Raising your Digital IQ – Why it’s important for all the C-suite

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It is my belief that a company’s Digital IQ – the way it integrates and leverages digital technology to service the business needs – will be Digital IQ, Myndset Digital Marketing Strategya key driver and competitive advantage over the next decade.  A 2012 Price Waterhouse Cooper report suggests that “… excellence in IT has not been commoditized and is still differentiating as a competitive advantage.”  For a CEO, much less all members of top management, being part geek should no longer be optional.

If your company is to evolve today, top management needs to “get” digital

As companies transition to digital platforms and marketing, there are three very important reasons why top management must understand better the digital world and become more comfortable with new technology and terminology.

  1. Business – As the opportunities in digital increase, so, too, has competition become fiercer.  Creating a successful digital strategy and allocating the appropriate resources requires full understanding of the changing environment.
  2. Management – Digital is becoming a burgeoning component of internal management, whether it be for knowledge and digital asset management, bandwidth, mobile platforms, CRM and customer service, firewalls & security, communications, intranet or video conferencing.  Moreover, with the new generation coming into the workforce, the attractiveness and effectiveness of your organization are at play.
  3. Talent – Notwithstanding the demographic pressure, there is a very real battle for good digital talent.  How to find and evaluate the best talent requires new skill sets.

Geek Quotient

Raising Your Geek Quotient

I have written previously about the opportunity to raise your company’s “geek quotient.”  On the one hand, this involves the company culture whereby the “geek” is accepted.  For certain companies, this borderlines on the concept of diversity management.  On the other hand, improving the geek quotient means that everyone should be part geek.  I firmly believe, it would be better that 100% of the personnel were 5% geek than to rely on hiring 5 people that are 100% geeks.

Raising your Digital IQ

Sending the entire ExCom to a week of off-site digital training is not the answer, although having a strong digital education program is, at a minimum, necessary.  Being digital is different from doing digital.  It must be a part of the everyday business.  There are three vital components to the Digital IQ of the entire upper management team.

  1. Online reputation and network – lead by example and measure against objectives.  Top management of bigger companies — especially if they are publicly traded — are generally all present online.  The question is whether that online presence represents the optimal image.  Top management should all be able to audit their own presence and have a good idea of the impression they would like to leave.  The same is true of their [visible] online network.
  2. Digital tools – know what is out there and appreciate why & how to use them.  Taking Twitter and Facebook alone, there are around 3/4 million different related tools and applications, with more being born every day.  Knowing how to keep up with the changes, and to identify the latest and best of these could be a full time job.  A strong network and a good monitoring process are key.
  3. Digital strategy – Last, and not least, management must decide on the appropriate digital strategy, to be integrated as a part of an overall strategy.  Whether this involves eCommerce, mobile or social media marketing, a successful digital strategy must be deeply embedded not just in the marketing mix, but in the very fabric of the company.  In order to drive the business forward using digital means requires selecting the best partners, allocating the right resources and understanding fully how to measure the return on investment of your digital strategy.
The Digital IQ is relevant for all areas of the business and, therefore, for all members of the executive committee.  Some (non exhaustive) quick examples:
  • Eimei Oyama, Wearable Navigation Behavior System, on The Myndset Digital MarketingHR = the Linkedin revolution; eLearning for permanent education; personal versus professional time; social media policies
  • Finance = new digital marketing line in the P&L; investments in IT equipment (mobile, tablet, laptops…)
  • Sales = sales 2.0 (e.g. use of a connected iPad as a sales tool) and the learning organization
  • I.T. = data security issues, bandwidth needs, video conferencing
  • Production = safety and protection learning (see this wonderful example from Japan: Wearable Behavior Navigation System)
  • Customer Service = the inclusion of social media in the mix is increasingly essential
  • Marketing = customer relationship management requires mastering multi-channel communication; digital asset (image and video) management
  • The CEO = learning to read/listen to what is being said by clients on the web and to consider it as, if not more, vital than “telegraphed” customer round tables; what about a CEO blog?
Your reactions please!



18 Comments, RSS

  1. […] key to building a successful digital marketing strategy is improving the organization’s digital IQ, especially of the senior management teams who control the purse strings.  Click to tweet if you […]

  2. […] and sinker the concept and its consequences.  And it would certainly help if he/she had a high digital IQ! I’d be very curious to hear your thoughts? Digg Diggvar dd_offset_from_content = 40; var […]

  3. […] culture and its limitations relative to speed, agility, cross-departmental collaboration and digital IQ.  To what extent is the client listened to in an authentic and lucid […]

  4. […] on IT and the need to invest in IT and in infrastructure.  Hence, my regular demand to improve the digital IQ of top management, and to avoid the “museum-like” mindset that remains […]

  5. […] or delegate to a lower ranking person.  {Click to Tweet if you agree!}  Smart as one might be, a digital IQ is not something you can raise just by reading.  {Click to tweet}  The old marketing habits do […]

  6. […] in making the next wave a better ride.  For me, this is about enhancing the executive’s digital IQ, a subject I hold dear.  Here’s to learning to catch the […]

  7. […] have been using the term Digital IQ for quite some time as a way to describe a person’s digital aptness.  It has a singular flaw […]

  8. college essay July 16, 2013 @ 5:52 am

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  9. Steven Shaer August 23, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

    lifestyle and its restrictions comparative to speed, speed, cross-departmental cooperation and digital IQ. To what level is the consumer heard in an genuine and lucid
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  11. […] Walk the talk.  Top leadership has a habit of thinking that using and getting comfortable with the internet and social media might be beneath them.  By walking the talk, there’s a better chance that, as the boss, he/she will ask the right questions.  This is what I refer to as upping senior management’s Digital IQ. […]

  12. […] Whatever one’s belief system about the digital / online world, top executives need to get more comfortable with using digital tools, devices and platforms, surfing on their mobile, buying online, learning code.  The better able top executives are living the digital world, the better equipped they will be to understand the digital transformation.  In short, it’s about helping to increase leadership’s digital IQ. […]

  13. ken smith November 25, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    I remember first meeting Paul in 1988 when I was a postdoc visiting from Germany. I had asked if I could learn an experimental procedure in his lab. He took a good part out of his busy day to teach me hands-on. Later, I was fortunate to become his faculty colleague here at the UW. I will never forget Paul’s generosity, integrity and intelligence.
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  14. […] abstraction of digital in the broader sense, when I look at a company’s digital mindset and digital IQ, there are a number of recognizable […]

  15. […] tools. However, I firmly believe that the best salespersons in the future will have a raised digital IQ, able to use the digital tools and the Internet to his/her advantage. {Tweet this} Each step […]

  16. […] the leadership needs to “be” digital. Does the leadership team need to have an elevated digital IQ?  But, what is a digital IQ? In reality, it is not a number on a scale of 0 to 150 of how much […]

  17. […] causes so much eye-rolling and induces entropy when the entire C-suite is lacking in digital IQ, is not present on any of the social networks and continues to use a Blackberry. In such cases, the […]

  18. […] to understand the true digital opportunities out there.  Managers must upgrade their de facto Digital IQ.  What does this mean?  It means that managers must go beyond the stiffer corporate hardware and […]

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