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Digital Twin

„Writing is actually an awful way to explain things to each other. And it takes a lot of time, and you and I have rather a lot to do.“ Could this be something you’d say? It is easy to picture it as a statement by someone working in technology. Someone working at the forefront of digital transformation and the very heart of digital connectivity. Connectivity has come with a lot of new opportunities, but also with a heightened demand of mental agility. Your work agenda is already packed with deadlines. Why write? Why take time to blog? 

Writing is actually an awful way to explain things to each other. And it takes a lot of time, and you and I have rather a lot to do.

(Vincent van Gogh in a letter to his brother Theo, January 8th/9th 1882)

    The quote is not by one of your colleagues. It is not by a contemporary. Vincent van Gogh wrote it in a letter to his brother Theo in 1882. And he ended up writing more than 800 letters. A blog is like a letter, albeit addressed to a virtual recipient and a multitude of potential readers.

    Despite his statement van Gogh took pains to write again and again. The letters were his window to the world, and also a laboratory to test his artistic ideas and works in progress with an attentive reader.

    In the following I will try my best to lay out some key benefits you can garner from writing blogs, and hopefully inspire you to start blogging yourself or give you a little shot of extra motivation if you already do.

    This is the first blog of a series providing tips for creating high quality blog content: INGENIOUS BLOGS. TIPS FOR WRITING TECH.

  1. Improve your writing skills

    Let’s start with the most obvious benefit from blogging: improving your writing skills. But why? Is this really important for someone working in technology? Isn’t writing just a means to the end of transmitting and exchanging information? Of course, and I’m sure you know of quite a few examples of how this can go wrong from your daily work experience.

    Your style and wording can stand in the way of getting that information across. You might use a jargon that works fine with your immediate professional cohort, but fails once you communicate with people from other departments or organizations. Using the simplest, most concise, and universally appealing language to deliver your message is an art in itself. And writing blogs can help you develop this skill.

    Blogging is the most conversational form of writing, as you are in more direct and personable contact with your readership. While a blog is directed at a multitude of virtual readers, a well-written one will give you the impression of reading a letter addressed to you personally. Writing a blog gives you the chance of not only getting your information across, but making a memorable and emotional impact on your reader.

    Writing blogs will train your conversational writing skills and the ability to impart knowledge in a relatable and effectual way.

  2. Self-development

    As the pace of digital transformation is increasing and we work and live in a state of constant interconnectivity, writing is a perfect means to maintain focus. Writing lets you step back and reconnect to your goals and core values. It helps you assess and acknowledge your achievements and step back into the connected world with renewed trust, understanding and focus.

    As a means of targeted self-reflection writing blogs can support your decision making and self-development.

  3. Self-motivation

    If you are a novice at blogging you might struggle to find the right words or train of thought. Even experienced bloggers go through this. It is definitely worth the effort. I always compare it to running. The first few weeks are the hardest, then your body gets more used to it. You find your pace and develop stamina. And I can tell you: there is something like a blogger’s high :-)!

    Blogging is a form of self-motivation. It is not only the recognition you might get from your readers, and the thrill of being read. Writing blogs can be very motivating on its own account. It is like conducting an interview with yourself.  Just doing it will convey an immediate sense of acknowledgement. You could regard it as an act of professional self-love. Finishing a blog and posting it online is a very satisfying experience.

    In a blog you can present your experiences in a self-motivating way.

  4. Collaboration across organizational boundaries

    There has been much talk about silo mentality, the tendency to work in closed off information circles, and its hazardous effects on productivity and corporate culture.

    Foto by Leaflet (writing by myself), under license CC-BY-SA 3.0

    Writing blogs is one means to counteract silo mentality. It trains you to prepare information in a way that sparks collaboration across organizational boundaries without disclosing valuable information assets.

    Writing blogs makes your work accessible to potential collaborators from different departments and other organizations.

  5. Professional portfolio

    Blogs are a quintessential tool for professional self-promotion. In todays digital work environments online self-promotion has become increasingly important. Publishing on a corporate platform will add extra credibility to your blog content. 

