Posts Tagged ‘Digital Agent of Change’

Catalyst Technologies and their Global Impact

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

In this third blog we look at the implications of the catalyst technologies we identified in our last blog, and determine why they have become so important. In his book “What Technology Wants” Kevin Kelly identifies that “the ever thickening mix of existing technologies in a society create any supersaturated matrix charged with restless potential”. We have written extensively about the digital world which is the combination of technologies that are shaping our world and digital life which is the effect that these technologies are having on everyday life. Kelly again reinforces our perspective when he says that we as a society are “symbiotic with the technology” and that as fast as we invent technology, we change our behavior and become dependent upon it.

Instant Markets

The current global economic turmoil did not come about by accident, but is in fact a consequence of today’s society being able to instantly communicate and share information. In other words society has changed behaviors and has become increasingly dependent on converged technologies. The use of internet trading platforms, for example, with Twitter users virally sharing the latest snippet of information is compounding the application of sophisticated trading algorithms (flash trading). The fact that the U.S. is now leading the way in the deployment of 4G mobile Internet makes the realities of the 2008/2009 Wall Street collapse pale into insignificance as the next wave of technologies facilitate “anytime, anywhere, anyhow” trading and speculating based on viral information.

Controls Lag

More recently the global LIBOR banking scandal, on top of the Euro crisis, points to the fact that we as an international society are struggling to come to grips with and learn what control mechanisms will work in this volatile and real-time world. Compounding this is the problem that we have not yet come up with a common language to document the necessary global beliefs and values that are required to guide policy regulation, monitoring and correction of this 24/7 digitally trading world.

Inextricable Interdependence

The U.S. has struggled to interpret the current rapidly changing and unpredictable global situation, mainly because it finds it hard to accept the fundamental changes that have been occurring on its own soil. A recent Financial Times article identified that the U.S. is now significantly more interdependent on the global economy than it was 31 years ago, at the outset of the shift to Digital Renaissance 2.0.

At that time, in 1981, the U.S. was a relatively closed and self-sufficient economy as measured in terms of trade of goods (import/exports) as a percentage of the U.S. gross domestic product. U.S trade represented only 21% of GDP and was made up of 10% exports and 11% imports. By 2012 this had grown significantly to approximately 32% of GDP – exports accounted for 14% of this and imports 18% – putting the U.S. on a par with the global average as an open economy.

Consequently the U.S. belief in self-reliance and independence now needs to be replaced with the realization, not only in terms of stock market indices but also as an economic reality, that it is inextricably tied to the Euro crisis, the emergence of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and the struggles in Africa.

Collaboration & Knowledge

The original Renaissance in Europe resulted in the disappearance of principalities and kingdoms, and ushered in the emergence of a nation state, which was followed during the industrial age with the emergence of overlapping market states. The question is how will the world evolve and will market states be the future societal organization? There are a number of theories about the organization of society going forward (Philip Bobbitt, David Ronfeldt, are two such theorists and this article compares their position with those of others). Regardless of which theory prevails, it is highly likely that in the world of Digital Renaissance 2.0 networking, collaboration and knowledge will be critical components of its underlying architecture. It also seems probable that global communities, digitally connected and potentially proactive, will coexist alongside and within hierarchical organizations, both in government and also in industry.

Ren 2.0 Man – Techno Artisan Craft Society

Digital Renaissance 2.0 was founded upon four enabling technologies and was exponentially accelerated by the catalyst technologies that released the restless potential of other technologies, such as cloud computing and Web 2.0. Ren 2.0 is now embracing a raft of emerging technologies, like NFC, voice recognition and kinetics, which are giving rise to business models not previously conceived. For instance 3-D printing is enabling designers / entrepreneurs to create new product concepts from digital files more rapidly and cost effectively than ever previously thought possible. Coupling this capability with global internet access and mobile commerce, Ren 2.0 now allows others to market this product concept globally.  Personalized products for the “market of one” are created by transmitting customized product specifications to printers anywhere on the planet and in close proximity to the consumer. To a large degree these hybrid technology and commerce systems facilitate the reincarnation of the craft society that got lost in the industrial age. These techno artisan craftsmen are in many respects the Digital Renaissance 2.0 men/women of the new digital era who are living, working and trading in global communities of trust, practice and purpose.

In prior blogs we have discussed the concept of “digital agents of change” and shown how critical this role has become in today’s digital business world. In some respects we all now need to become digital agents of change for the global society, or to use the words of Mohanda Gandhi “we must be the change we wish to see in the world”.

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global

Digital Life – Rubber Band Forces that Prohibit Change

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Why change at all? Why embrace what is new and intimidating instead of holding on to what is tried and true? The natural inclination of most people is to resist change, and when it begins to happen we tend to snap back to the shape of the things we know best, just as a rubber band that is stretched will revert to its original shape when released.

