All Posts in digital transformation

March 25, 2021 - No Comments!

Digital Transformation Champion – A truly-effective transformation leader in the era of Digital.

Did you know that investments in Digital Transformation are expected to cross over $7.5 Trillion USD between 2021 and 2024?

Did you also know that only one in three Digital Transformation initiatives usually succeed?

Do you know what’s happened to the companies who have failed to transform themselves into Digital in the last few years?

During a global pandemic and a time of rapid organizational disruption, it is becoming inevitable for leaders in any organization to drive change initiatives while navigating increasingly complex and changing organizational structures, markets, and stakeholders. In an age where yesterday’s science fiction is becoming tomorrow’s history, organizations need champions for their digital transformations to build:

  • Digital Strategy
  • Digital Culture
  • Digital Capabilities


To help organizations prepare for this transformation, KNOLSKAPE presents Digital Transformation Champion simulation, a unique simulation to help organizations create Transformation Champions who can enroll their ecosystems into a new, digital paradigm when needed.

This simulation helps in building awareness on the following attributes of a transformation champion:

  • Understand and learn the importance of strategy, capability, and culture in getting digital change outcomes.
  • Understand the importance of ecosystem adoption in bringing organization-wide change.
  • Understand the importance of outside-in awareness of the digital trends and the changes to unlock the art of the possible, sources of customer value, and changes in business models.
  • Understand the importance of influencing stakeholders even in scenarios where they may not have direct authority. They are open to crossing boundaries within and outside the organization to orchestrate ideas, people, and resources to get things done.
  • Understand how to communicate important concepts/ideas using data.

Digital Transformation Champion simulation is based on some of the widely used and relevant frameworks.


  • ADKAR:
    The Prosci ADKAR® Model is one of the most widely requested and sought-after models for change management. The model offers a structured approach to ensure that each individual experiencing change moves through the five phases necessary to make overall change successful.

© Prosci, Inc.

  • Digital strategy + Digital Capabilities + Digital Culture = Digital Outcomes.In order to bring in a digital transformation change, every leader in the organization needs to build on the strategic alignment towards the initiative, develop capabilities needed to adapt to the change, build and maintain a culture that sustains the change.
  • DIGITAL BLUR. In a digital transformation scenario, a company needs to focus on all three in the right proportion to ensure a successful outcome – which might mean better customer-centricity, more innovation, greater profitability, and faster growth. Digital BLUR is a unique framework created by KNOLSKAPE to help organizations and individuals navigate the disruption caused by the digital revolution. It is the core premise of the book, “Clearing the Digital BLUR,” by KNOLSKAPE’s CEO, Rajiv Jayaraman. The Digital BLUR framework defines how to leverage existing and emerging tools of the Digital era to convince people of the merits of the transformation one wishes to bring about.

BLUR is an acronym that stands for

  • Boundaryless organizations - where the organizational boundaries are blurring away.
  • Limitless digitization - where the line between physical, digital, and biological is blurring away
  • Unbounded innovation - where industry boundaries are blurring away 
  • Relentless iteration - were time boundaries around the now, new, and the next are blurring away


The Digital Transformation Champion simulation gives players the chance to drive digital in a true-to-life ecosystem, with digital-age actions, immersive environments, and realistic interactions. At the end of the simulation, each champion gets a detailed report on their performance that can help them improve their skills even more.

Nurture your mission-critical leadership with KNOLSKAPE's brand new simulation - DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION CHAMPION to drive change initiatives in the digital era. 

March 17, 2021 - No Comments!

Transformation is Not Just Another Change

transformation is not just another change blog page banner

'Transformation' has become the buzzword over the last decade. Not just that, it has replaced 'change' in the business vocabulary. But are the two words the same in meaning and essence?

Before I say a big No, I think it is essential to make a case for both change and transformation and draw out the similarities and differences.

For the sake of an informed argument, let us first look at how each is defined and then call out the parameters on which we can compare the two.

