Sparks from a sparkler

Learning Digital Transformation: Where to Start

Let’s imagine you’ve just heard that your company is starting a new digital initiative of strategic importance that will change the way you do business. Your manager explains that the experience will blend machine learning and augmented reality. Sounds exciting, but you know nothing about either and have no idea where to start. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Lots of people are figuring out how to learn these new digital transformation concepts.

First, let’s level set on what Digital Transformation is and isn’t. Digital transformation is the evolution of existing culture, processes, and technologies to take advantage of the new digital ecosystem. The result of digital transformation is the creation of new experiences and new business models. Digital Transformation is not one specific thing. It is combination of many different technology implementations, business processes, and new thinking that challenges the way that organizations do business. You have probably heard many buzzwords related to digital transformation including lean, agile, IoT, edge computing, augmented reality, low-code development, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cloud, customer experience, and more. You don’t need to run out and learn all of these.

At the core of digital transformation is a new way of thinking and challenging norms in a rapidly changing business climate. I suggest learning digital transformation in two phases. In Phase 1, understand the key mind-set and principles of change to innovate; in Phase 2, explore technologies and processes.

Phase 1: Establishing a Growth Mindset

Challenge yourself and break your existing thinking. Resist the urge to think that there really isn’t anything new to learn or that this is just in another technology cycle that is simply re-hashing old concepts. Prepare for rapid experimentation. Be ready to fail – tell your egos it’s OK to fail. Phase 1 is all about establishing a growth mindset. To start your learning, invest in two weeks of training that you can do at home, and it’s easy: Watch a series of YouTube videos. Each video is short and focuses on the growth mindset concept. This video is a good starting point.

Learning increases when you read, visualize, and then apply the concepts. To apply your learning in Phase 1, simply try, fail, and pick yourself up. Try something new and different. One way to apply this concept is to simply teach your team about the power of the growth mindset. When you can teach the topic, you understand it well.  This is all about getting your mind in a place where you can be more open to the concepts that you will learn in Phase 2.

Phase 2: Explore Individual Concepts

Once you have established your growth mindset, you now have a foundation for growth. You can start to learn some of the traditional concepts and be prepared to join your organization’s journey. There are many different tracks to consider as well and many different mediums (webinars, YouTube, Udemy, conferences, and in-person events). You will need to choose the right learning track that matches how you learn best. In the spirit of the growth mindset, try learning tracks that are new to you. As you move into this phase, here are a few concepts to consider, in logical progression:

Digital Transformation Learning Paths

Follow these paths to learn the concepts of digital transformation

The goal of this phase is to learn foundational concepts, and it’s just the start of your journey. Challenge yourself and enjoy the ride.

1 Comment

  1. Kendra says:

    Great Article Steve! Perfect way to understand what is at the core of digital transformation-especially for beginners like me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *