Digital Transformation, or more realistically, Digital Saturation, is the act of successfully harnessing the potential of digital technologies to deliver more value to stakeholders. When it comes to donor relations, it’s about delivering real-time, responsive, relationship fundraising.
And it can feel like a hard thing to do.
- Will you need a specific digital strategy, for example? And how should it relate to a technology strategy or your communications strategy?
- What should be your organogram look like? What sort of knowledge-sharing structures will you need for digital? Is it going to be a discrete function, or a set of distributed responsibilities?
- What’s the potential commercial benefit of digital? How will your distinct digital investments and activities deliver value? How will you measure the way you capture that value?
These and many other questions are legitimate and important. A combination of strategic planning, process redesign, knowledge sharing and culture change are all going to be needed.
But the critical question remains:
“Who is going to drive this change?
The Copper view, increasingly, is that digital saturation will be most lasting and most cost-effective if it is initiated from deep within the organisation – albeit with high level buy-in. The route to lasting transformation will be through the strategic evangelism of existing digital process ‘leads’, who increasingly need to take on a leadership role, translating their existing influence on the organisation into substantive, lasting impact.
To do this they not only need to evolve as individual leaders, but also to trigger institutionalised change across the organisation – through new processes, models and accountabilities that ‘lock in’ the value they can initiate together. Their Personal effectiveness has be accompanied by, and deliver organisational effectiveness.
Digital does not exist in isolation. It cannot simply be mandated into existence in a traditional top-down way. Part channel; part process; part work-style; part mind-set, it works as a wave of influence washing over an organisation. It will only truly saturate the organisation if a committed process is in place to allow those who have expertise in it to inform, inspire, influence, impact and innovate across and through the entire organisation. This wave of personal effectiveness, allied to structural changes that focus and secure its effects is, we believe, the best hope charities have to achieve complete digital assimilation – and hence 21st century organisational effectiveness. The model (in its draft form, as we road test it with individual charities) is outlined below.
Copper is currently working with Digital Leadership Ltd, to further enrich the ways in which we support this saturation process for our clients and build and validate the model. Further blogs, commentary and tools will be appearing on that site, and this one in due course…
Tim Kitchin is client service director and director of consulting at Copper, the digital marketing agency.