In the dictionary, 'change' is described as 'to substitute or replace something.' Whereas 'Transformation' is defined as 'a complete change, usually into something with an improved appearance or usefulness.' 

These descriptions bring two pictures to my mind; that of a snake and a caterpillar. When a snake sheds its skin, it changes, but when a caterpillar emerges from a pupa and turns into a butterfly, it transforms.

Still, sounds similar?

Understanding the difference today is far more crucial than ever before, especially when enterprises are faced with two of the biggest challenges ever. The first, most unprecedented challenge is that of surviving the pandemic. And the second is of meeting and seizing the opportunity of digital business acceleration.

The sheer magnitude and complexity of these challenges call for a complete shift in how we do things and how we approach them. What has worked so far will not work anymore. With entire industries being reshaped, organizations must rethink their strategy, rebuild their leadership capabilities, reinforce their talent pools, and revamp their culture. That does not sound like a mere change now, does it?

Change can be small and incremental or large and complex. It emanates from the desire to do things differently, to achieve faster, cheaper, and better results. It needs constant monitoring and maintenance. It is limited to changes at the level of process or procedures. These processes and procedures have dedicated owners who continuously measure them against set metrics that point to continuous improvements. It is a short-term response to the market forces and is based on assumptions. It is not significant in impact as it is limited to the internal mechanics of an organization's functions.

E.g., Security upgrades, ERP software migration, entering new verticals based on past success in similar spaces.

Transformation, however, is almost always significant in its magnitude of impact. It demands a complete shift from what you have been so far and aimed for so far as an organization. The goals are not merely incremental but completely new. Unlike change, which is based on past success stories, transformation is a quantum shift from what you did or were before. The point of reference is from this time on. It is future-looking.

To be able to do something completely different, anew, requires a fundamental evolution. Transformation requires modifying core beliefs and long-term behaviors, sometimes in profound ways, to achieve the desired results. You begin by questioning why you do what you do and the way you do it. It is an inward-facing exercise requiring a complete overhaul of an organization's makeup, strategy, capability, and culture. Since it alters the organization's carbon, it has a far-reaching impact on the entire organization and the ecosystem the organization thrives in.

In the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, companies quickly shifted to a work-from-home model. This was a momentary change in the way they operated. The idea was to go back to the way we worked before, as soon as we overcome the problem at hand. But Slack's announcement that they are permanently moving to a hybrid workforce model that eliminates the idea of 'headquarters' as the heart of its operations in June 2020 is a transformation.

Digital change and digital transformation each have a different focus. While moving to cloud-based project management will deliver efficiency is a change initiative, increasing data performance through migration to the cloud is a transformation. Entering new markets based on historic data is change, but big-data-driven marketing automation is transformation.

In simple terms, when you improve processes and procedures intending to be efficient by upgrading technology, you are undertaking change. But when you leverage technology in every aspect of your business and fundamentally rethink how you work with it and through it, it is a transformation.

It is the intent and magnitude of shift and impact that sets the two apart. And these examples clearly show that: change is a short-term enabler that helps an organization quickly adapt or respond to external factors like trends and shifting demands; transformation, however, redefines what success looks like and how you plan to get there.

February 24, 2021 - No Comments!

How Individual Change Readiness Enables a Smooth Transformation

When organizations undertake a transformation initiative, research shows these efforts fail 70% of the time. Transformational change requires individuals to behave differently. They should be able to accept it and be ready to surge ahead with it. You name their degree of acceptance and alignment as their Change Readiness. It is key to the success of the transformation at hand.

However, getting everyone on the same page and surge ahead with the same enthusiasm is a tough nut to crack. We are talking about people, each with their agendas, aspirations, fears, and beliefs.

This means that leaders must address how people think and act in their day-to-day work. They need to make a compelling case for change and serve as a role model who will inspire others to adopt new behaviors. Else, the change will be temporary, and the gains will fitter away quickly, leaving a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.

