors on them, to embed the music into them, and to make the story via them, in order to unleash our collective creativity potential.

            The Hot Debates to Stimulate Creativity   

Is Creativity only Achieved via Diversity The world is hyper-connected, there's nothing in the universe that exists in isolation from everything else, and certainly not a culture in particular. Cultures, as collective mindset and habit, are mainly shaped by the “mainstream” mindset at the particular time, need to be reprogrammed when it lags the era we live in, only creative and transformative leadership can make such shift. Culture is like the soil, the key factor to spur the seed of creativity. But what is the real engine of creativity? Is creativity only achieved via diversity? Should diversity mean more about the color of characters and the difference of cognition, than the physical identity?

Is Innovator ‘Trouble Maker’ or ‘Rain Maker’? Although innovation is the light every forward-look organization is pursuing, very few businesses have a systematic approach to managing it, or lack of wise eyes to recognize their special breed of talent- the innovators, or worse, when innovator are punished for their initiatives –typically always "Are you a troublemaker?”

Is Creativity a High Level of Thinking Creativity is a relatively new word invented by a Polish author in the 17th century - referring to poetry. Since then, knowledge has exploded, and creativity is defined more broadly as a mind skill (Static subject) or a process (Dynamic meaning) equipping us to make any new idea in any area. The range of scholarly interest in creativity includes a multitude of definitions and approaches involving several disciplines; psychology, cognitive science, education, philosophy, technology, theology, sociology, linguistics, business studies, songwriting, and economics, taking in the relationship between creativity and general intelligence, mental and neurological processes associated with creativity, the relationships between personality type and creative ability., etc

How to Spot your Innovators?Creativity is an essential building block for innovation in business. And innovation is the light every business is pursuing. Everyone possesses a certain level of creativity, but how does creativity manifest itself in the workplace? What's the best work environment to stimulate creativity? And how can digital leaders spot their true innovators and improve innovation success rate?

How to Build a Creative Workplace and Workforce?Today’s digital workforce is multigenerational, multicultural and multitasking; today’s digital workplace is always on, always connected, you can work anytime and anywhere, with more seamlessly cross-functional collaboration and cross-geographic interaction. But more strategically, how to build a creative working environment to inspire innovation and encourage creative problems solving in business? What are the best practices, or next practices to reinvent the digital way of work, and what are the roadblocks on the way?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with about 4300+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify your voice, deepen your digital footprints, and match your way for human progression.

The Strong Pillars of the Digital Organization

Consider digital organization as the self-organized but interlaced and hyper-connected ecosystem.

Digital transformation is the long journey with many bumps and curves on the way. The digital transformation means that companies need to infuse digital into every aspect of the business, expand to every dimension of the organization, shape the enterprise-wide digital capabilities and orchestrate a hyper-connected ecosystem which is interwoven with people, process, and technology, and form all important pillars to build a high-performance and high-mature digital organization.

The Digital Thinking Pillar: To bring in the radical change, there needs to be a paradigm shift - a mind shift. Running an advanced digital organization starts with a set of ultra-modern digital thinking, such as real critical thinking, creative thinking, systems thinking, or hybrid thinking, etc. To expedite digitalization, it’s important to leverage growth mindset -either individually or collectively, believe people can continue to learn and develop their abilities for adapting to changes. Developing ultra-modern thinking is very hard work and does include a lot of deep thinking, observation, intellectual inquiries, unusual connections, adventurous experimenting, unique skill sharpening, and differentiated capabilities building. Digitalization is the evolutionary change, keep practicing progressive thinking in a collective setting which can sustain a balance of diversified viewpoints, forward-thinking perspective, empathetic understanding, and collective creativity. To run a high-intelligent digital organization which evolves rapid changes, it requires that we move from mindset to mind flow; from fixed mind to growth mind, from thinking convenience and conventionally to thinking consequence, thinking forward and longer-term.

