My special report recently published on CIO Update:
For many people, change is difficult and transformation even more so. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, “change” means “to make something different,” while “transform” means “to make a thorough or dramatic change.” It is a difference of degree, I admit, but that degree is so extreme that it becomes a qualitative difference.
Changing means continuing to do essentially the same thing, only introducing some variation in degree. Build it a little bigger, smaller, faster, higher, longer. Increase the marketing budget. Add a few staff to the department. Come up with a new slogan. But today’s business problems cannot be fixed by changing, nor can organizations or industries survive simply by changing. Embracing change is no longer enough: We need to transform.
Transformation means doing something utterly and radically different. It means nanofusion; it means using algae as a fuel source; and reimagining GM on the Dell model. In the early 1990s, Barnes & Noble superstores changed how we shop for books. By the mid-1990s, Amazon was transforming how we shopped for books, which then transformed how we shop for everything.
If you’re a Baby Boomer, you likely remember listening to music on long-playing vinyl disks. When eight-track tapes and then cassette tapes came out, that was a great change: now you could hear the music in the car. When the industry moved from LPs and cassettes to CDs, that was an even better change: now you could hear your favorite music without the hisses and scratches.