Not everyone receives to change the same way, so a ‘One for All’ approach will not reap results.

Therefore, the first step is to understand where on the change curve do people in your organization stand before you try to address their needs. And then follow up with an approach that works for them.

Nothing works better than looking at examples to understand something and devise strategies that work.

The most relatable situation at hand is that of organizations trying to figure out how best to respond to the changed realities post the pandemic. Both organizations and people within the organizations have reacted with anger, fear, and denial to the economic disruption and health impacts of the pandemic.

The way we work changed as everyone was asked to work from home, till we figured out a solution to this grave situation. Here are some of the responses from employees (anonymous):

"What is happening to humankind is really sad. Everything is locked down. My life is locked down. My career is locked down. God, what will I do?"

This whole pandemic is going to doom our business and cost us millions. Why didn’t we see this coming? Who are these people who spread this virus?

This lockdown is painful, and everyone wants to get back to work and earn a living, but that's the only way to control the number of casualties.

 This is what is happening, and we need to accept this reality. It is time to be proactive and respond with the right measures. We will be able to sail through if we act fast.

Take a closer look, and you will realize that each response is unique and indicates a different level of acceptance to change. Looking at these responses through the Kübler-Ross Change model lens can help us empathize and strategize our approach to such scenarios.


Kübler-Ross Change Model


Response Stage 1: As people are in a state of shock and denial, they will resist accepting facts at face value. As a leader, you need to initiate communication with your team members. To help them overcome denial, you must aim to listen to their pain points or beliefs, educate them about the changes, and be prepared to take feedback on possible strategies to deal with the situation at hand.

Response Stage 2: At this stage, there is still anger and fear, so you must give time and space. Watch them closely, listen to their concerns and build the support necessary to help them overcome their fears and calm their anger towards the unprecedented situation.

Response Stage 4: As people commit to rebuilding and recouping by putting their weight behind change initiatives, a pat on the back, appreciation, and even rewards go a long way in pushing their motivation levels up. Celebrate their effort, will, and outcomes. Ensure all policies, procedures, and general structure mirror the new changes and they’re adhered to. Continuously demand high standards and reward new behaviors. Look forward, not back.

Remember, as digital transformation initiatives are implemented, individuals go through change at scale- individually and collectively. A leader must understand that people do not go through a change in a linear, step-by-step fashion. They tend to move through the stages in random order and may sometimes even lapse to a previous stage after a certain point in time. Therefore, it is vital that the right strategies are tailored to meet individuals' needs as they cope with the changes necessary for a successful transformation effort.

People are learning to cope with something as tricky as a global pandemic with help from their community and governments. Coping with a digital transformation might be comparatively manageable if you have a strategy to help them cruise through the change curve strategically. Don't you think?


KNOLSKAPE is one of the fastest-growing experiential learning tech companies in the world. KNOLSKAPE accelerates employee growth and Development using an award-winning portfolio of simulations and  in-depth talent analytics. KNOLSKAPE is a 110+ strong team with offices in  Singapore, India, Malaysia, and USA serving a rapidly growing global  client base across industries such as banking and finance,  consulting, IT, FMCG, retail, manufacturing, infrastructure,  pharmaceuticals, engineering, auto, government and academia.  KNOLSKAPE is a global Top 20 gamification company, recipient of  Brandon Hall awards, and has been recognized as a company to watch  for in the Talent Management Space, by Frost & Sullivan, and as a disruptor in  the learning space, by Bersin by Deloitte.

February 15, 2021 - No Comments!

Ways to see through a successful digital transformation

"The only constant in life is change."

- Heraclitus

Digital transformation image

This is a quote we've all grown up listening to, and yet we don't always manage to respond to it positively or proactively. We are who we are as a race, thanks to this constant change and our transformation in response. The inability to change, progress, or grow can result in stagnation.  If we were to sit with our hands crossed and do nothing about it, change has the capability of rendering us redundant.