The innovation Pillar: Digital is the age of innovation. Innovation Management System includes policies, structures, and programs that innovation leaders/managers can use to drive innovation. A defined structure is essential to managing innovation in a corporation, but there's no single structure that will work in every organization. Innovation needs to be a structural process and disciplined approach to discovering and building opportunities in creating new meaningful sources of value to targeted users. However, trying to apply overly rigid process or structure sets limits to unleash the full innovation potential. Innovation will happen when people are given free space to be creative without holding them back. More precisely, you apply principles of approaches and vary the resource and tool mix by the ever-changing environment for managing a balanced innovation portfolio and build innovation strength via prioritizing resources and managing risks.

The digital Information Technology pillar: Never before has the lightweight digital technology moved more quickly and missteps have larger trajectory impacts on every aspect of the business. Today’s technology enables companies to leverage their various environments, or ecosystems, to chase innovation, unlock potential, and accelerate performance. IT as the digital pillar is actually more powerful, but lightweight. Information Technology as the strong pillar of the digital transformation means that IT can not only "keep the lights on," to get the fundamental right, but also help their company achieve its business goals in any way possible, and even make impossible possible. IT needs to be telling the business about opportunities and possibilities and that means IT needs to really understand the goals of the business and synchronize with business goals. With these insights, organizations acquire the ability to reshape products, services, and customer engagement. If applicable, increase output. This means a higher profit and accelerated speed.

The People Pillar: People are always the most important asset and capital investment in any organization before, today, and in the future. Organizations and their people learn through their interactions with the dynamic business environment. To build a powerful people pillar of the digital transformation, there are some of the issues where must be aware of integration of a single talent capability into an integrated enterprise people management capability across all enterprises, to amplify the collective capability and improve differentiated business competency. Today's digital workforce is multi-generational, multicultural, and multi-devicing, thus, digital talent management needs to reflect such a digital paradigm shift. Businesses must be alert to the digital dynamic environment, adapt their workforce planning and talent development strategies to ensure their digital workforce is engaged, innovative, and transformative.

The Culture Pillar:
 The Culture is collective mindsets, attitude, and habits that could be considered part of the people skills/competencies component to model a business capability. Your culture guides and informs ‘How you do WHAT you do and should point you to WHY you do it.’ It’s a soft, but tough element which can harden the hardest, to lift your organization to the next level of digital maturity effortlessly, or sink your business tragically. Culture is invisible, but culture system is the powerful pillar to run a digital organization. In order to move up to the next level of organizational maturity, the culture needs to be changed as well to adapt to the emerging digital trend and pulling strategy execution towards the right decision. Culture adoption happening is like a wave. Senior Management starts the wave coming into the shore, but it then has to reach the beach (bottom) before it can go back out. If your culture embraces the future, inspires others, being a customer fanatic, and then it forms the dynamic digital environment and high-mature digital organization.

The Changeability pillar: Digital is all about changes, and change is multifaceted with increasing speed and velocity. Thus, changeability is the crucial pillar that keeps the business dynamic, energetic, and adaptive. It is important to assess the current state of changeability with key elements such as people, process, and technology. The process, technology, capability tuning. etc, are all tactics to get the organization there; but it all starts with the realization that "we can't stay the same." It takes a logical scenario to manage change lifecycle and build changeability step-wisely. change shouldn’t be for its own sake, it is also important to develop the business justification for changes and determine demand and estimated pipeline. It is strategic imperative to define the target change management capability via identifying the change gaps, sourcing the mix set of skills, identifying change agents, and tuning the business process to deliver the desired changeability.

The Digital Capability Pillar: Organization’s capabilities are business competency to execute its strategy and deliver value to its customers. How effective the strategy execution is directly dependent on how coherent of business capabilities is. Business Capabilities are the abilities to produce specific goods or services for serving customers, gaining market shares, and building business competency. They are essentially underpinned by business processes that are embodied in the knowledge capital of a digital organization. Capabilities have outcomes; they collaborate with each other and are enabled by processes. The organization’s competency is based on the set of differentiated and cohesive capabilities and how fast and effective they can be built upon. The maturity of a business capability would be based on the ability to deliver on customer needs or to achieve the desired capability outcome, with maturity attributes, such as "quality," “agility,” “flexibility,” "value," and ”measurability."

