Having the right digital mindset

“Digital” is used as a title to cover the current business and computing era. Being “digital” is about having the right mindset. There is no magic course or exam that you can take that will pronounce you as being “digital.” It’s how you apply yourself against the changing landscape of business and technology.

There are many areas that could be included to help shape your digital mindset; however, for me these fit into six main areas:

  • Business
  • Technology
  • Social
  • Personal
  • Application
  • Learning

The Digital Era is enabling “a growth mindset in the age of abundance.”

Business

The business area covers the skills and thinking that are needed in your workplace and what you need to succeed. Businesses are being constantly challenged in the way that they operate today and look forward to tomorrow against what their customers demand, the market wants and the competition is doing.

There may be a number of business processes that are in place that have been there for a while and are expensive to change, constrained by a number of factors. This has meant that the processes haven’t grown. The changes that the digital era is bringing help to remove these constraints and costs, allowing business to rethink how they achieve these processes. With the constraints being removed through innovation and advancements, and with costs coming down, how can you change or transform these processes to meet the market challenges of today? What can you change, transform, automate?

Technology

The technology area covers existing, new and emerging technologies in your life. It’s what you use in everyday life and what you could use or imagine that would help you complete tasks and achieve goals quickly and efficiently. Defining which technologies you should be using and learning will depend partly on what your job role is and the road maps and trends for the industry or sector. The as-a-Service (aaS) economy is providing the ability to consume technology at a faster, easier rate with an abundance of choice of services. The need for a growth mindset is key to navigating a direction and path through this and making decisions on which technologies best meet your needs. The key is to understand and keep up with the trends and technologies.

Social

The social area covers how you interact with the rest of the world, including your work and family life. Reading everything that is going on in social media is literally “drinking from the fire hose.” So much is happening that you can easily get swamped with noise.  Building a Personal Knowledge Management System is one way of keeping in touch with what is happening and trending in social media on topics that you are interested in. Setting yourself a series of Social Media Rules will help define when and what you should put in the public domain and what not to.

Personal

The personal area covers yourself. Ensuring that your health is good and you are living life to the fullest or best you can helps. Eating well and keeping fit help keep the mind fresh and positive.

Understand that change is happening every day, and that we need to embrace this with a positive attitude and work through the ambiguity it presents. A blog post by Richard Branson recently wraps this up nicely: “You can’t control what happens to you in your life but you can control how you react to it.”

Fear of failure is another area that often lets us down and stops us from trying things. However, we can learn from our mistakes, so it is important to experiment and innovate. Doing small things and trying them — theory of small bets — allows you to fail fast if things don’t work and keep any cost or consequences small.

“Successful entrepreneurs don’t begin with brilliant ideas — they discover them.” — Peter Sims

Application

The application area covers how you apply these mindset areas to your everyday life using methods that are well documented such as Agile and Design Thinking. The key is choosing the right method for the situation you are in. Using aids to help you may be one way of doing this — see playing a game with innovation and thinking.

Learning

One of the biggest areas is learning. Keeping your skills up to date with the latest advancements in all the areas above. You should be looking to do 50 to 60 hours of learning a year as a minimum (some professions require higher number of hours). Learning is easier with the internet and online courses, videos and podcasts that allow learning to be undertaken anytime. Reinforcing your learning through explaining it to someone else or blogging about it is part of The Nature and Cycle of CPD.

There are arguments for and against learning to code; however, having an understanding of what is going on in the coding world helps with today’s advancing technology.


Max Hemingway is a chief technologist for DXC Technology in the United Kingdom. With more than 25 years of experience, he has a broad and deep range of technical knowledge and is able to translate business needs into IT-based solutions. Max has a proven track record acquired through continual client engagement and delivery of leading edge infrastructures, all of which have delivered positive results for end-clients, including IT cost reduction, expansion of service capability and increased revenues. This post first appeared in Max’s blog. @Max_Hemingway

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