Do companies kill digital mindset?

dig_mindsetAs we already discussed on this blog, digital transformation is the new Holy Grail for companies. 88% of them have set up a digital project according last Altimeter Group’s research, however, let’s be frank, we are far from a real digital transformation. Things are moving, but the realization is just a first stage. Only if we agree of what is a digital project.

Employees, typical customers ?
One of the main lesson from this research, is that this transformation has to be pulled by customer experience. Logical, for a long time we were several to think that the external dimension can’t be split from the internal of these digital enteprise or enterprise 2.0. For a while, the wording extended enterprise appeared to describe these two dimensions.
So there are clients with digital mindset and a new way to apprehend interactions between them and the brands. That’s the spirit of the enterprise 2.0, the web 2.0 collaborative culture integrated to the enterprise, which spread much inside the general population than within the enterprise for the moment. This is clearly demonstrated by the rise of blablacar or others like Airbnb, whose services are used by a lot of people. 
So what about your employees ? Are they not average customers who should simply interact with their external stake holders ?  If not, are they some kind of « Hibernatus the iceman » who don’t follow the evolution of the society, or do we have to blame their company ? In both cases, we can wonder why this gap ?
Corporate culture versus digital culture
There is often a paradox between the strong willpower of companies for digital transformation and in the same time a damper of the digital culture. This tend to remind us the New York Times innovation report where it’s written that digital profils within company are ignored by the management. So these assets become useless talents as they cannot express themselves.
The digital mindset if based on trust, as regularly demonstrated  by crowdfunging website. Yet as discussed, mistrust is dual, whatsoever on the part of employees or on the part of managers. Let’s not be naive. Interactions and usages on personal social network can’t be compare with those on an enterprise social network (even if we don’t talk about the ergonomics of personal tools, most of the time way better than those deployed inside enterprise), and the purpose is very different. But what is the distance between these two cultures, digital and corporate ? It depends of what is meant by digital mindset.
  •  Collaborative minset, people who don’t really know each other, but unite in common issues and build together information. That’s probably what works best in companies, people who will share information. Why? This is another question.
  • Community culture is closely linked to the communities. They allow people interested in the same subjects to identify themselves and regroup. Again, enterprise social networks make this type of behavior easier. This doesn’t mean that these communities lead always to a sustainable outcome, because exchanges are often quite limited (many communities, little interactions value added).
  • Opening and sharing mindset avoids information to be reserved for those who produce and own them. It’s immediately shared, published to allow enrichment by the community. We are very far from that in most of companies, because in the end it means co-production, which is at the moment often the biggest failure of this type of project.
  • Transversal and ascending culture helps information not to only go from the one who owns them to others. It also goes in the opposite direction and generates discussions that allow their enrichment. Similarly, questioning silos or setting a networked approach are far away from the conventional operating of a company.
  • Entrepreneurial culture is synonymous of initiative, risk-taking, long term investment dedicated to a vision and a project. Intrapreunership that companies love so much is often a myth, because the current management is opposed to this type of behavior (micro-management), not to mention a focus on the short term at the expense of a long-term project.
The list of differences between digital culture and the corporate culture can be long. In particular, regarding the attributes of hierarchy and power relationships inherent therein. No matter, those are two worldviews clash and the Copernican revolution is not there yet, even if this new wave shakes increasingly the foundations of existing businesses, because companies that embrace this culture also have a different approach of the business that endangers existing backyards.