Thursday, April 25, 2024

g-f(2)2294 The Power of Citizen Developers: How Grassroots Automation Drives Success


genioux Fact post by Fernando Machuca and Bard (Gemini)


The concept of grassroots automation is changing the way organizations approach digital transformation. This video, "How Grassroots Automation Speeds Digital Success", explores how empowering frontline employees with automation tools can drive significant innovation, efficiency, and success for businesses.  Let's dive into the core wisdom extracted from this insightful resource.

genioux GK Nugget

"Grassroots automation accelerates digital success by democratizing the power of automation and putting problem-solving directly in the hands of those closest to the work." — Fernando Machuca and Bard (Gemini), April 25, 2024

genioux Foundational Fact

Rather than relying solely on top-down IT-led automation initiatives, grassroots automation harnesses the collective knowledge and creativity of employees across the organization. This approach fosters a culture of continuous improvement, where even small optimizations made by frontline workers can have a profound ripple effect on an organization's digital maturity.

The 10 Most Relevant genioux Facts

  1. Grassroots automation focuses on empowering non-technical employees to automate their own tasks using accessible tools.
  2. Successful grassroots automation requires careful governance and guidance to align efforts with broader organizational goals.
  3. The creation of "Fusion Teams" that bring together IT, business units, and centers of excellence is key for effective implementation.
  4. Grassroots automation unleashes the latent potential of employees, increasing engagement and job satisfaction.
  5. This approach drives faster problem-solving, as those closest to the work can directly address challenges.
  6. Grassroots automation fosters a culture of innovation and experimentation across the organization.
  7. It enables a bottom-up approach to digital transformation, increasing the likelihood of sustainable change.
  8. Grassroots automation accelerates an organization's ability to scale its digital operations.
  9. Identifying and addressing potential risks such as security and technical debt is crucial for long-term success.
  10. Grassroots automation is not a replacement for IT but rather a complementary strategy to enhance digital transformation efforts.


In today's rapidly changing business landscape, grassroots automation provides a unique and powerful way to supercharge digital success. By empowering employees, fostering innovation, and breaking down traditional silos, organizations can unlock hidden efficiencies and accelerate their digital journeys.


The g-f GK Context

How Grassroots Automation Speeds Digital Success, MIT Sloan Management Review, YouTube channel, April 25, 2024.

A free webinar with Thomas H. Davenport and Ian Barkin.

Related Reading

  • I. Barkin and T.H. Davenport, “Harnessing Grassroots Automation,” MIT Sloan Management Review, Sept. 11, 2023.
  • g-f(2)1345 Navigating the g-f New World: Ten genioux Facts for Leaders (GK from MITSMR by Fernando and ChatGPT)

Companies must digitize to survive — but many can’t find the developers and data scientists to do so. To keep pace, leaders are launching citizen development initiatives to harness the creativity and business acumen of their nontechnical “citizens.” When designed and championed effectively, these programs speed digital transformation.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • The trends shaping citizen developer revolutions in data science, automation, and app building.
  • The tools and technologies that supercharge employees’ ability to revolutionize their jobs and functions.
  • Best practices (and cautionary tales) to help protect data, avoid technical debt, and unleash ideas in a compliant and secure manner.


Thomas H. Davenport is the President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College, a fellow of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, and a senior adviser to Deloitte. He is coauthor of All-in on AI: How Smart Companies Win Big With Artificial Intelligence (Harvard Business Review Press, 2023) and Working With AI: Real Stories of Human-Machine Collaboration (MIT Press, 2022). Ian Barkin is an entrepreneur, educator, and investor in citizen automator technology and services firms. He is a coauthor of Intelligent Automation: Welcome to the World of Hyperautomation (World Scientific Publishing, 2020). Laurianne McLaughlin is senior editor, digital, for MIT Sloan Management Review. She moderated the session.

Classical Summary:

Here is a summary of the YouTube video How Grassroots Automation Speeds Digital Success by MIT Sloan Management Review:

This webinar is about Grassroots automation and how it can speed up digital success. It is hosted by MIT Sloan Management Review and speakers are Ian Barkin and Tom Davenport.

The speakers mentioned that digital transformation is an imperative for enterprises to succeed. In order to achieve this, enterprises need to tap into the ideas and experience of their non-technical citizens with the help of today's automation tools.

Citizen development or citizen data science is a concept where business users without extensive coding experience can automate tasks or solve problems through readily available tools. The speakers believe that this approach can be valuable for enterprises if implemented successfully.

Here are the key takeaways on how to implement a successful grassroots automation program:

  • Identify the different centers within the organization: center of Enterprise Execution (IT, Risk & Compliance, Legal), Centers of Excellence (Continuous Improvement, Robotic Process Automation, AI/ML, Data), and Centers of Influence (Finance, HR, Supply Chain, Customer Support).
  • Establish “Fusion Teams” to bring together the capabilities from these different centers.
  • Empower “citizens” (business people from different departments) to solve problems through automation tools.
  • Provide Governance: Establish a framework to ensure these efforts are aligned with the organization's goals and mitigate risks.
  • Guidance: Offer citizens guidance and resources to help them get started.

Overall, the webinar argues that citizen automation is a powerful approach to digital transformation if implemented with the right framework.

Thomas H. Davenport





Thomas H. Davenport, born on October 17, 1954, is an American academic and author with a remarkable focus on analytics, business process innovation, knowledge management, and artificial intelligence. He currently holds the position of President’s Distinguished Professor in Information Technology and Management at Babson College. Davenport has authored or coauthored twenty books, including the influential work "Working Knowledge" on knowledge management. His insights have graced publications like Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, and The Wall Street Journal. Davenport's impact extends beyond academia; he has been named one of the world's top consultants and analysts in business and technology¹[1][1] ²[3][3]. 📚🌟

Source: Conversation with Bing, 4/27/2024

(1) Thomas H. Davenport - Wikipedia.

(2) Analytics 3.0 - Harvard Business Review.

(3) Competição Analítica: Vencendo Através da Nova Ciência - Thomas H ....

(4) Home - Tom Davenport.

Ian Barkin




Ian Barkin, an entrepreneur, educator, and investor, is deeply involved in the realm of citizen automator technology and services firms. His passion lies in empowering non-technical employees to directly automate complex processes, thereby enhancing efficiency and value within organizations. Barkin coauthored the book "Intelligent Automation: Welcome to the World of Hyperautomation," shedding light on this transformative field¹[1][1] ²[2][2]. 🚀🤖

Source: Conversation with Bing, 4/27/2024

(1) Harnessing Grassroots Automation - MIT Sloan Management Review.

(2) How Grassroots Automation Speeds Digital Success - MIT Sloan Management ....

(3) How Grassroots Automation Speeds Digital Success.

Laurianne McLaughlin






Laurianne McLaughlin, the senior editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, is a seasoned expert in the realms of talent management, artificial intelligence, and digital transformation. Her insights empower leaders to navigate the complex landscape of change, emphasizing skills like emotional intelligence and fostering intellectual honesty within teams. As a moderator, she skillfully guides discussions on critical topics, ensuring that organizations thrive in the ever-evolving business environment¹[1][1] ²[2][2] ³[3][3]. 🌟📊

Source: Conversation with Bing, 4/27/2024

(1) Eight Essential Leadership Tips for 2024 - MIT Sloan Management Review.

(2) Articles by Laurianne McLaughlin’s Profile | MIT Sloan Management ....

(3) Eight Essential Leadership Tips for 2024 - MIT Sloan – Management Review.

(4) Thorny Talent and AI Challenges Now: 5 Experts Speak.

(5) MIT Sloan Management Review.

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