Conclusion: Even though stakeholders may support ‘Digital’ initiatives – due in no small part to the all-encompassing nature of the term ‘Digital’ in today’s market – many of these initiatives will fail to deliver on the original intent. This is because the term ‘Digital’ enables stakeholders to reinterpret the intent of an initiative in a number of different ways. This can cause stakeholders – both within ICT groups and within the organisation more broadly – to take actions that deviate from the original intent, or that resist attempts to change. Even when organisations have put in place governance and processes to reconfirm stakeholders’ understanding of the initiative’s intentions, reinterpretations and misaligned actions can still occur.
By understanding the types of ‘mutation’ that stem from the use of ‘Digital’, and by appreciating the limitations of traditional methods of checking stakeholder alignment, policy and program leads can minimise the risk of projects being implemented in unexpected ways.