Dr Jim Hamill's Posts (115)

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 digital ambition/strategy ambitious enough? What can we learn from other small countries?
  • How can we keep pace with digital disruption in the economy?
  • Is the focus too narrow, does a digital agenda need to be driven out across the policy spectrum?
  • What should digital transformation in the public sector look like?
  • Are national targets required and what metrics can be used to measure progress?
  • Is it deliverable? What are the barriers and how can they be overcome?
  • What cultural shift or behavioural change is needed to bring about the scale of reform needed?
  • How do we instil trust with the public at large on how the public sector manages cyber resilience and the use of personal data?
  • Is the pace of change fast enough? How do we ensure no one is left behind?

An edited transcript of the Round Table will appear in the March/April issue of Insider.

Thanks and take care.

ps - my own thoughts on the questions listed above have been expressed in a number of previous blog posts - please see https://www.linkedin.com/in/drjimhamill/detail/recent-activity/posts/

Jim H


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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 organisation together around unified digital initiatives.

The traits of a digital change agent, as explained by Brian, are highly relevant to Future Digital Leaders.

  • Change agents are early adopters of digital, wishing to help their companies modernise.
  • They may start as digital advocates developing over time into experienced business transformers.
  • They have the courage to step outside the ‘norm’, helping others to modernise and innovation.
  • The work done by digital change agents may lead to uncoordinated, disjointed efforts across the organisation, but this will establish a solid foundation for more formal initiatives to gain momentum.
  • Change agents act as catalysts helping to push forward the transformation agenda. However, while some may be born leaders, many are reluctant agents of change, lacking the management expertise to handle obstacles to progress, especially the political and cultural aspects of organisational life.

The article identifies four main types of digital change agent as summarised in Figure 1 below:

Figure 1: Digital Change Agents

Source: Solis, 2018

The full article can be accessed here - Change Agents: The unsung heroes of digital transformation

Highly recommended reading for Future Digital Leaders.

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

Jim H

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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

Analytics as a Source of Business Innovation

The Smart Way to Respond to Negative Emotions at Work

Achieving Digital Maturity

The Most Underrated Skill in Management

How Big Data Is Empowering AI and Machine Learning at Scale

The End of Corporate Culture as We Know It

Why Design Thinking in Business Needs a Rethink

Turning Strategy Into Results

Your Company Doesn’t Need a Digital Strategy

Corporate Sustainability at a Crossroads

What to Expect From Artificial Intelligence

‘Digital Transformation’ Is a Misnomer

The Five Steps All Leaders Must Take in the Age of Uncertainty

Harnessing the Secret Structure of Innovation

Five Myths About Digital Transformation

12 Essential Innovation Insights

How to Monetize Your Data

How to Thrive — and Survive — in a World of AI Disruption

More details can be found here.

Take care.

Jim H

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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 digital is not just being a geek or Internet surfer or mathematically savvy child, it's actually a way of living and is going to impact absolutely everything."

Even in those early days, it was time to #adaptordie (Brian Solis). How many brands, indeed individuals, have become digital dinosaurs since then?

While the seed of change had been planted, it was the second book, The Digital Economy by Don Tapscott, which accelerated the personal transformation. The author presenting a thought provoking analysis of how new technology and business strategies were transforming industry, markets, the dynamics of competition and rules for business success.

Two decades later, almost every prediction made by the author in the mid-1990's has come true.

When Don Tapscott speaks, it is time to listen. His early thoughts have been further developed in a series of other books published over the last two decades, the most recent of which is entitled Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World.

The ideas expressed in the book have been summarised in the manifesto of the Blockchain Research Institute set up by the author and summarised below:

  1. The Blockchain represents the second era of the Internet; a true paradigm shift ushered in by decentralised ledger technologies.
  2. Like the Internet of information before it, blockchain will upend business models, disrupt industries for the good and threaten the position of incumbents.
  3. Blockchain technology holds vast promise to solve many of the planet’s problems, including climate change. It has the potential to address the unintended consequences of the first Internet era - the erosion of privacy, security, economic inclusion, intellectual property rights etc
  4. Central banks should convert their fiat currencies into digital ones. Governments should embrace blockchain technology to improve operations, increase transparency and accountability.
  5. All functions of management will change as the technology reconfigures firm architecture and competitiveness.
  6. Blockchain standards will be required to speed progress.
  7. The rush to innovation will produce countless failures and fraud but the fundamentals of this new paradigm are sound. Cynics dismiss it at their peril
  8. There are many implementation challenges to be overcome; the technology remains relatively immature and arcane.
  9. Stewardship of this resource is critical.
  10. The new paradigm calls for a new generation of leaders. Vested interests will fight change, leaders of the old will have difficulty embracing the new.