Digital Life is very new and can be scary. It is also here, now – right now – and is impacting the world in ways that can seem confusing, often even contradictory to what we have learned, accomplished, and know. Why would we want embrace it? 

Maybe your company actually can embrace the changes brought about by Digital Life. I mean really embrace change in ways that transform your business into a digital metamorphosis that propels it into this century; effectively reshape the rubber band by altering your business model to capitalize on the wide range of opportunities presented by Digital Life. However, I doubt it, unless you have some seriously sound “digital change agents” within your company to help you achieve this transformation, and unless you’re truly wanting to change.

Change is disruptive, which is what makes it so scary. Go back to your roots for a second. Think about those things that seemed exciting to you when you were willing to explore new ways of doing things, and those things that made you what you are today. What was new, intriguing – and yes scary – back then now seems safe. Your business faces the same challenges with embracing Digital Life that you faced growing up into the person you are today.

Digital Life demands that we embrace change and growth on a scale never experienced before. The advances and convergence of technologies are changing almost every aspect of how we do things. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and notebooks provide us with unparalleled access to the collective knowledge of the world. Social media tools and social networking sites enable an amazing new capability for us to share our own knowledge, interests, likes and dislikes with our friends, family and colleagues.

For your business to embrace the changes brought about by Digital Life, you need to accept – and convince others – that the shape of your corporate rubber band must change to match these changes. If you don’t, then no matter how hard you push for change and stretch the familiar boundaries, your employees will revert back to what they see as safe – in other words, the rubber band will snap back to its original shape.

At KeySo Global we have developed methodologies, models, and tools that can help you to change the shape of your business model so that it can adapt to Digital Life. These inform and guide you through a transformation that will propel your business into the Digital World, and ensure a competitiveness and profitability that will match your aspirations.  Please email us at, call us at +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website to find out more.

Steve Benton, Principal, KeySo Global, LLC

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

Position Vacant: Digital Agent of Change

Friday, July 15th, 2011

I had the opportunity to present to a group of executives in transition last week on the subject: “Digital Agent of Change”. Our proposition is that this is a key new position that is emerging as a result of today’s fast moving digital world, and one that still remains vacant in the majority of corporations. The rapid convergence of multiple digital technologies that’s taking place is giving rise to a powerful all-encompassing tsunami of change – the impact of which most companies still remain blissfully unaware.

The pace of change in mobile technology, for instance, has accelerated at an unprecedented rate. By the end of this year nearly 6 billion people will be “connected” worldwide. It took 20 years for the first billion people to get a cell phone and only 15 months for the last billion!

More fundamentally, wireless connection is being used not only for voice communication but also for high speed broadband data. In a recent report Chetan Sharma, an acclaimed mobile strategy consultant, concluded that more changes will occur over the next 10 years than occurred in the last 100, and that value chains will be disrupted every 12 -24 months. This is yet further validation of our firm belief at KeySo Global that converged technologies will inevitably cause major disruption to business models – and most companies are, as yet, unaware of the magnitude of this.

New converged technologies mean that boundaries that previously existed between employers, employees and consumer communities are starting to blur and overlap. Once employees walk in through the revolving doors of a corporation, it’s no longer realistic to believe that they disengage from the outside world. Smartphones are an intrinsic part of digital life – and people will connect! We’re now seeing distrustful companies requiring that their employees contractually disclose their Twitter and Facebook identities, and pledge to not say anything negative about the company in social media forums. Maybe they wouldn’t if management didn’t give them reason to!

One member of our audience last week commented on this ambiguity of trust between companies and employees. Over the last 20 years, corporations have increasingly been treating their employees as disposable assets to achieve quarterly results – so why would they show loyalty to or trust in the management of their company? The emergence of social networking and social media also means that employees can now express their grievances more openly – and to a far broader audience. Many corporations have not yet recognized that in today’s digital world dismissed or badly treated employees will become tomorrow’s “brand terrorists”.

The challenge of recognizing and repairing this trust relationship within an organization can only be achieved when all sectors are prepared to collaborate, and open dialogue is initiated between management and employees. When trust is found lacking within a company, it cannot be expected from its customers on the outside.

It’s here that the Digital Agent of Change plays a key role – and it’s not a position for one individual alone. It’s built on the premise that the capabilities of each and every person in an organization need to be ignited; they need to be aware of and receptive to the changes that digital technologies bring so that these can be harnessed to organically restructure the business from the inside out.

To understand more about the role of a Digital Agent of Change, about how you yourself can prepare to step into this role and how your company can embrace this new position, contact us at, +1-847-478-1633 or visit our website

Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global LLC