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3 Things Donkey Kong Teaches Us About Digital Transformation

Appian Contributor
July 8, 2016

3Things Donkey Kong Teaches Us About Digital Transformation

Fun facts abound when it's Funtime Friday!

Tomorrow marks the 35th anniversary of the release of Donkey Kong.

Yep...that Donkey Kong.

The classic arcade game by Nintendo was originally released on July 9, 1981.

No matter if you're a video game aficionado or a casual player, you must admit...Donkey Kong is an all-time favorite. It spawned all sorts of spin-offs from Donkey Kong Jr. in 1982, all the way through the latest release, 2014's Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. (I kid you not!)

But waaaay back on July 9, 1981? No one had any clue just how iconic Donkey Kong would become.

What? You never played Donkey Kong?

You are missing out!

If this is you, stop what you're doing, and watch this short video to get the idea:

Here's the deal. In the game, our hero, Mario, is attempting to rescue his girlfriend, Pauline, from the clutches of Donkey Kong a big, mean, ugly gorilla.

Mario must scale massive structures of scaffolding and steel girders while avoiding all sorts of trouble in the form of barrels, flames, and even more treacherous stuff to face the gorilla and finally achieve his goal.

It got me thinking...Mario's plight is not unlike any of ours when we're working hard to drive digital change initiatives across our organizations.

Sure, there's no big, mean, ugly gorillaÖor is there?

The status quo can seem pretty safe sometimes. And, that's exactly how we all get into habits...solidified in today's ways even though we know deep down there are better, faster, more competitive ways to run our organizations.

So here are three things Donkey Kong teaches us about digital transformation. Next time you're facing a challenge in your efforts to transform your business, stop and think about how you've already helped Mario do all of these things to win the game:

    • No matter what's thrown at you, don't give up!

In the game, Donkey Kong throws barrels, flames, and all sorts of things at Mario in an attempt to knock him off track; Mario has to dodge and jump and otherwise avoid all this trouble to get to Pauline and savethe day.

In any digital transformation effort, we're driving big change. And big change is tough. Perhaps the best lesson to learn in any change initiative? Don't give up. You may have to dodge and jump and even parry...but giving up is the only 100% certain way to fail.

    • The right tools can help you overcome tough challenges.

Mario does have help. Big hammers! Mario can pick one up to break the barrels and knock out the flames as he climbs the structure to rescue Pauline.

And you? You have help, too: the technologies you choose in your digital transformation efforts!Mario with hammer

    • You can standardize processes and automate even the most dynamic work with BPM.

And, the list goes on. You can slay the beast, overcoming your challenges by using the right technology.

    • No matter how scary the big, mean, ugly gorilla is, you can get past him and thrive.

Digital transformation is daunting...especially for organizations that have business processes and data and employees that have been in place almost as long as the Donkey Kong game Donkey Kongitself.

But, even if you're reliant on Excel, or feel you can't let go of that ERP, Sharepoint, or other tech investment made years ago, you can still win the game.

Unify your people, process, data, and technology. Consider an app platform that sits on top of it all and empowers your organization with easy, powerful, and unified apps that take advantage of all of your investments...even the ones still around from way back in 1981.

Digital transformation is not a game. But, that doesn't mean we can't find inspiration and help from one of the most iconic video games of any generation.

Til next timeÖ

Zach Messler

Product Marketing Guy