"When the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near."

These words of wisdom of Jack Welch became the reality of more than 52% of the Fortune 500 companies that ceased to exist due to digital disruption since 2000.

Even before a pandemic, organization leaders ranked digital disruption as their top business priority for 2020. And as we enter 2021, COVID-19 has escalated digital initiatives into digital imperatives, creating an urgent need to rethink strategy, leadership capabilities, and culture.

So, what is Digital? Is it a social media presence? Or mobile technology?

Digital is not a thing. It is a foundational change in how an organization delivers value to its customers.

It is a way of using technology to achieve three objectives:

  • Create exceptional customer experiences
  • Make internal processes agile
  • Unlock new business value

To understand precisely What is Digital? How is it disrupting every industry? And how can you leverage technology to create exceptional customer experiences, make internal processes agile and unlock new business value? Watch this video where Rajiv Jayaraman, Founder & CEO, KNOLSKAPE, explains these concepts and more


How is Digital transforming our reality?

Technology is blurring the boundaries between physical and digital, between organizations, between the Now and the Next quite rapidly. So much so that we see entire industries being disrupted within months rather than years. And it is this phenomenon that Rajiv Jayaraman refers to as the Digital BLUR in his book, Clearing the Digital BLUR™.

BLUR stands for:

Boundaryless Organization – today organizations operate more like organisms in boundaryless ecosystems.

Limitless Digitization - everything is beginning to have a parallel existence in the cloud.

Unbounded innovation – as customer experience becomes more important, industry boundaries become less meaningful.

Relentless Iteration – as time gets crunched. Now, new and next start to happen all at the same time.

To respond to the Digital BLUR™ phenomenon, organizations must completely rewire their strategies, how these strategies get executed, the leadership competencies, and the organization's culture.

Why do you need to respond?

Business leaders are well aware that Digital transformation not only impacts industry structures and strategic positioning, but it affects all levels of an organization (every task, activity, process) and even its extended supply chain. They must ensure that they leverage this change to unlock productivity gains and significant competitive advantage while delivering exceptional customer experience. And with this in mind, a lot of digital transformation initiatives are being led and funded.

However, these digital transformation initiatives have not been easy to realize. According to the McKinsey research on digital transformation efforts, only 30% of Digital Transformations are successful.

Why do Digital transformation initiatives fail?

We must try to understand the reason behind the failure of these initiatives.

These initiatives are certainly not bad ideas. The problem is that they are badly championed.

Let's take the example of Ford motor company. In an attempt for digital transformation, they created a new segment called Ford Smart Mobility in 2014. The goal was to build digitally-enabled cars with enhanced mobility. The issues arose when the company did not integrate the new segment into the rest of FORD. Not only was it headquartered far from the rest of the company, but it was also seen as a separate entity with no cohesion to other business units. As Ford pumped vast amounts of money into its new venture, it faced quality concerns in other areas of the company. Ford's stock price dropped considerably, and their CEO stepped down a few years later.

The lesson:

To drive a transformation of this magnitude, digital transformation needs to be integrated into the company's DNA. You need to garner the alignment and commitment of all your stakeholders. You must take a three-pronged approach involving Strategy, Culture, and Capability:


The existing strategy must be replaced by a new one that is more closely aligned to a Digital ecosystem's opportunities and challenges. Seek answers to these critical questions:

  • What does this new direction mean for us as an organization? Where is this taking us?
  • What are our long-term prospects if we switch?
  • These answers will help you discover possibilities that can be unlocked by being Digital.

Transformations ask for shifts, and shifts need a buy-in of your people, their alignment, and commitment. Culturally, stakeholders at all levels will need to change how they think and operate to discover more possibilities that can be unlocked by being Digital. And this is only possible when you:

  • Create an Awareness of the need for change
  • Generate a Desire to support the change
  • Share the Knowledge of how to change
  • Develop an Ability to demonstrate skills & behaviors
  • Invest in Reinforcement to make change stick.



