How to thrive in uncertain times

Digital Transformation

You are going to read about:

  • How to reverse processes
  • The urgency of establishing a new mentality
  • Rethink the company's culture in include experimentation
By

CI&T

" We are experiencing the acceleration of a change that was already happening. And it makes us better at adapting. This virus helped  build resilience in our structures, our organizations and our society. I think it's an interesting time."

Bruno Guicardi, CI&T, Co-Founder and President

For months living in constant change, companies have been looking for certainty points to stick to and point out their strategies. However, being a digital company used to dealing with the unpredictable for many years, we can say that there are few certainties that we have, and they all revolve around adaptability, flexibility, collaboration in search of agile solutions and resilience in the face of uncertain.

"In a digital world, when you have a customer of an old consumer goods company, for example, and you try to find ways for them to have direct access to consumers, to consumer data, and to create better product and distribution strategies, you already have has a difficult problem to solve due to uncertainties and unpredictability. So, what this new situation brings is known to us. Perhaps, it will bring more uncertainty to the market in general, but we are used to it. It is where we have lived in recent years. So, maybe, we have some things to support, help and teach others. "

Bruno Guicardi

And these are the certainties, these are the teachings that we want to offer in this article for those looking to accelerate their journeys of digital transformation with force in 2020. Thus, we bring here reflections and insights generated in an interesting chat between our CSO, Bob Wollheim, and our president in the United States and Co-founder, Bruno Guicardi, in a podcast. In addition, Bruno talks about the new learnings brought not by the "new normal", but - as he says - by the "abnormal".

Time to reverse processes

Playing successfully for years, many traditional companies have been creating digital sectors with multidisciplinary and collaborative squads running agile. They aim to bring agility in the production of new ideas that accompany the market and speed in deliveries to customers. Meanwhile, the company's entire machine continues to function in the same way. The new ideas that come from these squads, or directly from customer requests, have to pass through the scrutiny of the upper echelons and the council, who end up choosing a few that "will have the honor" to be launched.
 
Just by reading this last sentence we have already lost months, and the consumer has already changed his/her desire or turned to the competition. The time has come to turn this process completely upside down. The way of operating digitally has to be the foundation of the company and not just an innovation niche. If they don't change the way they approve and finance these ideas, the speed of creating the new and delivering real value to customers just doesn't happen and your company has already lost space.

" We cannot be attached to ideas. If there is something you have invested in and it is not generating traction, just kill it. The math in this equation is about starting small, having lots of ideas going on and not giving them a lot of money. Just start small with each one and kill them early if they are not very attractive. So, instead of just funding two big ideas that will consume all of my research and development and with which I did all my innovation, I’ll finance 200 smaller ideas and gradually I’ll end up funding more hits."

Bruno Guicardi

The word here is experimentation. It is not just to let the squads create hypotheses for solutions to deliver value to customers and ask for authorization to carry them out, but to give real autonomy for the company to move in this format. Teams must be free to create new value propositions, test them with consumers, adjust or abandon those that fail and try again in a continuous cycle. If there is no certainty, fine-tuning side by side with the customer is the only possibility to generate products, services and experiences that delight and bring impactful results.

"It is from experimentation that success comes. So, try a lot and many different things. This is the only way to get it right in an extremely uncertain world."

 Bob Wollheim

" If you look at Google and Facebook, for example, they have a big list of product and service failures that were introduced in the last 10 years, right? So, they have everything: access to talent, technology, a lot of data about us. They should know what people want. Despite having everything, they still fail. So, you see how difficult it has always been to compete in this digital world. And I think that the general role - even of the most traditional businesses - is to assume that we must experience unpredictability, uncertainty."

Bruno Guicardi

Rethink the company's culture towards experimentation

The urgency to change culture and structures to make your company fit for this type of operating logic is in place, but we know that it is not a simple task. On the contrary, modifying an ingrained culture is a very complex task. The only way to do that is to introduce, little by little, new practices that make sense, and that have much better results than the previous ones. Both for the teams and for the company as a whole.
 
On the operation side, the value of new ways of doing things has to be generated in the speed and ease with which the teams work, reducing bureaucratic and hierarchical barriers and allowing them to generate solutions to the problems and needs they actually see day to day, accompanying customers. As for the C-Level and the board, the faster the business pointers move, the more strength the necessary changes in the company will gain.

" If you find these new ways of doing things, and discover that something works better than in the past, then you begin to structurally change the way the company operates in a natural and sustainable way. But it has to be much better, otherwise it won't be worth it. The change will not have the strength to happen."

Bruno Guicardi

According to Bruno, when it comes to cultural change, one point that should be especially addressed is the development of leaders who are "educated in technology". Business leaders of the future must increasingly understand the opportunities and possibilities of the new tools.
 
Becoming an expert is not a necessity, but having a consistent knowledge and always seeking to update with executives in the area "in the same way they understand marketing, accounting, HR and all the other disciplines necessary for a company to function". For him, the senior executive must expand their skills and knowledge and understand the need to be always on the move and constantly learning.
 
Bruno was asked about the future, as he is based on the experience of those who have lived for years immersed in the uncertainties of digital, attending operations worldwide. His answer leaves a reassuring guideline.

" Don't worry about what you don't control. And do the best you can with what you can control. Just accept the other things as they come. The less you wait, the better. Just expect the best from yourself and give it your all."

Bruno Guicardi

If you want to hear the entire chat content, access the podcast.


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