You can access the full Manifesto here.

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

Jim H

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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.

Source: The 8 Types of Company Culture

Take care.

Jim H

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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 ‘end of business as usual’.

With organisations needing to #adaptordie, successful digital transformation has become, first and foremost, about people rather than technology.

The HR profession is uniquely positioned to perform a key role as a leader of change, creating digital ecosystems built around people, processes and technology. To achieve this, HR needs to move from the periphery to become a provocateur of change.

The key issues and challenges facing HR in an era of turbulent digital change include the following:

  • Understanding the digital landscape - the technologies disrupting HR.
  • The impact of disruption on employment, labour markets and skills. Are the robots coming to take our jobs? Are we facing a digital skills crisis? Growth of the ‘gig’ economy and the changing nature of work.
  • The role of HR as a change provocateur - HR’s role in leading digital change, the state-of-play; from ‘payroll and holidays” to a catalyst for change; the third force in digital transformation, marketing, technology and HR; the role of HR in digital strategy development, implementation and performance measurement.
  • Overcoming resistance to change - people, organisation and culture; legacy thinking not just legacy technology; building a culture of innovation and ‘next generation’ organisations; tools and software to support employee engagement and collaboration; creating a digital first mindset.
  • Managing digital natives and Gen Z.
  • Developing digital talent, corporate learning, education and skills development.
  • Amazonisation - use of emerging digital technologies to reinvent HR, transforming processes and systems to deliver Amazon levels of self-service and employee experiences.
  • The growing importance of workplace analytics, tracking trends, delivering actionable insight and informed decision-making from data.
  • Digital Leaders urgently required!
  • To-wards the future - coping with HR Darwinism, a phenomenon when technology and society evolve faster than our ability to adapt.

These issues, and more, will be discussed at our March workshop 'The Changing Role of HR in an Era of Digital Disruption'. The workshop is being held in Reykjavik.

We would be happy to run a similar session locally if there is sufficient interest.

Just drop me a note on Linkedin or leave a comment below if you would like to discuss. 

Take care.

Jim H 

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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, big data analytics, blockchain, digital twin, machine learning and mobile computing.

Companies in the industrial-equipment sector, for instance, could realise additional cost savings of more than $43,000 per employee if they combined robotics, AI, blockchain, big data and 3D-printing technologies. Energy companies could gain more than $16 billion in market capitalisation if they combined technologies such as virtual reality, big data and AI.

To realise these benefits, digital transformation is no longer enough. Companies must completely reinvent their operating models, production and value chains to create more value with digital.

Accenture uses the term Industry X.0 to describe the type of reinvention required, with businesses using advanced digital technologies to transform core operations, worker and customer experiences and underlying business models.

Emerging technologies are used to achieve new levels of efficiency in core R&D, engineering, production, manufacturing and support activities through integrated systems, processes, sensors and data driven intelligence.

Worker and customer experiences are reimagined and redesigned through advances such as immersive, augmented and virtual reality.

New business models and revenue streams are unlocked by smart, connected products, services and plants enabled by new ecosystems.

You can read more here - Companies That Harness Digital Technologies to Boost Efficiency and Grow Their Business Could Raise Their Market Capitalisation by $6 Billion on Average, Accenture Finds.

Please see here for previous Future Digital Leaders blog posts on the link between digital transformation and business performance.

Please click on image to enlarge.

Take care.

Jim H

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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 around Blockchain focuses on the potential to fundamentally change the financial services industry, the technology could have a much wider and more profound effect, transforming business, government and society. By taking networked business models to a new level, Blockchain technology could support a whole host of breakthrough applications revolutionising a broad range of industries and services.

 An interesting article, by Information Week contributor Cynthia Harvey, presents a useful summary of 11 possible Blockchain use cases covering:

  • Tracking food and other goods
  • Secure software development
  • Digital content management
  • Healthcare records
  • Mortgage approvals
  • Insurance claim processing
  • Audit trails
  • Voting
  • Smart contracts
  • Cryptocurrrency

You can access the full article here – How to Use Blockchain: 10 Use Cases

Take care.

Jim H

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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 digital literacy, together with a short-term focus on costs rather than the long-term investment required to remain competitive.

Risk-averse company cultures, lack of urgency, politics, egos and fear have also emerged as major barriers to successful digital transformation.

Please see The 2017 State of Digital Transformation Report for a more detailed summary of key findings, with the full report being available as a pdf download.

Take care.

Jim H

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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 traditional mobile app developments; 40 percent of IT staff will be versatilists, holding multiple roles, most of which will be business, rather than technology-related.

