Are you playing digital catch up?

\"digitalLast week I attended an interesting IOD Northwest breakfast event all about Digital Strategy hosted and supported by some guys from O2.  My thanks to Paul Lawton and Martyn Wallace (@mw_o2uk) for a great session.

It was a really interesting event and sparked some great insights and discussions; not least of which was the fact that the UK is the fastest growing and most digitally advanced nation for starting new businesses.  Apparently ‘millenials,’ the generation that hit the working scene in and around 2000, are attracted to London in their droves to start new and exciting digital ventures.  It has the infrastructure, the buzz and the opportunities they are seeking, they step off a plane, open a bank account and start a new business.  Sounds simple doesn’t it.  As someone who has recently gone through the process, on one hand it is, but creating something sustainable that attracts and maintains customers is a real challenge for these digital savvy entrepreneurs.

There were some great statistics being bandied around which made me really sit up and reflect on the pace of change, the role of social media and the need for a digital strategy for every business.  Three facts jumped out for me:

  • The average smart phone user spends 128 mins per day on their device!!\"smart
  • Making a call with our smartphone is only 5th on the list of activities we use it for
  • The race to get 50 million users has shortened massively
    • Radio took 38 years to get 50 million listeners
    • TV took 13 years
    • Intranet 4 years
    • iPod 3 years
    • Facebook – just 1 year!

My takeaway – trite but true – the pace of change is accelerating!!!!! Big style! If you don’t embrace the digital age you will be left behind!

Martyn went on to share his views of the 5 Key trends that are shaping the digital world, I couldn’t do them justice and neither do I want to steal his thunder, but it is worth just reflecting what they were.

  1.  The Sharing Economy – knowledge and service sharing through the on-line community is how we gain understanding and create revenue.
  2. Sensory Intelligence – greater degrees of automation through devices that intelligently sensor and cypher information, joining the dots so we don’t have to.
  3. Internet of Things – everything is becoming connected to everything, your fridge to your fitness App J
  4. Crowd Sourced Information – the wisdom of the crowd is becoming louder than the ‘expert’
  5. Automated Choice – our choices are being narrowed through clever tech to make life easier for us

The key challenge that was being laid down was that if you are not maximizing the digital revolution to improve your productivity or add value and increase your business, your competitors will be!

Now I accept all of that, but the discussion I prompted and the one that interests me, is that the limiting factor is increasingly becoming our ability (as human beings) to adapt, embrace and respond to the accelerating pace of change.  Some of the wonderful ideas that were mooted require significant behavioural change from consumers and customers and the generational divide seems to be growing in that respect.  How much emphasis are businesses putting on helping their customers change behaviour? Or are they simply concerned about beating the competition to the ‘new idea,’ ‘new technology,’ ‘new solution’.  Available does not mean used!

\"digitralInterestingly the new advert for Barclays Bank is doing just that – focusing on the way they can help us adapt and understand (targeted at the older generation admittedly) rather than focusing on the products and services.

Whichever way you look at it the digital revolution is coming at us faster and faster, is it Darwinian adaptation that will determines who comes out best?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *