We often talk about digital transformation in the context of technology but that is only one of the ingredients necessary to ensure success in this area. It’s important to ensure that your organisation has the right governance, processes and above all the right people – or at least people that have the right mind-set shall we say.

Every business is filled with people with a variety of diverse skills and attributes. Perhaps the most important of all when it comes to digital transformation is imagination. I often say to people that you must start small which is absolutely the case, however there is nothing wrong with dreaming big. Folk should be allowed the freedom to be creative and innovative within your organisation. Adopting a ‘what if’ mentality when it comes to devising new ideas will encourage participation amongst your stakeholders to help you advance from where you are now to where you want to be. Doing things the same old way just because your business has always done it that way is no longer an option in this day and age.

The most talented individuals within your company are those who can dream up new ways of solving old problems – as well as come up with new ideas. These people are a tremendous asset to your business and if given enough runway can bring others along on the journey through inspiration and passion. However too many of the organisations that I see today are risk averse and their people are too often embroiled in political infighting as well as ‘game playing’ which detracts individuals from not only doing their jobs but from devising new way of doing things. Fear of failure manifests itself within these organisations which prevents them from moving forward at the right pace. Business leaders must step in and drive this change top down as waiting on the side-lines for those involved to work it out simply won’t happen. Rewarding and recognising innovate thinking and collaboration on new ideas should be mandated and driven by executive leadership.

Many who are comfortable with the status quo within their organisations may regard innovation as disruptive to their processes or legacies. However, it is crucial that obstacles that prevent people from innovating are removed. Everyone within the organisation should be encouraged to participate and contribute their ideas. A mantra of ‘there’s no such thing as a bad idea’ should be adopted. Innovation requires no that boundaries be put in place. To participate, individuals don’t necessarily need technical or specialist skills, just a willingness to learn and sufficient motivation to see their ideas through from conception to delivery, the foresight to navigate pitfalls and obstacles that may stand in their way, as well as the right mind-set to not get discouraged when encountering any of these.

A key marker for success is validation. The field that I work in makes this easy. By validating your ideas with your customers, you can harvest the right data to put forward a compelling case to your stakeholders that yours or their ideas are worthwhile investing in. By AB testing not only experiential design or site layout for example, but things such as your company’s proposition, USPs, product offering, pricing and go to market approach you can determine not only how to improve the performance of your business but whether there is demand for a new concept or offering that your stakeholders have devised as means of innovating. Customer data from experimentation activities serves as the key to promoting and selling the necessary change required to drive the innovation that can transform your business.

You can make a start today by encouraging others to change their way of thinking by not asking ‘why’ but instead ‘why not’ when presented with a new concept.

Good luck and feel free to comment with any of your own experiences in tackling this challenge, We’d love to hear from you.