It’s Time To Step Up, Pal: Meet “Digital Adaptation”, Our New Smashing Book

It’s Time To Step Up, Pal: Meet “Digital Adaptation”, Our New Smashing Book

Nothing is more frustrating than stubborn management entangled in dated workflows and inefficient processes. That’s why we created Digital Adaptation, a new practical book on how to help senior management understand the Web and adapt the business, culture and workflows accordingly. No fluff, no theory — just techniques and strategies that worked in practice, and showed results. Get the book.

Digital Adaptation, a new Smashing Book by Paul Boag
Get the eBook. Get Print + eBook.

The book will help traditional businesses and organizations to overcome their legacy, and help you plant the seeds of change with very little power. If you do want to finally see changes happening, this is the book to grab.

Written by Paul Boag. Designed and illustrated by Veerle Pieters. 176 pages. The books are shipping now. Get the book now.

Digital Adaptation, a Look Inside
A look inside the book. Large preview.

Why This Book Is For You

If you are frustrated by clients, colleagues or management not fully embracing the Web, then Digital Adaptation is just what you need — ideas and concepts you can put in front of people that encourage real change. In the book you will learn to:

  1. Tackle bureaucracy and overcome legacy culture,
  2. Develop a flexible and effective digital strategy,
  3. Use responsibility matrix to minimize delays and costs,
  4. Adopt a digital culture and become digital by default,
  5. Apply techniques from mid-sized and large organizations,
  6. Avoid toxic practices and improve internal processes,
  7. Organize teams and boost their efficiency,
  8. Embrace social media and use them effectively,
  9. Understand the value of digital team and invest in them,
  10. Break down the walls and nourish collaboration, ownership and innovation.

Digital Adaptation, a Look Inside
A look inside the book. Large preview.

One of the book's many illustrations by Veerle Pieters.
One of the book’s many illustrations by Veerle Pieters.

Table Of Contents

Foreword A Message for Web Professionals

Summary The foreword introduces the purpose of the book and explains why we decided to choose you as the audience for it. In fact, the book is written primarily for you as web professionals. A book you can quote to senior management and make real, lasting changes in your organization. Your job is to take the concepts covered in this book and put them in front of senior management.

Keywords audience strategy video.

Chapter 1 The Digital Divide

Summary The core problem with digital, faced by many large organizations, is that they were formed before the web as we know it today existed. Their systems, processes, and (in many cases) people are not configured to support it. In this chapter, Paul discusses warning signs of digital incompatibility in your company, organizational and cultural barriers and changes that the new digital landscape has brought. This is a chapter of how most organizations struggle with their digital strategy and what you have to know to avoid the problems in a long run.

Keywords pre-web organizations legacy systems digital incompatibility structure fragmented web presence culture customer needs shifting digital landscape digital strategy.

Chapter 2 Setting Your Digital Direction

Summary As Richard Rumelt said, “good strategy works by focusing energy and resources on one or a very few pivotal objectives whose accomplishment will lead to a cascade of favorable outcomes.” In this chapter, you’ll learn how to select the right digital direction and how to deal with prioritization paralysis. Backed up by case studies and real-world examples, you’ll also learn how to form a digital strategy and how to use guiding principles, digital policies, and a responsibility matrix to complement the strategy. The chapter also explains how reorganizing teams and processes will help tackle dated, inefficient departmental structures.

Keywords business objectives digital team defining priorities problem diagnosis guiding principles web steering committees responsibility assignment matrix digital policy remote work.

Chapter 3 Adopting A Digital Culture

Summary Forming a digital strategy is one thing, but making it work requires changes in the digital culture. This chapter discusses main components of a digital culture, including collaboration, agile development, digital by default, innovation and service-oriented culture. The web can’t be neatly separated from the rest of organization; what’s necessary is a single organizational strategy that is heavily influenced by online. This chapter explains just how such a strategy can be established in practice.

Keywords redesign digital by default aspects of digital Business Model Canvas innovation and failure service culture user testing customer engagement.

Chapter 4 Digital Teams: Agents of Change

Summary There are various ways in which digital teams can be organised, but some approaches are more effective than others. This chapter discusses how to build an effective team and what role it should have, as well as how to find a good digital lead and attract and retain appropriate digital staff. Sometimes the digital team can feel like a Ping-Pong ball that ricochets around the organization—you are never quite sure where it will end up. This chapter explains the place, the position and the working environment of an effective digital team.

Keywords team structure roles and responsibilities digital leads attracting good staff light leadership working environment skills, not roles hiring digital workers.

Chapter 5 Digital Demands Another Way Of Working

Summary There is no shortage of big digital failures, from the London Olympics website to the website. The costs are staggering and the impacts devastating. The more complex and ambitious a digital project, the more traditional management approaches will struggle to scale. This chapter explores why digital projects fail and how you can minimize the risk of this happening by identifying and prioritizing user needs and involving the entire digital team in the conversation. Of course, this would work best within an iterative and collaborative context in which failure, prototyping and experimentation are deeply rooted within the digital culture.

Keywords failures the boom-bust cycle usability testing user needs prototyping iterative, incremental process.

Chapter 6 Grassroots Change

Summary Anybody can instigate change. As somebody working at the grassroots level of your organization’s digital strategy, you are a key catalyst of change. That work begins in your own team. You can plant the seeds of change by establishing good team-working relationships and atmosphere, enforcing good working practices, building bridges with colleagues and educating them, approaching management strategically, and being disruptive. If you don’t take action to change it, nobody else will. But if you do take action, there is a real opportunity to make your work more enjoyable and to have a real impact on your company.

Keywords down-top change transforming a team wartime mentality work environment work practices convincing management SWOT analysis disruption.

About The Author

Paul Boag is quite a character. With over 35 articles published on Smashing Magazine, he is not really an author that requires an introduction. Paul has been working on the web since 1994. He is web strategist at Headscape Ltd, a web design agency that he co-founded back in 2002. Paul also produces and hosts the longest-running web design podcast at He is a regular speaker at conferences and author of Client-Centric Web Design.

Technical Details

Digital Adaptation, a Look Inside
Get Print + eBook.

Written To Convince Clients and Management

This book will empower you to convince your clients, colleagues and management to introduce changes to the business, culture and organiziation in your company. That’s why we also prepared a few resources for you at the Digital Adaptation website. These include a trailer to introduce management to the themes of the book, video presentation that develops those themes further, Keynote and Powerpoint presentations for you to use, a PDF manifesto and related links and resources.

This should have you covered to step up and make a significant difference in your company. If you do want to finally see change happening, this is the book to grab. Get the book.

Folks Who Have Already Read The Book

We could list some well-known figures in Web design saying nice things about the book, but what about people like you? Here’s what folks who have already read the book are saying:

  • New book by Paul you don’t want to miss. “Digital Adaptation” is an absolute bible for Web workers.” — liz coulter-smith
  • There is absolutely no filler, self-promotion, or airy-fairy guff in Digital Adaptation. Everything is simple, practical, and immediately applicable to problem teams and projects.” — Idea15webdesign
  • Management dinosaurs take note: Time for a new approach!” — George DeLair
  • Almost done @boagworld’s new book, Digital Adaptation. I love it, and haven’t read through a book this fast in a long time. Thanks Paul!” — Scott Whitehead
  • 5 of 5 stars to Digital Adaptation by Paul Boag!” — Pete Roessler

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