I’m preparing for the 50th Hawai’i International Conference on Systems Sciences and have taken the title of my contribution in a workshop there as the title for this post. As individuals, we need to “race with the machines.” However, at the organizational level, we need to create human partnerships as scaffolds for our broader digital relationships.

Greater Ties Across Organizations

For example, from my university perspective, I’m looking for tighter ties across universities, organizations, professional accreditation bodies, and job platforms. Hospitals may be looking for tighter ties across data repositories, governmental agencies, and search engine providers (great article about the rise and fall of Google Flu Trends). Digital connections will enable much of the trust and communication of these partnerships, but I’m left with these questions to pose to my colleagues at the conference:

  • Do the founding human partnerships evolve into digital platforms?
  • If so, how do we maintain needed agility in those platforms?
  • These relationships seem to be more than liaison or advisory roles -- but what are they?

New Roles and Relationships?

More broadly, and clearly from my particular perspective, our companies and universities need to create stronger partnerships to support the increased pace of change afforded by a more digital world. Quarterly meetings of advisory boards, using an example of academic programs, may not be enough. For universities to effectively, agilely, serve students and the organizations that employ university graduates, we may need new roles and relationships as I note above.

The participants of this HICSS workshop perhaps understand the digital/human connection better than most. Membership in ISSIP is a common connection for many of us in the workshop. ISSIP, The International Society of Service Innovation Professionals (pronounced iZip) is a professional association co-founded by IBM, Cisco, HP, and several Universities with a mission “to promote Service Innovation for our interconnected world.” We come together in ISSIP, and in this workshop, to take on complicated questions and then offer our home organizations suggestions supported by our combined research and experience.

Data on Digital Transformation

I’m expecting to see unique data on how our environments are becoming more digitally enabled and look forward to sharing it after the workshop. For example, Paul Mugge, Executive Director of the Center for Innovation Management Studies at North Carolina State University, will present results from their on-going research on how to accelerate the process of repositioning and reshaping organizations. (You are invited to participate in their research here.)

We may also hear how digital transformation is affecting jobs. We’ve seen that the only US job growth is in non-routine work (see image below). This points to the need for individual and organizational agility as we work to fine tune opportunities across education and work experience.

New Partnerships

But what I hope for most from this experienced, well-connected set of colleagues, is the creation of new human partnerships that will help our universities, businesses, and communities. These human partnerships, I expect, provide the agility we need for our organizations to execute on their goals in a more digital, nonroutine, world.

Please share examples of the partnerships you're seeing and/or participating in -- there is a Comment button below the figure. How are these partnerships deeper given specific digital shifts your organizations are making? 



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