Embrace The New Digital Paradigm Or Prepare For Extinction
Are We ‘Digital Ready’ Yet?
Digital, this word is emerging as being the most talked about and promoted term of the past ten years. The Australian government initiated a program called “Digital Ready” addressing the perceived ‘digital divide’ among the population. This was a smart step, but perhaps did not really go far enough to address the ‘Elephant in room’.
To put it bluntly, unless Australia pulls its digit out, we are destined for a very rough time.
What I see among the general business community is a kind of ‘stunned mullet’ reaction.
The 20 years of digital evolution in the western world has created an entirely new paradigm. I am loath to use that word, because it has been over-used and abused in recent times, but ‘paradigm’ is the only word that can express the transition into global digital culture, this is way more than simply a question of new technology.
I have worked in the U.K and exchanged information with USA associates over this time, researched and studied digital technologies and participated in the emergence of digital culture.
In 2017 if you are not looking at digital solutions for your business then you are limiting the reach of your potential. The emergence of Radio, and then Television was the last major paradigm shift – Digital is of the same order of magnitude.
Increasingly business will be forced to deal with Social Media, with ‘pay per click’ advertising, with website development, mobile optimization, producing ‘content’ which serves a specific segment of a market – increasingly the game is all about re-launching business and cultural identity because the landscape is now very much in flux.
Content production, video, articles which are prepared for digital consumption – if The New Yorker is now mainly focusing on ‘Digital’ you can be certain the community rag of ‘Geelong’ will soon be needing to address their own survival digitally, or another more savvy and enterprising entity will snatch the audience.
This same dynamic will begin to play out in many industries, ‘disruption’ occurs when more observant players seize the new opportunities created by the digital revolution, and established business rests on its laurels, not imagining their market will disappear overnight.
‘Kodak’ were an example of this, it is very instructive to read about their story, a business that were synonymous with the very word: Photograph, they experienced what Digital means – have you noticed how they have mostly disappeared?
Kodak are kind of still there, but they have lost their dominant position, this is happening to many other seemingly giant players.
Digital is not simply about technology, but the explosion of potential options that the technology has enabled, this has spawned a completely different culture – unless we truly embrace this enormous shift in our society, there will be many more huge brands that will topple. They do not see this coming in many cases. The boards and senior levels of large corporate business can be rather like an Aircraft Carrier, too large to respond in a nimble way – it takes 20 miles to turn in mid-ocean!
Of course this also means that smaller players now have a significant opportunity, and we can see this everywhere, each street in every suburb seems to have a ‘Startup’, but entrepreneurial talent is still pretty rare; it is now a numbers game.
While all this talk about ‘Disruption’ is becoming almost commonplace, what this represents is not being fully appreciated by so many ‘serious’ business people – the lesson of huge corporate brands being toppled has not yet fully matured, there is change in the air.
The opportunity of digital is a two edged blade – there is significant danger for some types of business unless they become more cognizant of the emerging digital culture, and the tsunami of genuine disruption that is poised to sweep Australian business.