The Digital Performance Pillar: Enterprise performance management is about how organizations manage performance at both strategic and operational level to achieve the well-set business goals and objectives. Performance measurements are the number in context, the good measurement aids setting the direction for digital transformation journey. Selecting the right measure and measuring it right are both art and science. Avoid silo thinking, individual goals typically are goals that are based on a subsection of a department's goals, and the division goals are always the coherent part of the company’s goal. Key Performance Indicators influence management behavior as well as business culture, and poorly designed or implemented KPIs can be very damaging the "culture of the team" and the quality of business execution. Hence, it is important to advocate a holistic performance management system for enforcing and maintaining trust, transparency, and collaboration.

Consider digital organization as the self-organized but interlaced and hyper-connected ecosystem, it is important to define the vision, discover the blind spots, identify unknowns, build strong pillars, and then consciously manage the business performance and accelerate digital transformation effectively.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Monthly “Digital Gaps” Book Tuning: Minding Critical Thinking Gaps Feb. 2018

"Digital Gaps -Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Business
” is a guidebook to help digital leaders and professionals today identify, analyze, and mind multiple gaps with the multidisciplinary insight and holistic understanding. Today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still., bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge, it is important to bridge communication, knowledge and insight gaps and take a stepwise approach to make a leap of digital transformation.

Critical Thinking Gaps? Critical Thinking is the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion. There are very few real critical thinkers because it is a complex type of thinking with the multitude of thought process, at the deeper level, critical thinking has creativity embedded in it. The critical Thinking technique can be taught, but Critical Thinking skills can only be developed via practicing independent thinking, insightful observation, and conscious and even superconscious reasoning. There are critical thinking gaps existing which cause leadership blind spots and poor decision making, how to identify and fill them to improve the leadership maturity and digital professionalism

The Cognitive Gap Cause and Effect?
Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge through thought, experience, and senses. The "mind" represents our consciousness and awareness. It is the software that promotes and regulates each function and each action of our body, from the reproduction and reconstruction of our cells to the food process and distribution, to our voluntary and involuntary movements, and to all our behaviors, etc. However, the brain activities function for survival instincts are still primitive, what are the further aspect of human sophistication in regards to vision, communication, and innovation for problem-solving or overcoming challenges? And what are further problems caused by cognitive gaps and how to bridge them effectively?

The New Book “Digital Gaps” Chapter 1 Introduction: Cognitive Gaps?
Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge through thoughts, experiences, and senses. It is a perception, sensation, and insight. People are different, not because we look different, but because we think differently. Cognitive gaps enlarge problem-solving gaps because it will cause the blind spots for either defining the real problem or solving it. Cognitive gaps cause innovation gaps which disconnect many things that are supposed to be interconnected, it becomes the barrier to connecting the dots to stimulate creativity. There is the multitude of perspectives on the cognitive gaps, as well as how to close them.

The Uncritical Thinking Patterns
Critical thinking means “making clear, reasoned judgments. While in the process of critical thinking, your thoughts should be reasoned and well thought out or judged.” (Wikipedia). So what’re the anti-critical or uncritical thinking patterns? And how to manipulate our thinking in a more constructively critical way?

