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Digital Enterprise Society partnered with North America’s largest B2B publisher, MultiView, to produce email newsletter, Digital Enterprise Industry Insider. With this customized news brief, we’re proud to offer you a hand-curated selection of relevant news and association updates.In this community blog, you'll find content posted exclusively to Industry Insider - DES News.


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PLM World Presentations Moving to Digital Enterprise Society

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Monday, October 14, 2019

PLM World Presentations Moving to Digital Enterprise Society

Soon you’ll find some of the most popular PLM World – Siemens PLM Connections: Americas 2018 presentations on the Digital Enterprise Society website.  The Society was formed by a PLM World transitional board of directors. As part of the transition, the board of directors approved a transfer of assets; including PLM World event presentations. 

The migration of presentations will begin shortly, starting with popular Siemens PLM Connections: Americas 2018 presentations. Select presentations from Siemens PLM Connections: Americas 2017 and 2016 will follow. 

If you've authored a past PLM World presentation that you do NOT want added to the Digital Enterprise Society File Libraries, please email by November 1, 2019. 


Tags:  Announcement  PLM World  Presentations 

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Digital Transformation: Complex Dressed in Complicated’s Clothing?

Posted By Scott Hutcheson, Thursday, July 25, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Digital Transformation: Complex Dressed in Complicated’s Clothing?

By: Scott Hutcheson, PhD

It was my first real job. No more taking orders from drive-thru window, hauling wheelbarrow-loads of landscaping stones, or delivering balloon bouquets dressed like a clown. With a college degree in hand I had landed a job with a global company, an airline. I would be wearing suits, carrying a briefcase, and going on business trips. It was 1990 and I felt like the main character in one of the many movies of that era — young, ambitious, and ready to take on the world in the big city.

Within my first few weeks on the job I found myself assigned to a software development project. It involved four different global companies including mine. Together they would be developing an ambitious system that they would all use. Back then we didn’t call this a “digital transformation” project but that’s exactly what it was. Each of the companies assigned some of their own people to work on the project and others were hired. In total there were about 400 of us. We had four years to complete the project and a budget of $115 million. At the time it was one of the most ambitious and costly software development projects ever attempted. It was a “buy build” effort that would stitch together off-the-shelf solutions with those we would develop ourselves. We were handed the “technical specifications” for what we were supposed to build, 75,000 pages of technical specifications. If stacked on the ground, that many sheets of paper would stand at over 37 feet tall!

After just over three years working on the project we got to what was called “integration testing” where we began to put together the different parts of the system to begin testing out the functionality. Although there was not a literal drumroll there was certainly a metaphorical one, the anticipatory ta-a-tat-tat followed by the throwing of the switch. The drumroll, however…, was followed by silence. It didn’t work.

Over the next few weeks the mood evolved from a “no-problem, we-can-fix-it” pluckiness, to worry, to panic, to finger pointing and blame. The project was shut down, the partnership dissolved. It stands as one of the largest software development failures in history. Did I mention this was my first job? Quite the resume builder.

So, what happened? Why, despite an ample budget, plenty of bright people, and that 75,000-page instruction manual did it fail? As I would come to understand much later, we were dealing with a complex challenge as if it were a complicated problem. Technically it should have worked. Although there were some novel aspects of the system architecture, it was entirely feasible. On the surface it seemed merely technically complicated. Lurking beneath the complicated was complexity. What made it complex? Four different organizations, four different organizational cultures, four different agendas, and issues of trust and turf.

The nearly 30 years from that experience to now has led me on a path to try and better understand how complex, transformational work gets done, how complex is different than complicated, and why we often have a hard time differentiating between the two. The last two-thirds of those 30 years have been spent at Purdue University. Purdue is a place that has never shied away from the complicated. Established as a land-grant university through the Morrill Act of 1862 signed by President Abraham Lincoln, Purdue and the other land grants were founded to focus on the “agricultural and mechanical arts.” Purdue has a rich heritage of attracting faculty and students who have tackled a great may technical challenges. Known as the “cradle of astronauts” more Purdue graduates have gone to space than any other university’s alums.

The establishment of the Purdue’s of the world was part of a bigger transformation that was occurring in the United States — the industrial revolution. This would be an era in which we conquered the complicated with remarkable success. We built the first skyscrapers, airplanes, and automobiles, and saw prosperity rise at pace never before seen.

People like Fredrick Taylor, the father of “scientific management” told us that organizations were like machines and that the people who worked for them were mere cogs in the rotating wheels of progress. This metaphor of the organization as machine became so dominant that it shaped the way we think of nearly everything and the way in which we organized our companies as well as our communities. Often, we think of digital transformation in the same way – a new set of tools to tweak the machine. Transformation, however, is not a mere tweaking.

