Accelerating digital innovation inside and out
Agile Teams, Ecosystems, and Ethics
The fifth annual MIT SMR and Deloitte study of digital business reveals digitally mature organizations don't just innovate more, they innovate differently—leveraging ecosystems and cross-functional teams that play critical roles.
For the past five years, MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte have investigated digital maturity, focusing on the organizational aspects of digital disruption rather than the technological ones. We’ve examined companies at the early, developing, and maturing stages of digital transformation and have seen increasing signs of separation between more and less mature organizations. This year’s research finds that the gaps can often be explained by a company’s approach to innovation: Digitally maturing companies are not only innovating more, they’re innovating differently.
This innovation is driven in large part by the collaborations established externally through digital ecosystems and internally through cross-functional teams. Both ecosystems and cross-functional teams increase organizational agility. The risk of this increased agility, however, is that it can lead a company’s innovation efforts to outpace its governance policies. It is particularly important, then, that these organizations have strong policies in place regarding the ethics of digital business.
MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte’s fifth annual study of digital business is based on a global survey of more than 4,800 managers, executives, and analysts and 14 interviews with executives and thought leaders. The report presents the following findings:
- Digitally maturing companies innovate at far higher rates than their less mature counterparts.
- Employees of digitally maturing organizations have more latitude to innovate in their jobs — regardless of what those jobs may be.
- Digitally maturing companies are far more likely than their less mature counterparts to collaborate with external partners.
- Cross-functional teams are another important source of digital innovation. Not only are digitally maturing companies more likely to use cross-functional teams, those teams generally function differently in more mature organizations than in less mature organizations.
- Digitally maturing companies are more agile and innovative, but as a result they require greater governance.
- When asked to predict whether their company will be stronger or weaker moving forward, respondents from digitally maturing and early-stage companies show striking differences.