Bridging Education Gaps
 Education is one of the best things and great privileges for modern global citizens because it provides significant opportunities for people to build disciplines, learn some fundamental knowledge and train certain skills. In the static industrial age with information scarcity, education does help to train certain professionals for gaining some linear skills to do the job well. However, at today's fast-changing digital era with "VUCA" normality, formal education alone is not sufficient to build professional capabilities such as thinking, creativity or problem-solving. Therefore, it creates the INSIGHT and INNOVATION gap when we are moving to the deep digital reality with abundant information (but still with the scarce of insight). How can you capture the real signals from so much background noises? How can you keep updating knowledge to ensure both educators and receivers capturing the real insight and true wisdom with increasing speed of changes and shortened knowledge cycle? How can you not just absorb the existing knowledge, but co-create new knowledge for accelerating innovation and societal advancement? Or to put simply, how can you bridge education gaps for making the leap of digital transformation?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with about #4300th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The CIO’s “Underdog Leadership” Practices at the Dawn of Digital and the “Year of Dog”

The digital world is so information-intensive and technology-savvy, IT needs will only expand, and most likely expand.

There is no doubt that IT plays a more significant role in running the modern business today. Information brings about business ideas; business ideas generate lots of information. Information Systems are the backbone and provide valuable information for key decision making. However, in many organizations, CIOs still don’t get the seat at the big table, they are perceived as tactical managers and second class executives. Therefore, to improve collaboration, gain respect, enforce transparency and amplify their leadership voice, IT leaders should ask themselves: Why is IT still perceived as a cost center? Why is IT not getting enough respect despite all good work and dedicated effort were undertaken? Why is IT always overloaded and understaffed? Why doesn’t the business invite IT leaders to engage in strategic conversations? It is the beginning of the Year of Dog, should CIOs practice “underdog leadership” at the dawn of the Digital Era as well?

To build effective underdog leadership, CIOs must learn to speak the language of the business:
A CIO needs to be a business leader first, technology leader second. The connection between IT and business lies in using the common language to help business cross that bridge to IT. The business executives including CIOs should understand that IT as a function is the business in the business and revenue generating. The faster the business management understands that IT is not just technical, but rather Business Technology, and then we will see that many companies start to have better conversations with each other and what’s more, a better understanding of how it all makes sense. A good place to start is by trying to get all parts of the business in the same process for proposing, justifying, and prioritizing. A CIO first needs to be a business leader in strategy deployment to engage the IT role and facilitate in the technologist role, and then in the technology role. Digital CIO is the person who is and has enough experience, adequate communication, and leadership skills, willingness to learn and explore the new business opportunities. IT needs to be understood and harnessed by all stakeholders to fulfill its potential and strategic importance as a differentiator of companies.

The underdog IT leaders need to practice when to say “yes,” and when to say “no,” as well as “HOW”
: IT seems to be always overloaded and understaffed. IT leaders seem to be always at the hot seat when things get wrong. IT becomes an easy excuse for being too late and above budget. Too often IT is involved too late in the decision-making process. This results in a dynamic where the business develops enthusiastically nice and shiny plans and goals and IT then has to explain why this cannot be developed and fit into the existing architecture at a reasonable investment. Often, IT leaders say 'Yes' to everything not through the heart to heart agreement, but due to the fears of uncertainties or hierarchical pressure. Though IT needs to become customer-centric, IT staff should be able to say “NO” with good reasons and provide alternative solutions to meet users’ need and create the win-win situation. A high-mature digital IT needs to understand stakeholders’ expectations and propose a service/solution portfolio that corresponds to both demand and cost drivers with a focus on business priority and building unique business competency.

The underdog IT leaders must know how to promote their organization by "selling the right things right”: To reinvent IT reputation as the business partner, IT leaders should change their image from the tech geek to a business leader with intellectual voice and creative communication skills; they can advocate IT and promote their organization as the change agent. Because CIOs are in the unique position to oversee business processes and build key capabilities. They should play the role as the “change agent,” via orchestrating people, process, and technology seamlessly. IT leaders also should know when to lead at the front, and when to follow, perform underdog leadership accordingly. IT does not always run the show and should not hold up the business and business does not own the goals and own the solution. Across the company, every department needs to work together to be successful. Organizational leaders that understand both business and IT and focuses on a shared responsibility for effective delivery of IT solutions is usually in the right position to run a highly effective digital organization.

