Digital Transformation is about organisational culture change

Is Digital Transformation about applying new technologies? Yup.
Adopting new tools and processes? Probably.
Does it require a change of mindsets and organizational culture? Almost certainly.

We have been working on different angles of developing learning solutions on digital transformation and digital disruption during the past 18 months. Let’s take a look at some of the insights from that journey.

To transform their business, leaders must transform their mindset

Digital transformation demands vision, leadership and process change alongside powering core operations with technology. Therefore, digital transformation requires a change at the most fundamental level, the way in which things get done everywhere in the organization. Digital transformation affects the company culture itself. Without addressing culture change digital transformation is bound to be a superficial attempt.

“Nearly 80% of the companies that focused on culture sustained strong or breakthrough performance. Not one of the companies that neglected to focus on culture achieved such performance.”
BCG Analysis

Then, how to go about changing mindsets and cultures? Keynote speakers or slick presentation slides will only go so far when you need to get people to understand the changing realities and generate plans on how to tackle things together. Let’s take a look at two cases where we have used game- and simulation-based learning to achieve digital culture change.

Case: Digital Transformation Leaders Game, Vlerick Business School

In recent years we have had the pleasure to work with Vlerick Business School, prof Stijn Viaene and his team on a Digital Transformation Leaders Game, based on the digital leadership model developed by Viaene.

The game simulates life in a fast-driven business environment, where participants need to scan and interpret data from their environment and combine different leadership capacities to form effective coalitions.

“The ability to make bold, though wise strategic choices of many alternatives, against the backdrop of a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world catalysed by digitisation, separates the winners from the losers.” – Prof Stijn Viaene

We ended up using multiple different game elements and mechanisms to reach the desired outcomes – the game uses card elements, creative team challenges, physical prototyping materials with video and digital learning tools, to create an immersive and powerful learning experience. We have recently developed a sequel to complement the game set.

The Digital Transformation Leaders game has now been played by hundreds of corporates in in-company programs and is an integral part of the offer for executive education at Vlerick. Read more about the case study here.

Case: The Unicorn Game

The Unicorn game was developed for companies to experience the startup innovation mindset. To understand how innovation drives company valuation, we worked together with Prof Will Cardwell, who is running Courage Ventures investment company and lectures at Kenan-Flagler Business School in the University of North Carolina.

We developed a 90 min learning game, where teams battle each other to create the next Unicorn business ideas and pitch them to investors or stakeholders. We used design thinking to develop the game, and through the experience, participants develop the capacity to create innovations and adapt their communication in order to attract support to turn them into reality.

“The Unicorn game puts you straight into a startup mindset while continuously disrupting you throughout the entire gaming experience.” – Camilla Qrtoft Jensen, Training & Development Specialist, Nestlé

“Brilliant and inspiring. The game really helped to bring out the creative energy in each of us, and we came up with some super cool ideas in a really short timeframe!”  – Alexander Sulaimani, Partner, Continuous Improvement & Transformation, Euroclear

We have organized Unicorn game sessions ourselves, but the idea is that people can really use the game as a “workshop in a box” and can run innovative learning experiences themselves. Hundreds of people have already played the game around the world with encouraging results.

Read more about the Unicorn here, or feel free to get in touch to talk more.

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