As digital reshapes strategy, its execution requires enabling people and updating processes and technology to build new-age capabilities so that they can turn these possibilities into reality.

As a leader, you need to make significant progress on all three to be able to convince your stakeholders and propel them on the path of transformation.

In our upcoming writeups, we will cover Strategy, Culture, and Capability transformation in depth. Do look out for them!


digital transformation product launch knolskape banner image


KNOLSKAPE is one of the fastest-growing experiential learning tech companies in the world. KNOLSKAPE accelerates employee growth and Development using an award-winning portfolio of simulations and  in-depth talent analytics. KNOLSKAPE is a 110+ strong team with offices in  Singapore, India, Malaysia, and USA serving a rapidly growing global  client base across industries such as banking and finance,  consulting, IT, FMCG, retail, manufacturing, infrastructure,  pharmaceuticals, engineering, auto, government and academia.  KNOLSKAPE is a global Top 20 gamification company, recipient of  Brandon Hall awards, and has been recognized as a company to watch  for in the Talent Management Space, by Frost & Sullivan, and as a disruptor in  the learning space, by Bersin by Deloitte.

September 19, 2019 - Comments Off on Webinar – Uncovering the holy trinity of digital transformation

Webinar – Uncovering the holy trinity of digital transformation

About the Webinar: In this exclusive webinar on Uncovering the holy trinity of digital transformation, Jaspreet Bindra, Ex-CDO at Mahindra Group, thought leader in digital transformation and blockchain, author- The Tech Whisperer, he will present his unique ideas digital transformation. While Jaspreet’s focus will be on business models and customer experience, Rajiv will share his views on people and culture.

March 7, 2019 - No Comments!

Building a digital-ready workforce

Digital REady


Organizations across the globe are in various stages of the digital transformation process. They now see sense in the adage, ‘change or perish’. While some organizations are still determining their definition of digital and its implications, others are working on their digital strategies, and several others are in the process of executing said strategies.

Though digital has become an imperative and organizations are going full steam with digital strategies, the same sense of urgency is not displayed when engaging with the internal talent. Digital-ready organizations, however, have already cracked the code to being digital-first. An organization is as digitally-ready as its people are. Digital readiness, however, is not merely a product of “skills” or “capabilities.

Based on our experience of working with such pioneers, our interactions with today’s modern workforce, and our approach to digital, we have found that being digitally-ready is a result of three broad elements:

Digital ready workforce

Digital Capabilities

In the face of any change or transformation, a shift in skills is the crucial first step. The only difference in the digital age is the sense of urgency and the scale at which this shift needs to happen.


This is because ‘digital’ implies a significant change in the way we conduct business and deliver value (Watch this video to understand better). Therefore, the capabilities around strategy, leadership, and execution across all levels need to significantly change as well.

Several skills that were previously unheard of taking precedence in the digital age:

  • Sense-making
  • Outside-in orientation
  • Design Thinking
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Empathy

….to name a few.

Digital Mindset

A bigger challenge in the Digital Age is that of a Digital Mindset (Read more: What is a Digital Mindset and why is it important?). The Digital Age demands a shift in mindset.


It is because for us to survive in the Digital Age, we must learn to think and act differently. Here are some truths of the Digital Age:

  • Artificial Intelligence is not just taking over menial, repetitive and manual jobs, but it is venturing into the cognitive space as well
  • The Digital Age will see the coexistence of man and machine. A robot could be your teammate.
  • As technology advances, machines are becoming more human. How do you keep yourself from becoming more robotic?