The digital world is so information-intensive and technology-savvy, IT needs will only expand, and most likely expand. The growth mind, underdog leadership practices, and egoless adaptation are all important for improving contemporary CIO leadership maturity.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” Feb., 2/16/2018

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating, and sharing.
The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with 4300+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Here is the weekly insight about digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.

Three Overarching Management Approaches to Shape a High-Mature Digital Organization? The journey of improving business maturity is more evolutionary than revolutionary. It is not just about one-dimensional technology adoption, but a multi-dimensional digital expansion. It is certainly critical to put the stronger emphasis on empowering people, leveraging the source of knowledge, harnessing adaptation, fostering innovations, and taking an overarching management approach to shaping a high-mature digital organization.

Three “Views” to Advance Digital Boardroom The BoD role sets the top leadership’s tone for progression and affects most through cohesive communication, congruent behavior, and continuous endorsement of the change to keep the momentum. Digital boards are the guiding roles, like the steering wheel of their company, leading the business toward the uncharted water and blurred territories for reaching the ultimate digital destination. Which views can help the board clear their vision and enable them to stay focus and advance their leadership to get digital ready?

The New Book “Problem-Solving Master” Book Introduction The purpose of “Problem-Solving Master - Frame Problems Systematically and Solve Problems Creatively“ is to throw some light on how to understand, frame, and solve today’s multilayer, interdependent, and over-complex business problems effortlessly. Digital leaders and professionals should self-aware of their role in problems, show professional maturity, and develop a good reputation as the problem-solver.

The Monthly “Unpuzzling Innovation” Book Tuning: Digital Innovation Principles & Practices Feb. 2018 Digital is the age of innovation. And innovation is what leads to differentiation. There are many ways to differentiate and, therefore, there are many ways to pursue innovation. Talking about innovation is not new nowadays, everybody, every organization now is talking about innovation. It's been at or near the top of the business or economics agenda for a long time. However, there are a lot of confusions about innovation and there is no magic sauce to guarantee its success. Back to basic, what is innovation, the more you look into this topic, the more difficult to give a definition of innovation, as it is such a broad topic? One of the good definitions of innovation is: "to transform the novel ideas into commercial success.” In essence, innovation is, "intentional novelty bringing sustainable benefit."

The Intellectual "VOICE" of Digital CIOs The digital organization is a living business in the relationship with its environments, customers, suppliers, and above all enhances and supports the creative human spirit via connecting, discovery, and experimentation. IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. Thus, digital CIOs must raise the intellectual VOICE, not via speaking louder, but via thinking profoundly, communicating insightfully, and leading innovatively.

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The Underdog Leadership Quotes to Celebrate the “Year of Dog” 2018

“Maturity refers to having a sound understanding of basics and making a fair judgment.”

"Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (22+books) is to perceive the multifaceted impact digital is making to the business and our society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the digital journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” Here is the set of popular quotes about thinking, innovation, and underdog leadership to celebrate the ‘Year of Dog.”

“The defining qualities that will distinguish great leaders from the rest are stemmed from the mindset level.”
Pearl Zhu, Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity

“It seems to be most leaders have more conventional wisdom, but creative leaders have better common sense.”

Pearl Zhu, Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity

“Digital fit” should be first defined as “mind fit,” and then following with attitude fit and behavior fit.”

Pearl Zhu, Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity

“The function of the bridge is to mind the gap; the wonder of the bridge is to create a scene.”

Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age

“The art of questioning is to ignite innovative thinking.”

Pearl Zhu, 100 Creativity Ingredients: Everyone’s Playbook to Unlock Creativity

“Maturity refers to having a sound understanding of basics and making a fair judgment.”

Pearl Zhu, 100 Creativity Ingredients: Everyone’s Playbook to Unlock Creativity

Digital Change Pendulum, How Fast can it Swing?

 Closer to reality is that 'change' is continuously happening in such a dynamic environment of a company. 

