Published on November 9, 2023, 5:20 am

Every business wants to overcome the challenges brought about by the crises of the past year. Many business leaders believe that digital-led innovations are the key to success. However, the real challenge lies in bringing together the right people, skills, expertise, and technologies to make these ideas a reality while minimizing waste, risks, and time-to-market speeds. This is where Garage Thinking comes into play.

Garage Thinking provides an environment that allows businesses to experiment with possibilities without disrupting their usual operations. It is a way to accelerate innovation by avoiding short-termism, bureaucracy, and limiting silos. To delve deeper into this topic, we had a conversation with Charu Mahajan, Partner at IBM Garage & Corporate Ventures and Sector Leader at IBM Consulting.

IBM Garage is an end-to-end model for accelerating digital transformation. It enables businesses to generate innovative ideas and equips them with proven practices, technologies, and expert guidance to rapidly turn these ideas into realities. The goal is to help businesses achieve their digital transformation goals in a controlled manner.

When discussing the level of interest in digital transformation among Asian businesses post-Covid, Mahajan believes that there has been an increase in the pace, adoption, and scale of digital transformation. More and more businesses are recognizing the need to go digital quickly and ensure they have a competitive edge as they emerge from the pandemic.

In terms of what has worked for enterprises in terms of digital transformation in the region, Mahajan highlights two seasons of transformation. The first season involved transformation happening at the edges of organizations but didn’t result in sustainable change because it wasn’t endemic to the entire organization. The second season is where most companies are currently at—transformations within functional groups like finance or supply chain management. However, widespread change across organizations is still lacking.

True transformation occurs when it happens at the core of an enterprise – when top-down leadership prioritizes it and ties it directly to value creation for the organization’s top and bottom lines. This type of transformation requires a shift in organizational structures, skills, and ways of working. It’s about breaking down silos, collaborating in agile ways, and ensuring that the transformation is not impeded by old behaviors.

To achieve true transformation, organizations need to strengthen the walls of their “fishbowl” to prevent old habits from seeping back in. They must establish governance for speed and scale while adopting the right skill sets and methodologies. Top-down and bottom-up alignment is crucial to capture constant value in these new ways of working.

If you want a more detailed explanation from Mahajan on how leadership can manage the transformation journey, watch the video attached to this article. You’ll also find a bonus segment where she explains how IBM Garage plays a role in helping enterprises navigate their digital transformation journey in a controlled manner.

In conclusion, digital transformation remains an important priority for businesses in Asia as they emerge from the challenges brought by recent crises. By embracing Garage Thinking and leveraging models like IBM Garage, businesses can accelerate their innovation journey and turn their ideas into realities that drive growth and success in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.

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