None of these scenarios held true for the Industrial Age or even the early part of the Information Age. With the current scenario being so vastly different from its predecessors, unlearning and relearning is in order:

  • Agile Mindset – operating in a fast, nimble and proactive manner; Operates on the adage – ‘there is no failure, only feedback’.
  • Intrapreneurial spirit – take risks, innovate, experiment and be accountable for solving a problem the organization faces; operates on the adage – ‘it takes a village to build a business’
  • Collaborative mindset – bringing together the best resources to create exponential value; operates on the adage – ‘there is no ‘I’ in a team’
  • Design Mindset – identifying and solving complete problems to create the preferred outcome; operates on the adage – ‘think outside the box’

….to name a few!

Digital Culture

The digital workforce is built on diversity – a multigenerational workforce, virtual teams, man-machine coexistence, as well as diversity of attitudes, opinions, interests, motivations, education, experience, etc.

Add to that technology, specifically the internet, which significantly influences the way we think, act and interact, and you find yourself with the most complex construct of diversity ever fathomed. In other words, technology has made it possible for each individual to have their unique footprint, rather than putting people into stereotypical boxes.

Therefore, while it is agreed upon that diversity brings with itself richer perspectives, organizations are constantly grappling with ways to leverage and manage diversity.

How is digital impacting an organization’s culture?

Digital is creating shifts across various constructs, not just within organizations, but diminishing the boundaries of organizations and industries as well:

  • A shift from product-focus to customer-focus
  • A shift from reactiveness to proactive solutioning to stay ahead of the market
  • Shift from rigid hierarchical structures to flatter organizations
  • The shift from heavy research to collaborative, fail fast innovation
  • The shift from silos to collaborative networks

….are only a few of the shifts that digital is bringing to culture.

A digital-first organization operates in an environment with freely accessible knowledge, lower entry barriers, and an empowered consumer base. Hence, their only competitive advantage is its people. Therefore, it is important for organizations to value their people and create an inclusive workplace.

However, while doing so, the impact and disruption caused by digital must also be considered, or else the modern organization will remain a half-baked cake. As Darwin had rightfully said a century ago, “it is the fittest that survive” and this holds very true in today’s digital world.

Order your copy of ‘Clearing the Digital BLUR: How organizations can transform themselves at the Speed of Digital’ for actionable frameworks, worksheets, and case studies to help you and your organization become digitally-ready!


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  • February 19, 2019 - Comments Off on Recipe for Personal Success in the face of Digital Evolution

    Recipe for Personal Success in the face of Digital Evolution

    I have spent the last two years working on a book titled Clearing the Digital BLUR, which is about to hit the stands soon. The fundamental premise of the book is that many lines that we are used to from the industrial and early part of the information age have started blurring away. We now live in a Digital BLUR world characterized by Boundary-less organizations, Limitless digitization, Unbounded innovation and Relentless iteration.

    Many organizations are falling by the wayside because leaders and organizations are either failing to either notice the blurring lines or struggling to respond to the after-effects of Digital BLUR. While a large part of the book focuses on the trends revolving around the BLUR and the recommended response from companies to clear the BLUR, I started thinking about what this really mean to us, as individuals. I tried to boil it down to a few realities:

    Reality #1: All that can be automated, will be

    Digital Age-1That most of our work processes can be automated and robotized is now a foregone conclusion. The question that I ponder about a lot these days is, “As AI becomes more human, will we become more robotized or more human?”.

    If there’s anything we have learned from history, it is that the tools we invent become our masters over time - Thanks to the rapid advancements in Machine learning and AI, things that we thought were uniquely human are now being done by algorithms and in most cases, with unprecedented efficiency and quality. With poetry writing, music composition, dancing, playing golf, and even driving a car scratched off from the list, we are left with very few things that we can label as uniquely human.

    How should we respond to this unprecedented situation?

    As I see it, there is only one way: by becoming more human, looking within for inspiration and doing things that are uniquely you. The things that continue to elude technology today are:

    1. Empathy
    2. Sense-making
    3. Critical Thinking
    4. Strategic Orientation
    5. Imagination

    These are only some of the skills that AI and robots will predictably not master for a long time. Why? Because technology is a manifestation of human understanding. How can we program a machine to do something that we aren’t entirely competent at as yet? So, while AI and robotics continue to take on roles and skills that humans have mastered over the centuries, as humans, we must now look to developing and mastering these more niche skill sets.

