As a digital leader, it is important for me to maintain a reflective journey. This is because we often underestimate the future, and I need to maintain an open-mindedness to try doing things differently and to think from different perspectives. I should surround myself with people from diverse backgrounds and suspend my judgement to find creative and viable solutions. I need to train my brain to think differently and not shoot down new ideas. Instead of being too comfortable in my job, I should step out of my comfort zone and recognize that withholding judgement is key to thinking about future scenarios. I need to be a domain expert but approach my work with a beginner's mindset, taking a long-term view and preparing for all plausible futures.
As a digital leader, I am responsible for leading change and being prepared for the near future. There are only two options: adapt or die. We can look at examples like the failure of Blockbuster and the rise of Netflix, Sony's failure and Apple's domination of the iPod market, or Kodak's failure and replacement by the iPhone camera. Changes in trends like these require action. Doing nothing in response to market changes is a real threat. I need to think about a blue ocean strategy that emphasizes differentiation and value creation at a low cost. I should not prefer to compete on price in the red ocean. Instead, I should aim to make competition irrelevant. I could adopt the ERRC (Eliminate, Raise, Reduce, and Create) framework for innovation. Moonshot thinking can lead to multiplier times of impact, but first, I need the willingness to learn and not be afraid of failure. Failure is not glamorous, but I need to stay audacious.
The key challenge and impediment to planning and evoking change is that senior management often uses convergent thinking and narrows down ideas. They are often too busy with day-to-day operations and firefighting, and may not have the time for divergent thinking. Sometimes we need to take a step back and tackle industry problems with unique ideas. This means we need the courage to make mistakes, fail fast, and fail cheaply. It is not easy to have psychological safety in the workplace, as our main job is to manage risk with a focus on short-term profit. It is especially difficult for a company to destroy its cash cow and pivot directions for a new disruption. Our daily jobs are biased towards the short term, and coordination is not easy at the corporate level. As an explorer, I need to detach from the rest of the business while sustaining sponsorship support, remembering purpose, and finding the right balance.
To adapt to changes in the future, I will need stakeholder management skills, storytelling skills to convince others of new trends, and the courage to challenge conventional group thinking. I should not dismiss science fiction technology, as technology will eventually find a use case. The future is not based on what I know, but on what I do not know. The future is already here, but it is not evenly distributed. The first adopters are already using technology that will eventually be adopted by a larger population in the future. For example, AI co-pilots are being used in programming, and soon everyone may have an AI co-pilot to assist with daily tasks. Space travel was once limited to certain wealthy individuals, but it will soon be democratized and affordable for everyone. I should prepare myself by controlling and measuring deliverables, commanding others to execute, influencing others, and serving as an advisor and facilitator.