Scaling digital successfully with Adam Bonnifield

” bringing new digital tech in that genuinely solves a real problem people have is often the easiest part of the change management in digital transformation “

Fun conversation with Adam exploring the challenges and opportunities of scaling digital and scaling transformation in different industries. We delve into the legacy systems, the people legacy systems and the power of creating the model that works for you.

How can we anticipate corporate antibodies to innovation and change ? How can we use the disruptive people already in the organisation with a huge appetite for change and a thorough understanding of the existing system ? What levers do we have and how can we use what digital enables more intentionally ? Innovation can bring people together and overcome fierce tribal rivalries in silos, and digital technology can provide powerful solutions to real problems and minimise disruption through its creative use.

Adam shares his insights and experience from working in technology and transformation in organisations of different sizes across Europe and the US.

The main insights you’ll get from this episode are :

–       AI scale-up to transform the rail industry using next-generation digital technologies to retrofit the rail ecosystem and solve difficult technical and change management problems (e.g. maintenance, operation, dealing with failure).

–       As a global necessity, the legacy rail network system and legacy people systems must be reinvented by getting close to the people on the ground (e.g. the engineer responsible for track maintenance) in order to get close to the transformational opportunities.

–       Innovation can bring people together and overcome fierce tribal rivalries in silos – digital technology can provide powerful solutions to real problems and minimise disruption through its creative use.

–       There is often excitement around creative spaces as they are free of accountability and allow free thinking – good solutions create a good culture, but different organisations need different approaches.

–       Transformation requires a team effort in which structures are less rigid, the right mentality is cultivated, and small matters are overcome (e.g. rivalries) in the face of the bigger picture through optimism, accountability and team building.

–       It is important to attract and retain talent and the personal agency and accountability of a small company offers a different working environment as a mission-driven, transformational organisation – personal joy and fulfilment sustains people.

–       KONUS labs are a disruptive, innovation structure that ‘positively contaminate’ but need to be integrated in the company; however rejoining the ‘mother ship’ is often messy and involves the antibodies of two different cultures.

–       Experiments alienate the larger organisation and the innovation team cannot scale the impact of what they do – ‘valley of death’ problem, leading to hostility to the work; transformation and performance must be simultaneous.

–       Digital upskilling for hard skills means learning from the best in order to have an impact on the world and building to scale from the outset – upskilling means fusing different ways of working.

–       Soft skills require more upskilling in the digital era given that the way we work is so different and demands collaboration, agility, learning, unlearning and relearning together with an understanding of the business and the processes (ultimately bringing about culture change).

–       A ‘first time right’ philosophy is often pursued in safety-critical industries but risk and failure are required to produce high-quality products, as is creative resilience.

–       The rail industry of the future requires:

·      a vast ecosystem of data collection technologies to fully outfit the infrastructure for plug-in and data upload to the cloud (stage 1 = innovation, fun technology)

·      a different approach, e.g. predictive failure rather than failure repair, to organising, maintaining, planning and operating a huge network; data will facilitate (global) optimisation (stage 2 = difficult to build technologies that can be scaled before they are fully understood)

·      a solution to the mobility/sustainability challenge – the technology exists and the people must follow suit (stage 3 = painful integration, so it is imperative to get stage 2 right!)

Find out more here :

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