    Reality #2: Machines are learning, we are not

    Digital age-2

    We take breaks, go on holidays, fall sick, or don’t feel up to it some days. Machines don’t go through any of this, except for some planned / unplanned downtime. They keep learning all the time. All-The-Time. We, on the other hand, stagnate and saturate. So how are we supposed to keep up?

    At this point, there are still a few things that humans can do: imagine possibilities, be curious and learn with agility and purpose. Imagination, curiosity and learning agility are critically important for us to stay relevant.

    Being alive means that we go through various experiences every second of life. What’s important is that we make the most of these experiences – acknowledge them, assimilate them into our existing mental models and continue to deploy these experiences and the learning we derive from them into future scenarios.

    We don’t necessarily need to be at work all the time to develop skills required to do our jobs proficiently. Albert Einstein once said that he was a successful scientist because he was a passionate violin player. He goes as far as to say that the theory of relativity occurred to him as a result of his musical perception. Therefore, it is important that we are actively curious every second of our lives.

    "The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.” —Edmund Burke

    Reality #3: Blue Collar, White Collar, Metal Collar

    Digital age-3

    We inherited the terms ‘blue collar’ and ‘white collar’ from the industrial era. Now a third type of collar is getting added to the mix: Metal collar.

    The Metal collar - the robotic workforce can now take over large parts of blue and white-collar work. Does that mean that jobs will go away? The answer is yes and no. Yes, many jobs that humans previously undertook masterfully are now being taken over by robots. Research suggests, however, that AI will create far more jobs than it is destroying.

    What I am supremely confident about is our stellar ability to create more problems with these innovations. Humans have an impeccable track record with this. Looking back, it is not like the industrial era wiped away all our problems. We, in fact, created monstrous problems that are much larger than what we can solve as individuals– sustainability, income inequality, global warming etc.

    In the future, successful people will be the ones who take learning in their own hands, build a tribe that cares about a cause and gain deep experiences in domains to be able to solve massive problems, enabled by AI. In fact, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sees that we are in something of a “renaissance” and “golden age” when it came to the subjects of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

    Are you ready to get on board? If you’re interested, my book will be sure to help.


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  • February 15, 2019 - Comments Off on What it means to be a Digital Leader: Crossing the leadership fault lines

    What it means to be a Digital Leader: Crossing the leadership fault lines

    Leadership is a concept that is arguable as old as time. However, despite being one of the most important components, first of survival and then of growth, the concept of leadership has been very slow in its evolution through the millennia. As we forge ahead into the Digital Age, the rate at which leadership has been evolving is worrying.


    Unlike the eras before it, the Digital Age demands a complete overhaul of leadership – from its structure, to definition, to the skills required to succeed. In an article for PeopleMatters, Rajiv Jayaraman and Subramanian Kalpathi talk about a developing a leadership lattice instead of a leadership funnel - collaborative approach to leadership that is built on the twin virtues of empowerment and accountability. This shift is a necessary one because the demands of the Digital Age are starkly different from its predecessors.


    The advent of technology and digital disruption is creating an extremely dynamic business environment, known as VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) which requires organizations to be agile and nimble. At the helm of this transformation is a leader, who conceptualizes and drives the strategies and models that will help the organization succeed in the digital age.

    So, what does a Digital Leader need to be and do to help the organization win in the digital age? UNLEARN, RELEARN and LEARN ANEW.

