Digital talent as the platform to manage digital disruption

In an innovation-led digital transformation, organisations have to find new ways of value creation

By Kareyst Lin
Nov. 10, 2016

This is important because the fundamental notion of jobs will change, in the sense of a paradigm shift. As we move forward 10 to 20 years, there may come a day when we no longer talk about jobs or careers -- we only talk about the ways in which work can be done.

Gaming is something that is going through a paradigm shift, but it is not because of the creation of the game itself. Rather, it is the fact that this experience called gaming is now finding its ways into different applications in the workplace, in schools and so on.

The digital talents are the ones who are now thinking of how they can use gaming to create new products, new experiences, and new business models.

How to develop a digital talent (as an IT leader)

With regards to how to develop a digital talent, Khoong said that we have to recognise that essentially every business is becoming a digital business. Therefore, as an educational institution, ISS is developing talents for all the industries out there.

This means that they have to see how, in those companies, businesses are being transformed, and as a result how their jobs are being transformed. Consequently, the skills that the employees need will also change.

But even as the skills required are changing, Khoong noted, the ways in which the employees learn those skills may also change.

It is now important to get people to learn by building and making things, instead of just listening to lectures and looking at PowerPoint slides. With hands-on learning, they get into the process of problem solving.

Back in their own organisations, they must have the culture of continuous learning, making things, and letting their employees explore and experiment with different ideas.

This is important because in many organisations, the era of the minimum management layer is gone. These are the managers who, instead of solving the problem, just outsource or delegate the work down to someone, and then they just manage the problem solver.

Currently, the layers in organisations that remain and which are valued, are the ones who create value -- and value creation requires problem solving.

What makes it difficult for an organisation to digitally transform?

Organisations can be constrained by a variety of factors, including lacking talents to allow them to do a paradigm shift to something very different, said Khoong.

They might also be facing short-term pressures, he added. For instance, organisations might want to maintain cash for short-term sustainability rather than investing in a long-term innovation. Sometimes, innovation requires an investment which has a fairly long and uncertain payback.

Another reason could be due to a sense of denial, that disruption is here and they are going to be disrupted, Khoong said. An example is Kodak. For about 150 years, Kodak had always felt that it was a front-runner for film photography. So although they invented digital photography, the company's management never let digital photography take over the traditional film business. It was always kept at the sides, while the company paid attention to the film business, which they decided was their crown jewel. But suddenly it fell off a cliff and by the time it happened, it was too late to rescue the digital business because many other companies have actually pushed ahead with digital photography.

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