As we launch our call to action for Scotland’s third sector to become digitally confident, I’m reflecting on how, before I got involved, I thought digital leadership was about getting up to speed with what more technically-minded people already knew.

I was wrong.

Digital leadership opens up new ways of doing business, supported and made possible by new forms of technology as well as increasingly widespread availability and access to that technology among those we serve and support.

digital has opened up the possibilities for doing more with less

But that’s just the start of it!

What I am noticing now is how digital changes organisational culture for the better.

Like many, I’ve worked in organisations where values such as open, trusting, innovative, collaborative all feature highly as words pasted over hierarchies, controlled access to information and silo-ed working.

Digital offers the potential to change that.

So here’s my list of the benefits we’re seeing:

  • More innovation – digital has opened up the possibilities for doing more with less. For us, we’ve spent less time and cash to reach more people faster. It’s the same outcome, we’re just not as precious about there being one way to get there.
  • More collaboration – digital approaches have made what we do more visible to more people and that’s sparked interest and engagement from people who want to get involved and that’s as true among our staff.
  • More openness – more of our work is now ‘out there’ for our staff, supporters, partners and patients. People can engage and become involved in conversation that would previously have been for a few.
  • More accountability – we have more data that is free to us and in real time. Our performance can be assessed quicker and because of the openness we are all more accountable for it. We’re starting to be okay to fail at times and to learn what flops as well as flies and Klipfolio has become my new dashboard.
  • More flexibility – I’ve hung out in Google and Appeared-in – what’s not to love if you’re a small team who need to meet up but be elsewhere too. The possibilities for real flexible working are there.

Leaders should learn to love digital – it makes the hard stuff of cultural change much easier!

Mary Allison is Director for Scotland at Breast Cancer Now and a member of the group which contributed to the call to action fora digitally confident third sector in Scotland.