Big Idea 2016: Digital Business Is A Thing

So what is digital business, and is it even A Thing? I’d say yes, it is definitely A Thing. LinkedIn has called for #BigIdeas2016, so here’s my entry. You can see the trends by exploring my deck What’s the Buzz About the Digital Workplace? That deck was informed by a summer sabbatical of voracious reading and industry research, and I’m ready to share my growing digital bibliography of long-form content with those looking to get your heads around the New Year’s Big Ideas.

I chose Goodreads as my ECM platform for digital books, because their customer ratings feature makes it easy to track trends on what books are influential and being widely reviewed, and because I can rate books directly from my Kindle. I found books to review on GoodReads itself, Amazon Search, social media (Twitter and LinkedIn) and web searches on relevant keywords.

Read on for a roundup of Must-Reads and What’s Hot in long form content for digital business.

This first cut focuses on the vision and strategy for digital business, industry trends in the space, and on two key business processes at the core of the organizational change and transformation to a digital workplace: Agile project and portfolio management andsocial collaboration.

My reading list is also expanding into the other Nexus of Forces topics known as SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud). Current reading in mobile, analytics, and cloud suggests that these areas are changing so rapidly that web content (like blogs, infographics, and white papers) are better vehicles than books in this space right now. Watch my Twitter feed for quick hits on #mobile, #bigdata, and #cloud as well as #digitalworkplace, #social, #collaboration, and #Agile.

My Review Strategy

Books on each digital shelf are sorted by the overall average rating of all readers, so it’s easy to spot trends. I (usually) rate books as I read them, and give a book a five-star rating if I recommend it as a must-read. Four stars means it’s worth a place in my reference library, and three stars means I enjoyed it and found it worthwhile. Two stars means there was some value to having read it, and one star means I didn’t find it useful or valuable, and wouldn’t bother referring it to a colleague. However, since these shelves are organized by topic, you may find some low-star ratings where I’m tracking what I’ve found and reviewed.

I also choose an overall Read-It-First pick in each category. If you only have time for one book, start here. I’ve read some of them twice, they’re good.

Digital Workplace Vision and Strategy

The Digital Workplace Vision and Strategy shelf collects books that define the core concepts of a digital workplace and digital business, and highlights the key opportunities and threats to this new paradigm for the future of work.

If you have no idea what “the digital workplace” is, or you doubt that it’s even A Thing, this shelf is for you.

LYNN’S READ-IT-FIRST PICK: Paul Miller, The Digital Workplace: How Technology is Liberating Work.

Innovation and Global Industry Trends

The Innovation and Global Industry Trends shelf presents books about the ideas and process of innovation in general, and 21st century IT innovation for digital business in particular.

If you want to think more broadly about why innovation is A Thing right now and what transformations lie ahead, start here.

LYNN’S READ-IT-FIRST PICK: Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation

Organizational Transformation and Change Management

The Organizational Transformation and Change Management shelf showcases the soft-skills side of making the leap to digital business. These works describe the scope and shape of the changing digital world, what benefits and challenges it entails, and strategies for leading, driving, and adopting new paradigms.

To learn what digital business means for you as a worker—especially what to expect and how to stay employed in a digital world—start here.

LYNN’S READ-IT-FIRST PICK: Analogosaurus: Avoiding Extinction in a World of Digital Business

Agile Project/Portfolio Management

The Agile Project/Portfolio Management shelf highlights books that speak to *how* change is coming, and how organizations are managing the projects that orchestrate that change. Agile, Scrum, and Kanban have emerged as industry-standard process frameworks to pick up the pace and cope with the volume, velocity, and variety of digital data and real-time, automated, yet personalized business processes.

If you’re involved with a project to enable the digital workplace, especially if you’re up to your eyeballs and wondering why your management strategies seem to be slipping along with your timelines—start here.

LYNN’S READ-IT-FIRST PICK: Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Social Collaboration

The Social Collaboration shelf offers books that get down to the nitty-gritty of digital communication: it’s social, and it’s collaborative. You simply can’t communicate if you’re working in isolation or in send-only mode. And communication is what digital business is all about, literally at light speed.

If you wonder why you’re on permanent information overload, why everyone (else) seems to think they’re in charge, and what you can do about it—start here.

LYNN’S READ-IT-FIRST PICK: Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

Join the Conversation

I invite you to comment on this post with books that speak to you on these topics. Sign up for Goodreads and rate these books. Start your own lists and share them with me, and on your own blog. Most of all, make the time to read, really READ, and think about what you’re reading, not just skim or scan titles and bullet points.

Digital business is something new, and something really big. It takes long form content to develop these ideas, and one measure of how big  this concept is, is how much is being written about digital business.

More importantly, only you can take your time as a reader and a thinker to get your head around what’s changing and why, how change affects you, and what you want to do in a digital workplace.

One thing is certain—the future is digital. So fire up your Kindle or your Nook on the plane, or pick up the Audible edition to listen to in the car, and upload some of this content between your ears. Because books are digital, and mobile, now too, so ideas are easier to share. It’s A Thing, and a good one too.


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