Part 3 : Digital Transformation: Emerging Better Practice

Digital Transformation a Structure for Success

There is a huge amount of strategic spend on digital transformations against a backdrop of limited success and significant future market growth.

  • In 2019 the total enterprise spending on digital transformations was $2 trillion.1

  • Respondents to a McKinsey survey reported that 70-80% of digital transformations fail to deliver successful outcomes.

  • The global digital transformation market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.5%

between 2020 and 2025.

Given the above, we could be looking at a total enterprise spend of circa $1.4-1.6 trillion that did not produce anticipated results.

In the previous article I covered:

  • 16 common issues that lead to this lack of success.

In this article I will cover:

  • Emerging better practices.

  • The Galapagos Framework©: An overarching framework that will

    • Improve the success rate of Digital Transformations

    • Reduce Operational, Financial, and Delivery Risks in Digital Transformations



In the first article, I covered some of the common issues with Digital Transformations ranging from “The Human Element” (Culture, Communication and Skills) to “The Organisational Factors” (e.g. Scope, Failures in Leadership etc.).

In this article I will cover two, of what I see as, emerging better practices and will introduce The Galapagos Framework©.

Emerging Better Practices

We’ve touched on some of the reasons behind a lack of success in Digital Transformation programmes, so how might we overcome these and give organisations embarking on these journeys a better chance of success?

My observation is that there are some emerging practices that will assist organisations with Digital Transformations.

We will look at 2 of these approaches and then I will introduce an overarching framework in which these can be applied.

The better practices that I will cover are:

  • Many Much More Smaller Steps (MMMSS)

  • The 60 Minute Strategic Action Session

The overarching framework:

  • The Galapagos Framework©: An Introduction

The 60-Minute Strategic Action Session

Steve Duesbury states that companies that hit trouble with Digital Transformations “…end up creating bloated roadmaps and wish lists that lead to lack of clear direction and decisions, chaotic activity, wasted effort and frustration.”, leading to Transformation Fatigue and little hope of achieving the promised outcomes of finding a clear path to success.

He goes on to suggest that “Most companies will then respond to being stuck with even more thinking and planning, trying to come up with a better strategy, and the result is more cowbell... more bloat, delay and frustration. More Transformation Fatigue.”

“The 60 Minute Strategic Action Session” may be a way to avoid the issues above.

The principal elements of the Strategic Action Session are:

  • No more than 5 decision makers

  • We decide rather than deliberate

  • The outcomes are actions NOT ideas

  • We prioritise the most important ideas that we will act on NOW, this is not a roadmap session.

The basic framework compares the Value vs. the Effort Required, and though this approach is not new, the difference is that we “dramatically accelerate the process”.

Closing Thoughts

If you’ve read this far, then I’m delighted. It’s also likely that you have a problem to solve in the Digital Transformation space.

If you would like to understand how to get going with The Galapagos Framework©, join the discussion or provide feedback on the article above, you can visit the website or contact me directly at

The arguments for linear change abstract away not just details but many critical (and even dominant) factors affecting change.

Where a central function plans, monitors, and coordinates multiple streams of activity; this has a sharply rising non-linear cost curve, at even very small numbers of streams.

Parallelism is never free, and the cost isn’t linear as the size of the problem goes up.

It doesn’t just get harder when we add more streams, it gets significantly more difficult, quickly swamping any benefit it might deliver.

The Galapagos Framework : An Introduction

What is The Galapagos Framework©?

Every Digital Transformation is unique as each evolves out of the dynamic nature and “ecology” of the parent organisation.

The Galapagos Framework© is a new approach to digital transformation, comprising the following:

  • A discreet, dedicated innovation environment free from existing business influence and risk.

  • Fast evolution towards a stronger end state which imitates nature through an iterative cycle of many, small incremental changes; micro A-B competitions between ideas, instant feedback loops, and constant course corrections, delivered at speed.

  • Protected from the broader business; experimentation and testing are continuous, there’s no fear of failure, and ideas fit for purpose win through and survive to the next stage.

What will The Galapagos Framework© Deliver?

The Galapagos Framework© will:

  • Improve the success rate of Digital Transformations by addressing the common issues (both human and organisational).

  • Improve the efficiency and speed of delivery of Digital Transformations.

  • Reduce the operational, financial and delivery risks associated with Digital Transformation programmes.

Why “Galapagos”?

The use of “Galapagos” is, of course, in reference to the Galapagos archipelago where Charles Darwin conducted some of the research that led to the writing of the “Origin of Species”.

Darwin’s ideas on evolution were not a flash of inspiration but rather developed over time and not along a linear trajectory.

Furthermore, Darwin did not work in isolation but rather collaborated with other naturalists to refine his work.

The relevance of “geographic isolation”, transformations following a non-linear trajectory and collaboration are some of the key themes of The Galapagos Framework©.

Many More Much Smaller Steps (MMMSS)

The MMMSS approach states that “If you want more value faster, take Many More Much Smaller Steps”.

It explicitly states that a short period at the beginning of work to establish a “walking skeleton” followed by an almost meandering path from left to right over time, is the most efficient path.

The approach to change that we see most commonly today is centered around making everything more efficient. This makes for a path that looks more like the one here -->

This looks a lot straighter, cleaner, more orderly, organized, coordinated, and frankly better looking on a slide.

However, actual change is never linear. Change exists in a complicated, ever changing, multidimensional environment.