The design of effective public digital organizations πŸ’ͺ


Hatched by Glasp

Jul 17, 2023

4 min read


The design of effective public digital organizations πŸ’ͺ

Society needs effective public organizations, and in today's digital age, it is crucial for these organizations to also be digitally effective. The concept of transparency is key here, as public works should be equally, if not more, accountable for their performance than private organizations. In order to achieve this, public digital organizations must prioritize consistent product innovation, just like strong tech-product companies do.

When we talk about consistent product innovation, we mean constantly creating new value for customers and for the business as a whole. This goes beyond simply tweaking and optimizing existing products, also known as value capture. It involves developing each product to reach its full potential. Marty Cagan, a renowned product management expert, emphasizes the importance of this approach.

To build successful digital products, long-lived multi-disciplinary teams are essential. These teams should have the power to shape their own work, making them empowered product teams. The ability to translate organizational strategy into actionable plans that multiple product teams can efficiently execute on is one of the critical functions of product management. An executive team designed consciously to support empowered product teams is more likely to be successful than one that is designed around other goals.

Empowered product teams take vertical responsibility for delivering value to customers. They are focused on creating products that meet the needs and expectations of users. On the other hand, functions within the organization take horizontal responsibility for building organizational capability. By dividing responsibilities in this way, the organization can achieve a balance between delivering value and building a strong internal foundation.

Interestingly, the approach taken by Apple in its organizational design aligns with the principles of empowered product teams. Steve Jobs, in his first year returning as CEO, made significant changes to Apple's structure. He laid off the general managers of all the business units, combined the functional departments, and put the entire company under one profit and loss statement (P&L). This consolidation allowed Apple to streamline its operations and foster innovation.

In a recent move, Apple announced a new initiative called Mail Privacy Protection. This initiative aims to protect users by stopping senders from using invisible tracking pixels within emails to collect information. By banning this tracking practice, Apple is taking a stand against invasive tracking practices and prioritizing user privacy.

While this move may seem like a simple privacy measure, it also has implications for newsletter senders, particularly those who rely on tracking pixels to gather data about their subscribers. These tracking pixels provide valuable insights such as the number of email opens, the frequency of opens, and the timing of opens. This data helps tailor content to users' preferences and interests, enhancing the overall user experience.

The clash between Apple's Mail Privacy Protection and the email tracking practices of newsletter senders highlights the tension between privacy and personalization. On one hand, users value their privacy and want to protect their online activity from being monitored. On the other hand, personalized content and experiences are highly valued by users and contribute to the success of newsletters.

So, what can public digital organizations learn from Apple's approach and the clash with newsletter senders? Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Prioritize user privacy: Just like Apple, public digital organizations should make user privacy a top priority. By implementing measures to protect user data and prevent invasive tracking practices, these organizations can build trust with their users and ensure their digital products are designed with privacy in mind.
  • 2. Foster empowered product teams: Public digital organizations should embrace the concept of empowered product teams. By giving these teams the autonomy and authority to shape their own work, organizations can foster innovation and deliver products that truly meet the needs of their users.
  • 3. Balance value delivery and organizational capability: It's essential for public digital organizations to find a balance between delivering value to customers and building their internal capabilities. This requires dividing responsibilities between empowered product teams and functions within the organization. By doing so, organizations can ensure both customer satisfaction and organizational growth.

In conclusion, effective public digital organizations are crucial for the betterment of society. By embracing transparency, consistent product innovation, and empowered product teams, these organizations can deliver value to their users while maintaining accountability. Apple's approach in organizational design and its recent clash with newsletter senders serves as a valuable lesson for public digital organizations to prioritize user privacy, foster empowerment, and achieve a balance between value delivery and organizational capability.

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