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.
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”.
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”.
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.
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