The digital wave that sweeps everything around is so strong that many have been led to speak about the fourth industrial revolution. More and more organizations of all kinds and sizes are striving to find their way in this modern environment… And this is quite understandable, since all of them need to transform themselves digitally, even for ensuring their own survival. However, in order for them to be successfully transformed digitally, they have to learn how they may be transformed anyway. And this seems to be today more relevant than ever!
The main characteristic of the first three industrial revolutions was that machines mainly contributed to the increasing of the efficiency of human effort, which in turn led to an increased productivity by orders of magnitude. They therefore essentially helped in doing things that were being done in the past anyway but in a better way. In this context, the use of the concepts of scale and specialization helped humanity to answer a lot of “what” and “how” questions. However, not necessarily the right things were being done!
The critical distinction of the fourth revolution that is driven by the dramatic increase in computational power and networking is that it changes interaction. And this has not only to do with human to human interaction but also to human – machine one. In such a context, not only the “what” and “how” questions are redefined. A lot of “why” ones are now relevant too. It is therefore not only efficiency of human effort that will once again increase by orders of magnitude. It is also the way humans behave and interact, that changes dramatically too, not to mention the way of their interaction and even their fusion with the machines. In this context, new things can be done in a totally different way, new possibilities are open and new ways are possible.
The task of adapting to the new digitally-driven and also digitally-driving environment is much more complex than in the past. Digital transformation is not anymore relevant to technologies that organizations may use in order to increase their productivity. Definitely, among others, that still remains an issue. However the real problem is more existential and has to do with the very definition of why they should ever exist in view of what is now possible… Quite ironically, the modern issue of how organizations may be transformed digitally boils down to traditional problem of how they can transform themselves in the first place!