Digital means the increasing pace of changes. A changeable organization is to creating organizations where change is the norm and happens the whole time thereby delivering faster and increasing market share. There is the distinction between different types of organizational change - incremental or transformative; the scope, scale, and impact of the changes. In order to build a high-responsive and high-informative organization, digital leaders need to make an objective assessment via asking:  Digital change pendulum, how fast can it swing? And how to take a proactive approach to manage the journey of digitalization?

Transformative changes: Transformation is, "the company reinvented itself." It is a change to the fundamental business model itself, it is a radical change. The top of the pile is strategy-driven transformation. One reason that change initiatives fail so often is that companies attempt a level of change well beyond their predominant mindset and approach. Sometimes the transformation is necessary in order to cope with change. To manage a large scale transformative change, communication, exemplification, and amplification of best practices are all crucial steps in building a changing-enabling culture. Alignment with organizational design, business architecture, and performance management ultimately accelerates the change pendulum and leads to where you need to be for really making a difference. Make sure all of the management is on board and educated well on the objectives and how to carry them out effectively. Because the organizational change becomes the common practice within an organization, it needs to be treated as a strategic ongoing capability to reach its full advantage. A high-mature digital organization can be observed to have a predominant change culture that is inherent in their approaches, tools, and resourcing. Because the transformative change needs to deprogram old mindsets, let go of “the voices from the past,” reprogram people's minds with new thinking, norms, and attitudes; and establish a new blueprint for how you want to create the digital future collaboratively.

The problem-driven improvement: Running organization is fundamentally the problem-driven improvement and continuum. Change management is a gradual process to keep the change pendulum swinging at the steady speed. Some of the improvement initiatives can be tremendously complex but still have relatively fewer moving parts, compared to transformative change. To achieve desired changes, an organization must create an environment that encourages change attitude, enables effective collaborations, shares & promotes ideas, and makes the continuous goal-driven improvement. The goal of change and improvement should look beyond immediate problem resolution. The focus should include actions designed to sustain performance improvement and anchor change as a new opportunity and an ongoing capability. Overcoming change inertia is challenging, but change is happening at a more rapid pace, understand that proactive change must occur for a particular goal or objective to be achieved. If you make change part of your routine, and then change becomes easier to deal with, and turn to be an iterative business continuum.

Fixing things: Besides large transformation changes, there are many little “c” change, such as,  implementing a new software tool, or tuning an important business process etc. Little “c” change requires tools, training, and practice in order for the participants to feel comfortable that the service level they provide will continue or improve with the same or reduced effort. At the bottom of the change pyramid is simply fixing things. Many change laggards struggle with fixing things reactively or simply fix the symptom without digging into the root cause. The lack of recognition of change impacts individuals and businesses’ willingness to extend themselves again for the next change. For the organizations getting stuck at the lower level of change maturity, sometimes, change itself becomes the very goal as a Change Initiative is completed, often teams walk away without checking to see if it adds value or evaluating if additional work is required. In such cases, there is no surprise that change pendulum is simply slow down or get stuck somewhere, unfortunately.

Transformation is structural. Change is functional. Both are manageable. Closer to reality is that 'change' is continuously happening in such a dynamic environment of a company. The speed of change is increasing, and digital ecosystem has become more complex and compelling. To put simply, change itself changes. So, for a company to move from one level to another change maturity requires step-function changes in tools, culture, leadership, and process, and make the change as an ongoing digital capability.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Monthly “Dot Connections” Setting Positive Tones to Celebrate the Holiday Feb. 2018

Digital is the age of creativity and innovation, and creativity is all about connecting the dots.

The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Digital is the age of creativity and innovation via connecting wide dots and spreading the true knowledge.

 Setting Positive Tones for the Holiday

Positivity vs. Optimism:
Optimism comes from the Latin word Optimus, meaning "best," which describes how an optimistic person is always looking for the best in any situation and expecting good things to happen. Optimism is the tendency to believe, expect or hope that things will turn out well. A positive mental attitude is focused on strength, opportunities, and inspired actions. It is about being your best, not beating another in a negative way.

