Digital Transformation and COVID-19

"…Even when the apparatus exists, novelty ordinarily emerges only for the man who, knowing with precision what he should expect, is able to recognize that something has gone wrong.”

In my latest podcast episode of Core Insights, I (virtually) sat down with Professor Wolcott to discuss how Digital leaders can ensure success in the post-COVID world. We discussed several important topics such as Proximity, Periphery, and Agency, and how they are enabled by Industrial AI.

View the episode below. As always, I will be awaiting your feedback. Thomas Kuhn wrote this statement in his landmark book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Although his comments were meant for scientific discoveries, the philosophy that the truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion, is highly relevant to the global pandemic our world faces today.

COVID-19 has highlighted the many failed digital transformation efforts across the globe—many efforts which have been a victim of confusion leading to dismal business results and a long list of failed projects. Harvard Business Review reports that in 2018, $1.3 trillion was spent on digital transformation initiatives, with an estimated $900 billion in waste with companies reporting that they didn’t meet their goals.

The current crisis has revealed that an unfortunate number of business leaders didn’t fully understand what was expected to digitally transform, and to make matters worse, most were ok not knowing and therefore delegating efforts to others within their organization.

We have been forced into a realization of a massive error that was in the making for years. These times have also uncovered what exactly businesses should expect from their digital efforts and how soon. In Thomas Kuhn’s words: “the truth will now emerge, if it hasn’t already, to the businesses.”

I engage regularly with leaders across the world and over the past four months, the conversation on digital has become significantly more meaningful and sincere than ever before. It feels as if there is a newfound sense of urgency and significance.

Professor Rob Wolcott rightly argues in his Forbes article that businesses have crossed a metaphorical (Digital) Rubicon river and they have a limited time to perform (or perish). Just like it was for Julius Caesar and his army, for businesses, it’s Rome or death.