My Reflection on Web Summit 2016 (Part 2)

Companies Need to Embrace Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is happening and it needs to be embraced across an organization in order to succeed.

At TribalScale, we talk a lot about transformation to our clients. We also talk about modern software development, our approach to product, and the importance of shipping fast and getting customer feedback. Harry West from Frog Design gave a talk on digital transformation and expanded the lens on transformation. He argued that a lot of what’s happening in today’s enterprises is actually digitalization of parts of their business. Enterprises are starting to realize a lot more of their business resides in digital channels, and I agree with that statement. Most of the time, we are working to ‘transform’ single lines of business or particular departments in a much larger company. In doing so, we definitely see successes from our approach, but those successes are often much smaller in scale because we were constrained by the greater corporate machine, which in a lot of cases isn’t transforming. Instead, they’re just ‘digitizing’ parts of their business.

Pushing the Status Quo

In retrospect, this highlights the work that needs to be done to push the agenda of true transformation, because that is the only way for today’s top companies to compete with the modern 3.0 companies like Facebook. So how can we facilitate transformation? It requires admitting that the business landscape, the customer needs, and world is continually changing around us and at a much higher rate than it ever did before. It requires an evolving human-centred (i.e. customer-centred) approach to all our products and services, which requires elevating the role of design. Outside of the design world, corporations always viewed design as ‘pixel pushing’ or simply the visual elements of design. We haven’t appreciated the role of design and creativity in understanding human needs and solving holistic problems. Today’s companies need to transform more than just single departments or development practices if they hope to remain relevant; at TribalScale, this is core to our DNA.

Tech is Growing Beyond Silicon Valley

Those of us in North America tend to have an overly Valley-esk view of tech. Being at Web Summit in Lisbon and interacting with technologists from all over the globe ( more than 60% definitely from outside North America) highlighted how much of a bubble our ecosystem is here. It was both refreshing and enlightening to meet people from around the globe; to hear about the products they’re working on, the challenges they faced, and their approach to making our world a better place. 15 thousand startups from over 160 countries were represented in Lisbon. We were all on common ground, and whether we were competitors or not, it felt like it was neutral soil where we could all collaborate and share ideas freely. It highlighted to me that we take a more human-centred approach to problem solving. It makes sense that we ended up in a world with so many different startups, some of which seem like carbon copies of one another. In reality, everyone is trying to cater to the specific needs of their user demographic.

Would I go Again?

As a Product leader at TribalScale, I feel like attending global conferences such as Web Summit provides tremendous value in forcing you out of your everyday mindset and encouraging new points of view. I was able to connect with other product and design professionals from London, Budapest, even other competitors in Toronto — though in Lisbon we were all able to talk freely about how we work, share processes, and ideas. Locally, this type of collaboration rarely occurs among ‘competitors’, despite the fact that it actually allows all of us to become better. Today, my network of resources has greatly expanded and I’m looking forward to experimenting with how we currently work in order to benefit our clients. In other words, you couldn’t keep me away from the next Web Summit.

author

About the author

Mitch Seguin has immense Product Management experience through working at Xtreme Labs, a Toronto based Mobile development company. He’s touched projects across iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and server side work. While at Xtreme, which became Pivotal Software through acquisition, he grew into enterprise level roles working with the likes of Carnival Cruises, Under Armour and Capital One. As Director of Product for TribalScale, Mitch has returned to his roots, helping to manage projects for companies big and small to create the ultimate in world class Mobile and Connected Experiences.

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