    Blogging helps building up your professional portfolio.

  6. Professional Network

    Writing blogs can be an effectual resource for expanding and cultivating your  professional network. You can keep your business contacts in the loop without having to talk to them each individually. Within your existing network you can sharpen and boost your business profile. A blog can attract attention from new external affiliates.

    Blogging is an excellent way to keep stakeholders in the loop and enable customer interaction.

  7. Thought leadership

    Writing blogs is the best way to demonstrate thought leadership. A blog is the place where you can shine. It opens the door to do so outside the confines of organizational hierarchies. 

    As your content has immediate public visibility, and it is aimed at engaging the reader more directly than a magazine article or book, it sharpens your ability to take a stance within relevant public discourse. No other textual medium allows for more immediate yet also elaborate responses to trending topics.

    A corporate blogging platform allows you to leverage your company’s attested thought leadership to promote your own content. Conversely, you can support your company’s thought leadership position with your high quality blog content and expert profile. Ideally, it is a win-win situation.

    A blog can be a vehicle of thought leadership.


  8. Agility mindset

    Digital transformation calls for agile businesses and agile minds.

    Key principles of digital era agility are:

    • short feedback loops
    • customer collaboration
    • adaptability to change
    • instrinsic motivation

    One could describe blogging as the most ‚agile‘ form of writing. It allows you to test your ideas, new business models, and product development stages with your customer base.

    By writing blogs you can react much faster to trends and continuously reach out to and interact with stakeholders. It is the conduit of intrinsic motivation. A white paper, magazine article, or book are not as ‚agile‘ in this sense. 

    Think of blogging as an enabler of agility in your worklife. Writing about what you do in blogging mode will facilitate insight about useful changes and potential optimizations, be it through external commentary, or by the mere act of writing about it and looking at things without being caught up in the usual operational frenzy.  

    By blogging you can revitalize other valuable content with an ‚agile’ touch: reconnect it with trending topics and popular keywords and embed it in a more emotionally engaging individual storyline.

    Blogging is particularly useful for developing an agile mindset.

  9. Spark your creativity

    Last but not least, writing blogs is an excellent means to spark creativity.

    In writing you connect the dots of your work and experiences. This can make you look at a set of challenges you have been dealing with from a different angle, thus enabling a creative reframing and, ultimately, new solutions. 

    It is easier to think outside the box when you are looking at it as a whole rather than being caught up with its various ‚contents‘ in daily operations.

    Ideally, the writing style in a blog is simple, personable, and experiential. Arranging your subject matter in this way will not only inspire your readers, but also yourself. It can help reconnect with the creative spirit that drives innovation.

Writing blogs is hard work, and needs continuous practice. It is definitely worth the effort :-)!

Let me know what you think! Do you find this post helpful? Interesting? Or not at all? Miss anything? What kind of writing and blogging tips would be most useful for you? I will try to consider it in the upcoming posts of the INGENIOUS BLOGS series. 

Comments

4 comments

  • Avatar for Stefan Hensel
    Stefan Hensel

    Dear Jan,

    thank you, this blog is a great inspiration!
    I love good blogs, they give us the ability to share knowledge and to build and a community with a growth mindset.

    Best regards
    Stefan

  • Avatar for Gunter Beitinger
    Gunter Beitinger

    Dear Jan, I tottally agree to your list. Blogging helps me the way you have described it and also publishing motivated me to blog more.
    It also helps me to increase my language skills.
    What I experienced very deeply is, that it helps me reflecting on my intentions and decisions in a very profound way and to re-adjust myself. It helps me to get more structured and focused. Its my little hide away to see if I am still in balance with myself.
    Someone also told me: People who are writing, trying to structure the world or at least themself!
    Thanks Jan !

    • Avatar for Jan de Heus
      Jan de Heus

      Dear Gunter,

      thanks a lot for your feedback :-)!

      The language we use shapes the way we think and, ultimately, make decisions and act.

      It’s always worth experimenting with and reflecting on our decision making.

      Blogging is the laboratory for that. Glad you’re finding it rewarding!

      Cheers,

      Jan