Digital Leaders Blog

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Digital Nation Round Table

I have been invited to participate in a Scottish Business Insider/BT Digital Nation Round Table this coming Friday, being held at the University of Strathclyde's new Technology Innovation Centre (TIC). 

A number of challenging questions have been presented to provide focus to the discussion.

Friends and colleagues will know that I have strong views on most of the issues listed below which I will be expressing on the day.

I would be interested in your own thoughts and comments which I will be happy to communicate to the group.

If you would like to comment, please do so on Linkedin at Digital Nation Round Table.

  • Is Scotland's…
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Another excellent article from Brian Solis and one very relevant to our ‘Leading Digital Change’ 2018 Masterclass series.

The core theme of the article can be summarised as follows:

  • Digital transformation is more than just digital. It is about modernising and future-proofing your organisation. First and foremost, successful digital transformation is about people and culture, not technology.
  • Many organisations continue to struggle with implementing successful change programmes. Digital change agents have a critical role to play in accelerating progress - the unsung heroes of every successful digital transformation.
  • The challenge is whether executives can find and empower them to bring the…
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MIT have recently published their Top 20 Sloan Management Review articles of 2017.

Not surprisingly, articles on digital strategy, transformation, AI and data analytics dominate the most popular reads. 

The Top 20 are listed below (click link to access each article): 

The Jobs That Artificial Intelligence Will Create

Reshaping Business With Artificial Intelligence…

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It’s not very often that a single book changes your life. In my case, it was two books, both published twenty years ago.

Until the mid-1990's, I was following a typical University career path – teaching International Business/International Marketing, researching and publishing in academic journals.

The seed of change was planted in 1996 when i read Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte, MIT Media Lab.

The digital age is coming and it cannot be denied or stopped. We are discussing a fundamental cultural change. Computing is not about computers, it's about life; being…

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The 8 Types of Company Culture


Our previous blog post argued that people, organisation and culture NOT technology have become the main barriers to successful digital transformation. Many digital change initiatives faiI because of an over-emphasis on technology at the expense of people.

In the interesting video below, researchers from Harvard Business School present eight types of organisational culture with implications for digital change. management. Please click on the image to view the video.…

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People, organisation and culture NOT technology have become the main barriers to successful digital transformation. Many digital change initiatives will fail because of an over-emphasis on technology at the expense of people. The HR profession needs to play a more proactive role in driving the digital transformation agenda.

It is now widely accepted that a convergence of disruptive technologies (mobile connectivity, social media, enterprise social, the cloud, big data, Internet of Things, artificial intelligent, automation and the blockchain), combined with the rapid emergence of a new generation of constantly connected customers and constantly connected employees (Gen C), is leading to the…

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Further evidence of the strong positive correlation that exists between digital maturity and companies' financial performance has been provided in a recent study by Accenture.

Through the more efficient use of new technology, the 900 large companies surveyed could increase their market capitalisation by an average US$6 billion. 

A lack of digital skills, however, is holding back their ability to realise these benefits.

With only 13 percent of executives claiming tangible business benefits being derived from their investments in digital technologies, major scope for improvement exists in leveraging the full potential of emerging technologies such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), autonomous robots, autonomous vehicles,…

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10 Use Cases of the Blockchain

"In the mid-1990s, smart managers worked hard to understand the Internet and how it would affect their businesses. Today, blockchain technology is ushering in the second generation of the Internet, and if companies don’t want to get left behind, they’ll need to dodge the innovator’s dilemma and disrupt from within." (Don Tapscott).

In a blog post back in May 2016, Understanding the Blockchain, we argued that the distributed ledger technology could revolutionise the world economy, giving rise to a new era of the Internet even more disruptive and transformative than the current one.

While much of the current hype…

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The third annual State of Digital Transformation Report (2017), by Brian Solis, provides an interesting overview of the extent to which organisations are investing in digital strategies, initiatives and operational models.

While a growing number of businesses are currently investing in innovation strategies to uncover new growth opportunities, most companies are not responding fast enough to keep pace with the pervasive changes taking place in consumer buying behaviour.

In many of the companies surveyed, there is a lack of digital leadership and purpose with most struggling with the technological and human challenges of Digital Transformation (DT).

The pace of innovation, in response to the rising expectations of constantly connected customers, is being held back by poor…

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At a recent Symposium, Gartner analysts revealed their top IT predictions for the next few years.

By 2020, five of the top seven digital giants will willfully “self-disrupt” to create their next leadership opportunity; the banking industry will derive $1 billion in business value from the use of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies; AI-driven creation of “counterfeit reality,” or fake content, will outpace AI’s ability to detect it, fomenting digital distrust; IoT technology will be in 95 percent of electronics for new product design.

By 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual- and voice-search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30 percent; more than 50 percent of enterprises will be spending more per annum on bots and chatbot creations than…

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A recent report by Capgemini, in association with LinkedIn, concluded that the digital skills gap is widening across a broad range of industries and countries, with over half of employees (and 60 per cent of digitally talented employees) investing their own time and money, outside office hours, to stay relevant.