    Digital Leadership = Lattice of Empowerment and Accountability

    The leadership style and structure of the industrial age lends limited support to the Digital Leader. Unfortunately, the leadership lessons taught thus far to seasoned leaders and young leaders alike has been on the tenets of the industrial age. Therefore, Digital Leaders need to unlearn all the things they have been taught about leadership thus far. The key lessons to be learnt are:

    1. The mantra of the Digital Leader is to lead without authority, that is, through the power of persuasion and influence.
    2. Digital leaders must be the architects of a networked organization that continuously collaborates and has real dialogues across the leadership lattice.
    3. Information Democracy. Share rather than hoard ideas, information, strategies and practices in favor of agile operation.
    4. Reimagine business models and strategies constantly to ensure relevance in the Digital Age.

    Digital Leaders must face a new reality

    The lattice of leadership that is demanded by the Digital Age means that strong digital leadership isn’t restricted to pockets of people within in the organization. Therefore, there are a few crucial truths and principles that Digital Leaders need to reconcile:

    1. Strong digital capabilities are a priority for the entire organization should that organization wish to survive in the digital age. It is also important that capability development is continuous and agile.
    2. Change must be part of the organization’s DNA. The primary reason that digital is a force to be reckoned with is the belief that if something can be disrupted, it will be. Those unwilling to accept, and drive change will only act as bottlenecks that subsequently bring the organization down.
    3. Business strategy must constantly evolve. The shelf-life of a business strategy is less than 6 months and quickly shortening. Planning and hypothesizing behind closed doors will lend organizations a hand in nothing other than extinction.

    While the entire organization is responsible for these changes, it is the digital leaders who must drive this transformation, should they wish to remain relevant and thriving. Every leader may not become a digital leader, but those who do not cease to remain leaders as well, as they no longer have anything to offer the organization or its people.

    The traits, capabilities and mindsets of a Digital Leader

    While researching for his book, ‘Clearing the Digital BLUR’, KNOLSKAPE Founder & CEO Rajiv Jayaraman interviewed dozens of industry movers and shakers and thought leaders about their understanding of digital and its implication on various aspects of business. Among his questions ranked the point on ‘What it means to be a Leader in the Digital Age’. The unanimous views of these leaders follow:

    1. Coaching mindset

    A digital leader is more a coach than a boss or manager, someone who understands their team’s personalities, intentions, aspirations, fears, strengths and weaknesses, leveraging these various components to help the team perform better. After all, a digital leader is only as good as the team he leads.

    2. Fail-fast leader

    A digital leader believes in innovating, experimenting and taking risks. No one knows how the future will turn out to be, and there are no definitive responses. Organizations that will continue to survive and grow exponentially in the digital age are the ones whose leaders are not afraid to fail, and fail fast, cutting their losses and moving on to bigger and better things.

    3. Inclusive culture

    A digital leader is one who is intentional and inclusive, encouraging their teams to share their thoughts and ideas, take risks themselves, and be part of the decision-making and problem-solving process without the fear of going wrong. Trust is the hallmark of a digital leader because s/he is aware that the battle cannot be won alone.

    4. Outside-in Orientation

    A digital leader knows that the organization is less likely to succeed if leaders are not incredibly customer centric, market focused, aware of trends, talking to possible partners, and stitching together coalitions. An external orientation is key to heading towards your destination and at a faster pace than the competitors.

    5. Agility

    Agility is the most important virtue of a digital leader as it encompasses everything they do from changing business processes and models, to innovating and taking risks, to scaling up their teams and themselves. Agility also begins with leaders – only by improving the agility with which they learn and operate can they actively influence agility in their teams.

    It is crucial for digital leaders to remember that they are the driving force of exponential growth and prosperity in the digital age, as change begins with them. For an organization to prosper, its leaders must amass the traits, capabilities and mindsets necessary to dive this transformation. Therefore, it is in the best interest of both organizations and their leaders survival that leaders proactively work towards preparing for the digital age.


    swati kamath round logoAbout the Author

    Swati is an experienced product marketing manager and behavioral facilitator at KNOLSKAPE with a demonstrated history of communicating value and influencing decision making. Skilled in Marketing, Communication, Behavioral Facilitation, Customer Centricity and Management

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