This way of thinking about the world also shaped many of the tools, insights, and processes that we’ve relied on as we would strive for greater levels of efficiency and higher levels of production. These became ways to tweak the metaphorical machines to reduce waste and increase output. The discipline of engineering, root cause analysis, strategic planning, project management, total quality management, lean, and six sigma are all tools that can trace their roots back to Fredrick Taylor’s scientific management.

This problem-solution mindset, however, has seemingly hit a wall. We are running up against a set of challenges that stubbornly won’t respond to our industrial-age approaches. The tools in our toolbox don’t work like they once did. Climate change, sustainable energy production, income inequality are the kinds of grand challenges that are resistant to the old tools and mindsets. We can’t engineer our way out of the climate change crisis. We can’t root cause analyze to find the silver bullet for income inequality. These kinds of complex challenges can be seen in very real, often heartbreaking ways. People living in rural communities are ravaged by the impacts of opioid use disorder. Once vibrant urban neighborhoods are dealing with blight and violence. We see it on our factory floors, in our hospital hallways, in our professional service offerings as well. We want to create more value for our customers, we want to be better stewards of the human and natural resources we require. We identify digital and other solutions and attempt to implement them. Sometimes they help tweak. Most of the time, though, they don’t bring the transformation for which we hoped.

At Purdue we’ve been designing and testing new approaches for managing complex, transformational challenges and the results are promising. One of our tools is called Strategic Doing. It is strategy disciple specifically designed for open, loosely-connected networks. One of the reasons complex, transformational challenges are complex is because they don’t exist within a command-and-control hierarchy. No single person or organization has all the knowledge, resources, carrots, or sticks required. Strategic Doing allows people to form action-oriented collaborations quickly, move them toward measurable outcomes, and make adjustments along the way. This approach requires thinking differently, behaving differently, and doing work differently.

We’ve developed, tested, and refined this approach through practice; and we’ve taught it as a discipline to thousands of people, including university students and faculty as well as corporate and civic leaders. In May 2019 we published a book to further share what we’ve learned. Strategic Doing: Ten Skills for Agile Leadership (Wiley) outlines a new approach to leadership, one that is horizontal, adaptive, and collaborative. It’s the way of thinking required to deal with complex challenges and wicked problems. Along the way we’ve also heard inspiring stories from people in organizations like NASA and from places like Flint, Michigan and Puerto Rico. These are people who are using Strategic Doing to do amazing, transformational work. They’ve mastered the ten skills outlined in the book:

  1. . Creating and maintaining safe spaces for deep, focused conversation
  2. Framing conversations with the right questions
  3. Uncovering assets, even the hidden ones
  4. Linking and leveraging assets to identify new shared-value opportunities
  5. Looking for the “Big Easy”
  6. Converting ideas to outcomes with measurable characteristics
  7. Starting slowly to go fast
  8. Designing short-term action plans that include everyone
  9. Using 30/30 meetings to review, learn, and adjust
  10. Nudging, connecting, and promoting to reinforce new habits of collaboration

For these leaders and others, the application of these skills serves as a sort of algorithm or operating system that they use to make progress in managing the complex, transformational challenges and wicked problems they face. These skills fill our toolbox with new tools. In Flint, Michigan a group of community leaders have developed their skills in these areas to deal with issues related to teen homicide, systemic racism, and food deserts. A group led by University of Puerto Rico is using Strategic Doing to design an entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem as they rebuild after the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. Scientists at NASA have drawn on these insights to increase the productivity of their research in space life science. A large military contractor used these skills to develop an open innovation platform upon which they, and their partners, designed digital transformation solutions for the U.S. Navy.

In 2011 a group of Strategic Doing practitioners gathered at a state park in Indiana. They developed a credo, a set of beliefs that drive our work:

  • We believe we have a responsibility to build a prosperous, sustainable future for ourselves and future generations
  • No individual, organization, or place can build that future alone
  • Open, honest, focused, and caring collaboration among diverse participants is the path to accomplishing clear, valuable, shared outcomes
  • We believe in doing, not just talking and in behavior in alignment with our beliefs

Walking away from the software development failure in the early 90s I could have never anticipated the path that was ahead of me. Along the way I’ve met a remarkable group of people seeking answers to some of the same questions I was asking. Together we’ve developed a whole new discipline — the science and practice of complex collaboration and to has shown remarkable progress helping enterprises of all sizes transform, digitally and otherside. Purdue has become the global hub of this new discipline helping to incubate and develop tools and practices like Strategic Doing. This work has taken us to nearly every state in the U.S. and to nine different countries.

A few months ago, we offered a free online course and over 3,000 people enrolled from 143 different countries. It was offered on a social learning platform so there was a lot of interaction among the learners. The conversations were remarkable. People from vastly different places, were dealing with widely different challenges — an engineer in Germany working on next-generation vehicle design. A public health worker in sub-Saharan Africa dealing with access to safe drinking water. Different contexts, different challenges, but the same dynamics of complexly.

