Please, Not Another Out-of-box Digital Transformation

March 5, 2019

“Your order is ready! Please serve this digital transformation to the customer.”
Tell me. In the last few months, how many digital programs have you seen get cut off for not showing business value?
Misunderstanding our client’s business, their politics, the real problems behind the ask, or even their context, from the very beginning… All of these things mean that “the solutions” we provide don’t make the desired impact on the client’s bottom line. As you know, number$ are the truth when funding a digital transformation program, or any other digital investment.

Not just another order-taker…

How often have you acted as an order taker, not pausing to question your client’s needs more thoroughly? Questions like, why they are calling you? What is the real problem behind that call? What is the business impact that the solution should have? We need to know these answers before forming a team, assembling a timeline, and pricing a solution.
Let me share an excellent example: the case of LEGO, the entertainment company. LEGO was about to go bankrupt but instead resurged, by adopting and raising the value proposition of the core business. They certainly took advantage of technology as an enabler, but most importantly, they put to use their clear understanding of what it means to transform.

Digital transformation: a case study

Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, LEGO’s CEO, led this transformation. Knudstorp’s understanding of the situation early on made for success: he knew where to focus, what needed “the transformation,” and where to leverage outcomes with digital solutions.

  • Core Business at the front: Optimizing the core business, mastering productivity in the “Lego building system” (which makes them unique), and dismissing adjacent business that generates noise and interferes with the initial goal of reestablishing financial wealth.
  • Leadership: owning the flag of change by being in the field observing key aspects that need to be changed in each area of the value chain.
  • Team’s Culture: Involving the team from day one, explaining the extreme situation of the company; making them feel that a change was needed, while pointing them to the goal and showing them the steps of the journey. For more insights about the key role of culture in transformation, check out our Sentinel Report.

Understanding the customer’s core business, strategic goals, governance team, sponsorship, context, culture, and talent capabilities are still the basics to start any transformation. 

The takeaway!

It’s imperative to ask further questions before offering the usual digital magic tools or agile methodologies to the client. Especially when changing the way a company does things. To ensure that they won’t see you as just another order-taker on the market, you need to define clearly the problems that prevent the client’s company from evolving, that obscure what makes their company unique and gives them an edge in their value proposition.
So, before cooking up the made-to-order transformation, why you don’t start by questioning beyond the expressed needs of your customer to the true needs behind those. Some questions to ask the client:

  1. Behind that solution you are asking for, what is the problem that is affecting the area/company? Is this affecting your core business or just adjacent ones?
  2. What does success look like if we overcome this problem? Which business driver we will be impacting by solving this?
  3. From a C-Level perspective, who is sponsoring this initiative?
  4. How do you envision your team’s structure in terms of carrying out this initiative with us? What profiles (background and experience) do they have?


We hope your customer enjoys their transformation meal. Be creative with the recipe and please don’t serve another plain-fries-and-burger solution to your customer.

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The Cultural Hacking Studio specializes in boosting organizational transformation by designing change strategies, transformation roadmaps, and cultural visions. It combines change management, organizational design, upskilling, organizational behavior, and talent engagement, focusing on crafting cultures of empowered people that help organizations reach their purpose and business goals.