Optimistic vs. Pessimistic Mind An optimistic mind sees the sunny side of the things and the world; a pessimistic mind sees the dark side of the things and the world; there’s nothing absolutely right or wrong with both types of minds, but it is optimistic mind pushes the world moving forward and makes the life progressive? And how can you help to improve the harvest of the creative seed and accelerate the advancement of the society?

Likability vs. Respect vs. Trust Respect is based on being trustworthy and authentic. Likeability is subjective, people often like people who are similar to themselves, or have a certain charisma. Being likable or popular does not always earn you the respect. Trust starts with respecting. There are differences between likeability vs. respect. vs. trust.

Holiday Dots Connection: Sympathy vs. Empathy Once again, it is the holiday season and it’s almost the end of the year, it is not just the time to spoil your appetite, but also the moment to open your mind, and connect more dots to discover the new meaning of holidays - Are you sympathetic to give more to others, or are you empathetic to understand better of the world? Are you compassionate about many man-made disasters; or are you passionate to overcome the challenges facing human society? What’s the further dot-connection between sympathy and empathy?

Kindness vs. Toughness: The holiday season is the time to reflect and refresh, it is also the time to share and give. But doing a few good deeds is just the practice to be kind. The true kindness is the state of mind. As the digital leaders and professionals today, how can you connect the dots between kindness vs. toughness, and let kindness flow from the bottom of your heart and the top of your mind?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.3million page views with about #4300th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The New Book “Problem-Solving Master” Chapter 1 Introduction

One of the biggest challenges for modern management is how to put the right people with the right capability in the right position to solve the right problem at the right time.

Fundamentally, every job is to deal with problems big or small both from a long-term perspective and even on the daily basis. Sometimes, even you intend to solve problems but perhaps cause more serious problems later on. So, observe the problem-solving scenarios and ask yourself how you discover the part you played in the problem, and how to build a good reputation on problem-solving.

A mindful problem-solver: Problem-solving is one of the most significant activities in the human society. There is the multitude of thinking processes behind problem-solving. For example, it takes the big picture type of strategic thinking and scientific logic of Systems Thinking to dig through the root cause of problems. It is a sense of perspective, stepping back to see a bigger picture than others. It takes critical thinking to frame the right problem and empathetic thinking to address the correct need. Creative and methodical solvers are able to make unusual associations for solving problems recursively. Thus, problem-solving is a mindset with curiosity, self-inclusiveness, creativity, and progression.

A systematic problem-solving master: Systems Thinking is a mixed bag of holistic, balanced, and often abstract thinking to understand things profoundly and solve problems systematically. People are all a bundle of assumptions, a collection of cause-and-effect, and a limited ability to put all this together to create a sense of reality. Many of those assumptions may be false, and some of those cause-and-effects are probably wrong. Therefore, Systems Thinking emerges as a type of digital thinking to deal with complexity and overcome uncertainty. Systems Thinking is the ability to navigate levels of abstraction or logic as an essential thinking skill for Systems Thinkers that help them discover the interconnectivity and interdependence in problem-solving.

Mastering Complex problem-Solving: Today’s businesses become overcomplex, the comprehensive solutions to many complex problems requires both cross-domain knowledge and divergent thought processes, so it can wander and be influenced by disparate associations brought up during exploring problem-solving scenario. Often time, organizations spend too many resources and time to take care of immediate problems or make the quick fix with ignorance of digging into the root cause of real problems. The side effect is that, in many cases, the quick-fix solutions actually make the company backward. It takes commitment and discipline to stay focused on the real priorities of the business instead of being distracted by what seems to be more urgent on any given day.

No one person or entity is always the source of problems, likewise, no one person will be the panacea to all problems. Today’s digital leads and professionals should become problem-solving masters. A true problem-solver is mindful and enjoys understanding the complexity and guides people through it, finds common ground and initiates dialogues, turns around tough situations and enjoys challenges about complex problem-solving.