Establishing your Digital DNA

Written by Anna Booth, Digital Leaders Local Manager

I was at the Oxford Said Business School last week with Digital Leaders South East talking about Digital DNA and how one builds it into an organisation.

We looked at it with the help of three very different perspectives.

The first looked at Aston Martin Works – the most traditional bit of Aston Martin that looks after all the cars, restores them and employs very skilled craftspeople, panel beaters and coachwork specialists.

Their clients are made up of wealthy owners and those who would love to own a car; “aspirants”. We focused on their new website as representative of a change in DNA . This site has been heralded as a market leader in the sector for a great UX front end and also a great mix with traditional print communication. The strategy has included working with more digital brands, encouraging them to display AWM from their perspective.

Secondly, we looked at the challenges of recruiting Digital DNA into a team. You can’t rely any more on recruiting people into an organisation at the bottom and skills cascading down from above. You need to bring in digital skills at all levels.

The good news for any public sector HR team that cannot compete on salaries is that money is a secondary factor for many applicants. Instead we heard about three c’s that need to be communicated to applicants:

Control – the how, when, where and way in which staff are able to work – we heard about “Goldilocks” days where team members work in other areas of the business outside of their immediate comfort zones to spread skill and find hidden talents, FEDEX days and organisations allowing 20% of time to be spent on personal initiatives for the business.

Contribution – What part do those joining play in the organisation, considering that people increasingly want to make a  contribution?

Connectedness – Do people feel a connection with the organisations objectives? It’s not just about profit. This means that if you can communicate your Unique Employment Point, “UEP” you will find the right candidates.

The fourth C added by the salon was Competencies – Digital DNA is no longer something you learn from those above you in an organization as happened in the past and skills need to be acquired in new ways. Comments included that learning needs to become a lifestyle in-house and that “sheep dip” training will not change behaviour or build your Digital DNA.

Finally, we took a management consultancy approach and discussed a list of the principles that an organisation should have running through it, that signal its Digital DNA.

They were: building the customer UX into everything you do, finding space for innovation – the point here was that 10x thinking is not about continuous improvement, but rather one of reinventing the way you do things regularly.

Engagement was seen as key – social media and online relationships means that most people talking about you and what you do are not necessarily linked to you through work.

Data analytics and market insight are also key to understand what is happening in the market you are in. Your actions should be linked to data rather than gut feeling and decisions should be based on evidence and be transparent.

So as a Digital Leaders you should be looking at establishing your organisation’s Digital DNA. This was an interesting two hours looking at three aspects of that process from three very different viewpoints.

Anna Booth is Digital Leaders Local Manager

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