There’s No Shortage of Disruptive Ideas

What’s Lacking is Execution and Commitment.

There’s no shortage of great ideas when it comes to digital transformation, innovation, and disruption. The deluge of thought leaders flooding our feeds on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is proof that “Digital Transformation” is now the new “Social Media Marketing”. It’s the new fad, buzz word, and favorite speech topic. The problem though is not the lack of disruptive ideas and strategies. The issue is commitment and execution. That was the central theme of the talk that I gave at the Asian Carriers Conference 2017 (ACC) in Cebu City.

As someone who is actually working on the client side to make digital transformation and change happen, I can attest to the fact that strategies are just the tip of the iceberg and is quite possibly the easiest thing in the process. The real challenge revolves around people and culture. It’s about rallying stakeholders, both high and low in the corporate food chain, across different departments, to support the transformation agenda.

The Uniquely Filipino Challenge

The “Filipino challenge” was discussed in another conference panel that I was part of last week. The common thought is that it’s harder to do business transformation in the Philippines because Filipinos, by nature, are not direct and are averse to conflict. Getting things done, especially major programs, needs “relational incubation” time. This is the issue that a lot of foreigner consultants (or Filipino-Americans brought back from Silicon Valley) usually hit when they try to execute here. They don’t get the support that they need because they offend a lot of people along the way. Yes, it’s not the best culture to have (and I personally prefer being direct), but it’s the reality that a lot of changemakers face here in the Philippines.

That said, the lazy excuse for any failed transformation agenda is politics and bad culture. Digital Transformation is Business Transformation and that means being able to take a look at the entire organization and working with all the stakeholders to be able to instigate the changes that need to happen. People who will champion this cause need to accept that, in order to succeed. An organization with zero politics is a dream and is as rare as the proverbial “needle in a haystack”.

Everyone has brilliant ideas on what products to create, offer, and sell. There are a lot of marketers who can come up with amazing and innovative campaigns. However ideas stuck in powerpoints are just as good as bad ones. My favorite doer / YouTube, Casey Neistat, sums it up pretty well. “It’s the execution that matters, never the idea.”

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Carlo Ople

Author Carlo Ople

Founder and writer of and for full disclosure I'm also the Vice-President for Digital Marketing Strategy of PLDT/Smart, the largest telco in the Philippines. Prior to this I co-founded a digital advertising agency (DM9 Digit) which we sold to Dentsu, the largest single branded agency in the world. I also co-founded one of the biggest tech websites in the country, Unbox ( Views do not represent PLDT/Smart and are purely my own.

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