Citizen Innovators – Building AI Powered Superhumans – First Edition
For the last 50 years, IT departments have largely been the only business function responsible for managing the organisation’s computer information systems.
During this time, autocratic IT departments have set rules of their own making and created friction whenever ideas were brought forward by the business that did not conform to their prescribed governance standards.
Then the nature of work changed. The pace of new and emerging technology increased dramatically. Digital roadmaps, once measured in years, accelerated rapidly into days and quickly proved their worth in weeks.
Organisations now operate in a business environment that is increasingly uncertain, ambiguous, complex and mutable. As such, every aspect of business needs to move faster.
Today’s technology enabled economy demands ‘digital dexterity’. Organisations must become as digitally nimble as their rapidly shifting market.
Digital business cycles are accelerating.
Rapidly changing customer expectations, the availability of technology, and increasingly numbers of unexpected events necessitate organisation and workforce flexibility.
Central technology teams can no longer act alone as the vanguard for all things digital or technical. Organisations need to give their digitally hungry workforce the data, digital tools, generative AI and knowledge they need to leverage digital advantage to pivot with consumer demand.
Never before has an organisation’s ability to exploit digital and automation technologies been such a key determinant of their immediate and future success. Software engineers, digital analysts and data scientists now control the world.
As such, the survival of the digitally fittest is the modern day equivalent of Digital Darwinism.
So how can ‘digitally dexterous’ organisations manage massive digital and technology transformation with just their IT department and a handful of trusted partners?
Step forward ‘Citizen Innovators’.
The IT industry and Citizen Innovators.
Never before have organisations had such an opportune time, or need, to transform. Covid; cloud computing; low-code/no-code platforms; digital natives entering the workforce and a well-stocked supplier market are all accelerating organisations digital capabilities.
McKinsey suggest thatas many as 45 percent of the activities…can be automated…In the United States, these activities represent about $2 trillion in annual wages…The magnitude of those benefits suggests that the ability to staff, manage, and lead increasingly automated organizations will become an important competitive differentiator.
Yet, in the age of digital commerce there is something missing. That something, is capable digital staff in sufficient numbers to accelerate and scale business, automation and digitization at the speed in which it is currently demanded.
But less than two percent of the world population can write code.
According to leading global research and advisory firm Forrester, in the U.S. alone there will be a deficit of 500,000 software developers by 2024
The software industry has attempted to change the game with their low and no-code development platforms and the concept of the ‘Citizen Innovators’.
Citizen Innovators are non- traditional technologists who use low-code-no-code tools and platforms to program, innovate and create though point and click interfaces, in a way that would have required deep technical acumen in the past.
They are computer application users with no formal background in computer science or software engineering but who have access to digital tooling, Generative AI, development environments or tools.
They are hard-working, creative problem solvers who want to make a positive impact on their way of working and on the business in which they operate. Though they can be unintentionally dangerous without the right support and governance.
Forrester identifies 3 Citizen Developers (aka Innovators) profiles who each support businesses in different ways using newly acquired digital tools and skills.
A Citizen Innovators is able to use drag-and-drop application components, then connect them together, in order to design and build powerful applications, which can grow and adapt according to the needs of a business.
They can successfully and rapidly solve business problems without the need to have dedicated IT resources involved. The business no longer needs to wait on IT and that is a very good thing for everyone involved.