Archive for December, 2011

The Eve of Digital Transitions

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

In 2011 the digital world continued to evolve at an unprecedented pace as multiple developments compounded and converged on each other. Through this blog, Twitter, our Facebook page, specific reports we have written, presentations we have given, and our recently launched daily newspaper Digital Renaissance 2.0 we have attempted to weave together the digital world threads of change and share with our audience the impact these are having on the digital lives we lead.

Technologists by Osmosis

This year I have given numerous presentations reflecting our foresight into technology trends of the future. During these I’ve shared significant knowledge gained in hindsight over the last 30 years in order to give my audience the necessary insight into the impact and influence that four fundamental technologies introduced in the 1980’s have had on the world today.

The reason for doing this is that most people don’t realize the extent to which their lives have been affected by these technologies. As a very simple example, the evolution of digital recording (DVR) as a means of watching programs when you want to via TV or streaming to a computer has introduced the concept of “time shifting”. Time shifting enables you to enjoy the entertainment you want at a time that’s convenient to you. The awareness that we try to bring to our audience is that most people have become “technologists by osmosis” over the last 30 years as they have absorbed technology into every aspect of their personal lives.

Collective Movements

More significantly, we have witnessed the ability to use technology to create and support collective movements; for instance, in the early part of 2011 the world watched as the “Arab Spring” movement inEgyptchanged the course of democracy in theMiddle Eastin ways most didn’t think were possible. Equally the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in theUSwas copycatted around the world as an outrage against corporations and bankers’ excesses. These are examples of people being enabled by technology to challenge those aspects of society and politics that don’t resonate with the growing awareness of what’s right and good that the Internet and the associated openness of information have facilitated.

Double Edged Capability

The counterpoint to this was raised by several people in different sessions – the fact that technology enables people to be tracked, analyzed and targeted for advertising and promotions. It also facilitates the creation of “Big Brother” systems which not only impinge on our privacy but which enable governments or other entities to control our lives. The reality is that as we enter 2012 it’s becoming increasingly impossible to go completely “off grid”.

Global Destiny

Abusive use of technology is always a potential threat but as “Wiki leaks” has shown, the Internet and technology have also given people a mechanism to oppose abusive use of information. This capability coupled with the power of the collective, as demonstrated by Arab Spring and other smaller positive actions of collective activity, give reassurance to the ability of the global population to take charge of their own destiny.

Digital Agents of Change

As people become aware of the fact that they are “technologists by osmosis” and that they have both understood and absorbed technology into their personal lives, they can seize the opportunity to utilize this knowledge to observe, assess and determine how technology can be used to shape their community and business lives. As our eyes are opened and our curiosity becomes aroused, we see how technology can be leveraged to enhance, fulfill or simplify our lives. It is this that lies at the heart of the concept we at KeySo Global call “Digital Agents of Change”.

Engaging Change

In a previous blog we talked about the characteristics of a Digital Agent of Change, or that person who has the power to change business models from both inside and outside of the company. Over the last 12 months we have strongly advised companies to engage Digital Agents of Change as a necessity to facilitate the change and adaptation of their existing business models to the emerging requirements of digital life.

Sharing Knowledge

On the eve of 2012 I’m delighted to see indications that more and more business leaders now recognize that their businesses are being impacted by digital world technologies and digital life changes. Many, however, have little understanding of exactly what this means for their business models or how they need to be adapted. For the last two years we at KeySo Global have been researching, developing frameworks and working with leading-edge thinkers to evolve the solutions and approaches that can help you as executives – and Digital Agents of Change – to create the business models and change necessary to succeed in 2012 and beyond. We look forward to the opportunity of sharing our knowledge with you in the coming year.

To all of our clients, partners, friends and readers we wish you all a happy and abundantly successful 2012.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

Virtual Connections in the Digital World!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

The ease of communication made possible today by fast paced advances in converged technologies has affected not only our personal lives but it has also caused the business world to begin to undergo a radical metamorphosis. Because we can now conduct business from almost anywhere, it’s resulted in an unavoidable blurring between our professional and private lives. Some view this as a positive and others as a negative.

Virtual Business

Converged technologies have given people the flexibility to effectively communicate anywhere and at any time. We often hear people talking about their “virtual” or “mobile office” and technically in the today’s digital world your office is wherever you are. More and more companies are now adopting a virtual style of business as teams work remotely – at home, in coffee shops, in hotels, at airports – in fact anywhere that they are dispersed and yet can still remain connected.

Business Benefits

Studies have shown that those businesses that have adopted more flexible work practices and allow their workforce to operate away from the traditional office setting can potentially boost their productivity. A report by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers at the 2010 White House Forum for Workplace Flexibility highlighted some of the benefits of remote working which included: “reducing absenteeism, lowering turnover, improving the health of workers and increasing productivity”.

The Pros and Cons

There are advantages as well as disadvantages for companies that choose to operate virtually, and also for their employees who work remotely. Some to be considered are:

Advantages:

Reduction in stress levels by not having to commute to work

  • Time and money saved by not having to commute
  • Environmental benefits from not driving to work
  • Being able to manage your time more effectively and work when you are most productive
  • Healthier life style – opportunity to exercise more easily and eat a better diet
  • Working in a more relaxing work environment
  • Companies can consider a larger pool of employee applications as location isn’t a factor

Disadvantages:

Lack of support – both administrative and managerial

  • Lack of face-to-face communication can increase the chances of miscommunications or misunderstandings
  • Less camaraderie among workers can result in less cohesive work teams
  • Technical difficulties can hinder communication and/or work progress
  • Problems separating free time from work time as work is always “there”

A Considered Strategy

The transition to a virtual work style can be made without too much disruption. It’s generally considered advisable for a company to approach the change over with a well defined strategy in place in order to take full advantage of the benefits and flexibility that remote working enables. A reevaluation of existing communication protocol may be necessary to adapt to this new way of working, as well as adjustment of the daily routine that’s needed to ensure 24/7 coverage, learning how to use new collaboration tools or services, and expanding the use of existing programs that have moved to the cloud, such as Microsoft Office 365.

Beyond Collaboration

Today’s converged technologies help to bridge the communication gap for businesses and their workforces, regardless of their location. Many businesses have evolved their regular on site team meetings into virtual meetings, making it essential to have the right tools in place to engage a remote work team. Increasingly it’s becoming essential for teams to not only collaborate but to creatively interact in order to find innovative solutions to business problems and customer requirements.

Creative Solutions

We at KeySo Global have been working closely with Bob Dean of Dean Learning & Talent Advisors LLC. Together we have been using ThinkTank, a unique platform that gives “structure to collaboration” and which has enabled us to carry out collaborative virtual consulting through customized brain storming and problem solving sessions with our geographically dispersed clients.

To learn more about ThinkTank and other creative strategic processes that can help your business sustain a dynamic virtual work environment and collaborate better, contact us at info@keysoglobal.com, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website www.keysoglobal.com

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global