If you are increasingly finding yourself facing stubborn problems, the sort that seem more complicated than it should be, consider whether what you might be facing is complexity dressed up in complicated’s clothing. It might be time to try out a new set of tools.


About Scott

 Scott Hutcheson, PhD thinks, writes, speaks, and teaches about the science and practice of complex collaboration and new approaches to strategy. You can learn more about Scott at and his work at Purdue at


What to learn more?  Scott is presenting a webinar "Digital Transformation Strategy: It’s Not Rocket Science…It’s Harder!"

on Monday, September 9 at 2pm EST. Register now.

Images in this article are from Unsplash

Tags:  Change Management  Thought Leader 

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Did You Know?

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Thursday, June 20, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Did You Know? 

Digital Enterprise Society is your software-independent partner in the pursuit of Industry 4.0.

"We've gone through several industrial revolutions — from mechanization to electrification to automation, and now, with Industry 4.0 — digitalization.”  Nathan Hartman, Purdue University and Digital Enterprise Society Past President, shares in the first episode of the Digital Enterprise Society Podcast.

Digital Enterprise Society is a new nonprofit membership association organized to enable the transformation of product development, design, delivery and maintenance throughout the digital enterprise. As a 501c6 entity, Digital Enterprise Society works with all software manufacturers in the digital enterprise. Therefore, Digital Enterprise Society offers an unbiased forum for the sharing ideas about the future vision of product development and lifecycles regardless of software used.

“What we’re facing today is a transformation and a displacement of people and products and technologies that is happening faster than the other three revolutions combined.” Hartman says.

People working within the enterprise have an enlightened view of digital product information, and how it can be leveraged in their daily work. Organizational and cultural change are fundamental to this evolution, and the Digital Enterprise Society will contribute to that evolution by:

  • Offering a forum for the exchange of ideas surrounding the tools, processes, and practices used across the product lifecycle
  •  Supporting the transformative effects on people’s work through engagement and mentoring opportunities
  • Providing a voice in the development of the next-generation manufacturing workforce by engaging and supporting educational development and experiences within the entire talent development pipeline to enable the manufacturing transformation to the digital enterprise paradigm
  • Offering an unbiased environment in which to exchange ideas around digital manufacturing tools, process and practice, and their integration into the enterprise

Tune-in to the Digital Enterprise Society Podcast to learn more about the evolution of Digital Enterprise Society.

Tags:  Digital Enterprise Society  Podcast 

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Last chance to book your place for Realize LIVE before registration closes!

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Thursday, May 30, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Last chance to book your place for Realize LIVE before registration closes!

June 10-13, 2019 | Cobo Center | Detroit, MI

Time is running out to attend the Realize LIVE conference, places are filling up fast! Realize LIVE will feature all aspects of Siemens Digital Industries Software product portfolio. Check out the great keynotes, solutions expo, the automotive innovation pavilion and the 550+ presentations! Visit the Realize LIVE website today to see the agenda, that includes:

•             Four-days of presentations, panels, and workshop sessions in 11 product connections (breakout tracks)
•             Over 125 different companies presenting
•             Industry, business and deployment sessions
•             Professional development sessions
•             57 hands-on training classes
•             Knowledge Theatres on the show floor
•             Daily general sessions with customer and thought-leadership keynotes

Realize LIVE combines the PLM Connection Americas conference with many other Siemens customer events in a one-stop shop for realizing innovation. It’s where customers come to hear from the experts, and to learn from each other. Don’t miss out, register today!

Tags:  Industry Events 

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Meet the Digital Enterprise Society Board of Trustees

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Thursday, May 23, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Meet the Digital Enterprise Society Board of Trustees

Digital Enterprise Society welcomes new board members, installed Monday, May 20, 2019.

Patrick Fahy – President, Mahindra - North America 
Nathan Hartman – Past-President, Purdue University 
John Manderfield – Vice President, Consolidated Container Company 
Robbie Amasanti – Industry Trustee, Shark Ninja
Evans Angaga – Industry Trustee, ASML
Ryan McVay  – Industry Trustee, Cantel Medical
Adam Specht – Industry Trustee, DRiV™ Incorporated
Natalie Straup – Industry Trustee, Boeing Company 
Joseph Anderson – Software/Partner/Affiliate Trustee, IpX - Institute for Process Excellence
Stefan Jockusch – Software/Partner/Affiliate Trustee, Siemens
Chandru Narayan – Software/Partner/Affiliate Trustee, The Bush School
Wendy Holliday – Executive Director, Digital Enterprise Society

The Board oversees all major functions of DES. They develop the organization’s strategic plan and represent the membership through monthly conference calls and quarterly meetings.

As a first point of action the board of trustees approved the Digital Enterprise Society Bylaws.

Interested in getting involved as a committee member? Visit to learn more. 


Tags:  Announcement  News 

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