The pace of digital change is phenomenal. Every day new initiatives are started that will potentially shake up an existing industry. The new 3D printing shop that MakerBot opened this week in Mahatten is just such an example (BusinessWeek).
To maintain competitiveness businesses must move beyond managing the digital world as a set of projects, focusing on on-line functionality, or the experience of a Persona.
Instead companies need to compete on digital competence, sharpen all aspect in their business, from culture and behaviours to organisational capabilities and structure. Companies like Amazon have a huge advantage as they were digital at birth. Others have to become Digital by evolution.
A recent study by BearingPoint surveyed 25 companies who are recognised as world class digital organisations.
Digital is a moving and evolving target that is not planned in a few research labs, rather it is an ever growing flood of initiatives that pop up and are weeded out. The exact future of digital is uncertain. A companies approach need to reflect this and should combine broad involvement in innovation and initiatives with a coherent approach to brand, customers and partners.
The study found that what world class digital companies share is an incremental, experimental approach within a clear vision and measurement framework.
Just as digital innovation has caused empowerment of population in media innovation, so digital innovation might require an empowerment of the company staff to compete successfully on digital competence.