A good description of a good digital organisation that, as my friend ThinkPurpose points out, is really a description of a good organisation :-)

I love the crisis-superhero to fix-fire cycle; reminds me of the ‘fixes that fail archetype’ and some in http://www.scio.org.uk/organisational-maturity-model

If you’re interested in models of organisations that work, you might like one that absolutely boils down to the core essentials for survival now and in the future. The Viable Systems Model has these elements:

The Environment — that the organisation exists in

System 1s: units that interact with the Environment, serving customers and stuff — the only place that any value gets created

System 2: the standards, norms, systems, and processes that hold the organisation together and keep system 1s from tripping over each other

System 3: deliberate management of resource allocation and direction to system 1s and system 2, critically married to system 3*, the understanding and analysis of what is going on in the system 1s and 2; performance understanding.

System 4: looks out to the Future Environment to identify how the organisation needs to change to stay meaningful in the potential futures.

System 5: balances the needs of now (3) vs the needs of the future (5) and makes core decisions about the identity of the organisation.

This could give ‘digital’ folks a powerful handle on All The Stuff That Keeps Going Wrong. Pauline Roberts over at https://systemspractitioner.com/ has some good intro articles, like https://systemspractitioner.com/2017/04/10/applying-systems-thinking-to-commissioning-what-can-the-viable-system-model-bring-to-the-party/ and https://systemspractitioner.com/2017/04/08/applying-systems-thinking-to-commissioning-the-story-of-the-stray-lamb/

My guideline is ‘transform first — then digitise where appropriate’. I want to say that I endorse everything you’ve said — why I included it as the headline in my Nuzzel newsletter — I just think there are opportunities to make the message clearer and stronger with less focus on the digital. After all, isn’t the main problem cycle:

  • notice something is wrong
  • write a ‘digital’ strategy to fix it
  • recruit a ‘digital’ team
  • freak out about what the team is doing — but be incredibly impressed by their ‘quick wins’
  • notice something is still wrong
  • get rid of the ‘digital’ team
  • look for the next ‘thing’

(Cf UK Government)

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