Fifty-four per cent of the organisations surveyed were facing a growing digital talent gap, leading to a loss of competitiveness through hampering their digital transformation programmes.

Despite this, budgets for training digital talent remained flat or decreased in more than half (52 percent) of the organisations surveyed.

It would appear, therefore, that despite growing awareness of the digital skills crisis very little is being done to solve it.

Many…

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A short, but powerful, video presentation from Tim O'Reilly on the emerging platform and cognitive augmented economy.

"Don't just replicate the old with digital technology.

Search out the new possibilities of the future, seek out the new.

Cognitive augmentation is a key part of the future of our economy and we have to get good at it.

Throw away the narrative of using technology to automate people, getting rid of them. Instead, focus on how we can use technology to augment them.

How can your business become an augmented platform?"…

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Interesting from the Harvard Business Review.

"Across industries and across countries, a small number of superstar firms are pulling away from the competition. They’re more productive, more profitable, more innovative, and they pay better.

But why are these companies doing so well? Are they out-competing their rivals, or are they using their size and influence to avoid competition altogether?

One answer to that first question shows up in study after study: superstar firms are succeeding in large part due to information technology."

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Key Questions for Digital Leaders

“CEOs and their teams are now much more aware of the impact of digital technology on their businesses. However, most struggle in successfully implementing digital transformation. The challenge for many large firms is not so much where to put the investment (The What) but more on how they adapt their organisations to gain competitive positions (The How).”

Source: Didier Bonnet (2017)

As we move from the WHY to the HOW of transformation for the digital era, it is critical for organisations to…

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"It’s a strange world we live in when large companies such as Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are able to store huge quantities of our personal data and profit from it in a way that doesn’t always benefit us.

And when those same companies lose our personal data and make us susceptible to identity theft, there’s virtually nothing we can do about it.

Equifax lost the data of more than 140 million people, and recompense is not forthcoming. Meanwhile, the CEO may be stepping down with a pension worth $18 million. Clearly, the system is broken, and it’s time to stop and ask ourselves why we continue to rely on a system that doesn’t stand up to the challenges we face in a digital society.

Could the Blockchain help us to reclaim control of our personal data? via Harvard Business Review.

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An interesting Infographic and video from Gartner covering the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018.

Artificial intelligence, immersive experiences, digital twins, event-thinking and continuous adaptive security create a foundation for the next generation of digital business models and ecosystems.

The Intelligent Digital Mesh

"The entwining of people, devices, content and services. The Intelligent Digital Mesh is enabling digital models, business platforms and a rich, intelligent set of services to support digital business."

Intelligent: How AI is seeping into virtually every technology and with a defined,…

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Digital Scotland: Hype or Reality

Sometimes it can be useful to talk things up. A feel-good factor can help to motivate, persuading others to follow a similar path to reach an agreed goal.

Talking things up too much, however, can lead to hubris - an exaggerated feeling of self-importance, a position of dangerous overconfidence totally divorced from reality.

In terms of Digital Scotland, it really is time to distinguish between hype and reality.

Over the last week or so, we have been exposed to a series of headlines which would appear to indicate that we do indeed live in a world class digital nation. Apparently, the North East is pushing to become a global digital leader; we are on the verge of building an IoT nation for all; our digital sector is ready to take on the world by going global; Scotland is leading the…

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An interesting article reviewing the key challenges affecting the education sector, discussing how technological advances, from digitisation to cognitive computing, can transform the learning journey.

The continuation of the one-size-fits all model for education, which efficiently produced large batches of factory workers in the industrial age, is leading to widespread disengagement with the education system - especially, when getting a degree or diploma is no longer a ticket to a secure employment and a stable life. 

On a more optimistic note, emerging digital technologies provide exciting opportunities for transforming education. This will require a fundamental change in education's traditional conservative approach to embracing technology.

"Dependence on government…

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UK companies are struggling to keep pace with technological advances but see technology disruption as an opportunity rather than a threat, according to KPMG’s CEO Outlook 2017.

As a part of the annual survey, 150 UK business leaders were asked how technology was affecting their business. Charting their views, one third (37 per cent) felt their organisations were struggling to keep pace with technological advances. They also see piloting emerging technologies, attracting strategic talent and building data collection capabilities as their top worries over the next three years.

However, even though 40 per cent of the CEO cohort expect technology innovation to cause major disruption in the coming three years, they remain optimistic about the opportunities it brings. Over two-thirds said…

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The key to the success – or otherwise – of the government’s digital transformation agenda lies in the gap between how strategy is conceived in Westminster, and how it is realised across Whitehall departments, local councils, and providers of front line public services.

Industry body techUK works with government entities – and the commercial partners who deliver their technology, many of whom are members of the trade association – across the length and breadth of the public sector, from Downing Street through to parish councils.

The organisation has four dedicated public sector programmes: central government; local government; health and social care; and defence. PublicTechnology caught up with techUK’s head of programme for public services, Owen Spottiswoode, to get his thoughts on…

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