3 min

A new way of thinking to onboard digital culture in your company

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In a recent post, we outlined various steps that HR departments should take to promote and consolidate a true digital culture in their organization.

But before getting down to business, it is first important to cultivate a digital mindset among employees to make the transition to the company’s new digital culture smoother, as well as offer a bigger guarantee of its long-term success.

In this post, we take a look at the 7 key traits of the so-called digital mindset.

To understand the hallmarks of a digital mindset, let’s start by defining what a digital culture actually is.

What is a digital culture in practical terms?

Having a crystal clear idea of what digital culture is should be an absolute must for anyone asked to embrace it in a work environment. While individuals may be tempted to draw their own conclusions as to what it is and how it works, a common definition and shared approach will serve to unify your company from the outset, as well as solve any challenges or misunderstandings that may arise during its implementation process.

Although the term is much more complex that it may seem, a digital culture can be defined as the mentality that embraces all best traits and practices that predispose a company to success in the 21st century.

In a 2015 article, Bill Fischer co-director of the strategic innovation program by the Swiss business school IMD and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) summed up those traits and practices as: velocity, inclusivity, experimentation and systematization; and by extension, an ability to undertake tasks from within a team, rapid adaptation to change, use of the cloud; collaboration and full use of open source technology.

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As mentioned previously, to fully embrace the new wave of digital culture now upon us, an individual must first cultivate a digital mindset. This doesn’t stop at just having accounts on Instagram, Snapchat and the like: having a digital mindset involves cultivating a completely new outlook that identifies and embraces the infinite possibilities of our digital age.

Someone who could be said to have a digital mindset would exhibit a special sensitivity to new technologies and the opportunities they bring, both personally and professionally, with an eye as to how these tools can help advance society and the world economy as a whole.

"A digital mindset is characterized by a different perspective of the world."

- Sahana Chattopadhyay, Social and Organizational Learning Specialist and Coach

Indian consultant and coach, specialized in social and organizational learning, Sahana Chattopadhyay has defined the 7 key features of a digital mindset, and they are as follows:

The 7 key features of a digital mindset 

1. Generosity

Digital culture’s aim is to share, collaborate and cooperate. Those who indulge in power struggles, intrigues and maneuvers to gain control of a situation at work, or to gain recognition above others does not have the right mental outlook to prosper in the new digital context.

2. Growth

Both in a personal and professional sense. A digital mindset indicates an ability to think of oneself as a continual “work in progress”: you can always learn more, explore more, experiment more and ultimately, better yourself.

3. Flexibility

Both in adapting to change, and, above all, anticipating future innovation. Those with a digital outlook follow the advances and innovation taking place outside their company and/or industry, as well use new technologies without issue to complement their roles and responsibilities at work.

4. Being comfortable with uncertainty

Chattopadhyay sees this as being akin to feeling comfortable, even stimulated, by permanently working in “beta” mode - an intrinsic feature of any digital transformation - and the capacity to deal with sporadic turbulence, which is an entirely normal feature of 21st century life.

5. Curiosity

Technology is no longer a means to a single end, but a space in which to experiment freely and find ways of being more productive - or even refocus a company’s entire business model.

6. Teamwork

Perhaps the most important feature of any digital mentality (and one of the most self-explanatory) is the natural predisposition to collaborate, share experiences, experiment, swap viewpoints, and, most importantly, extend the success of any collaboration as far as possible. For those with a digital mindset, working together is by far the best way to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world.

7. Embracing diversity

Individuals with a digital mindset tend to meet and exchange ideas with others who are not necessarily cut from the same pattern, so to speak, as they see it as an opportunity to go beyond their comfort zone and preconceived ideas. Naturally, people tend to spend most of their time with like-minded people, but those with a digital mindset tend not to shy away from this type of confrontation - rather, they seek it out. In business terms, this means not being afraid to incorporate different types of professionals at all levels of the company, including management. Only this kind of strategy can yield new approaches and truly innovative solutions for an organization.

Bear in mind that carrying out successful digital transformation means getting the digital company culture right first. At Signaturit, we encourage you to identify which of these 7 traits are already visible within your organization, since it will be essential to cultivate them for your digital transformation to take root, be successful and endure over time.