By 2022, most people in mature economies will consume more false information than true information.

Read more here.

Take care.

Jim H

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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 employees are concerned that their skills are already, or will become, redundant. Twenty-nine percent believed that their skill set is redundant now or will be in the next one to two years; with more than a third (38 percent) considering their skill set will be redundant in the next four to five years.

From an industry perspective, 48 percent of employees in the automotive sector think that their skill set will be redundant in the next four to five years, followed by the banking sector (44 percent), utilities (42 percent), telecom and insurance (both 39 percent).

The majority of employees have little faith in their organisation's own training programmes, with most being described as not helpful, effective or given the time to attend.

The talent gap in soft digital skills is more pronounced than in hard digital skills. While people with experience in hard digital skills such as advanced analytics, automation, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity are in high demand, so too are soft digital skills including customer-centricity and passion for learning which are seen as an increasingly important characteristic of a well-rounded digital professional.

The top 10 digital roles set to gain the most prominence in the next two to three years are:

  • Information Security/Privacy Consultant
  • Chief Digital Officer/Chief Digital Information Officer
  • Data Architect
  • Digital Project Manager
  • Data Engineer
  • Chief Customer Officer
  • Personal Web Manager
  • Chief Internet of Things Officer
  • Data Scientist
  • Chief Analytics Officer/Chief Data Officer

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here - The Digital Talent Gap—Are Companies Doing Enough?

A summary of the report's main findings is available as an Infographic - please click the image below to enlarge:

Take care.

Jim H

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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?"

Details of Tim's new book can be found here - What's The Future And Why It's Up To Us.

Jim H

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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."

Read more here.

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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 follow a planned, strategic approach to ‘getting there’; a strategic approach fully aligned with and supportive of agreed business goals and objectives. An approach recognising that successful transformation is first and foremost about people - customers, employees, partners and other stakeholders. Technology is a key enabler of change, but on its own it is not enough.

‘Stop and Reflect’ Questions for Digital Leaders

November will be a busy month for us delivering Executive Programmes in Digital Leadership in Iceland, Italy, Malta and Edinburgh.

In preparing for these sessions, we have updated our ‘Transformation Toolkit’ to take account of the rapid pace of digital change taking place.

Session participants will work through a number of ‘Stop and Reflect Exercises’ covering the key steps involved in developing, implementing and proactively managing a digital transformation strategy for their own organisation.

In total, there are 25 top level questions to be addressed across five main topic categories:

Digital Landscape Analysis

Hyper awareness of the digital landscape, the disruptive technologies and associated societal changes reshaping your industry, is a key trait of a successful digital leader.

  • What are the key technologies and societal changes threatening to disrupt your industry?
  • How big will the impact be (‘the size of the bang’) and over what time-period will your industry be disrupted (‘the length of the fuse)?
  • How will digital disruption impact on your own organisation – opportunities and threats?
  • What progress has been made in responding - how big is the ‘gap’ between your organisation’s current level of digital maturity and where you should be?
  • How are similar organisations responding, who is ‘leading digital’ in your industry, who is the exemplar of best practice?

‘External’ Digital

In an era of constantly connected, empowered customers, adopting an ‘outside in’ customer-led approach is critical to successful transformation. Unfortunately, too many organisations have focused on digitising rather than transforming existing processes, thereby failing to meet the rising expectations of Gen C (the constantly connected generation).

  • Have you mapped the customer journey with your organisation?
  • How well are you currently using technology to deliver exceptional customer experiences at ‘Key Moments of Truth’ in the customer relationship; what scope for improvement exists?
  • Benchmarked against accepted best practice, what progress has your organisation made in social media marketing, real time customer engagement and social customer service; what scope for improvement exists?
  • Has your organisation implemented best practice Content Marketing?
  • What progress has been made in delivering actionable insight from social media listening, customer data and predictive analytics (is your organisation GDPR compliant)?

‘Internal’ Digital

Current and emerging digital technologies provide exciting opportunities for organisations to rethink the way they operated, the way they work, breaking free from the limits imposed by outdated legacy systems. Embedding technology at the core of everything your organisation does can streamline internal systems and processes, improve efficiency, reduce costs, becoming a more agile, fast-moving data driven business, ‘fit-for-purpose’ in a digital age.

  • Have you mapped the main productivity busters, bottlenecks and frustrations in your organisation?
  • What scope exists for leveraging current and emerging technologies for overcoming these bottlenecks, building Digital Operating Advantage (improved systems, processes, efficiency, costs, speed of response, data etc)?
  • How well is your organisation utilising enterprise social tools for reducing the burden of excessive e-mail, supporting collaboration and knowledge sharing, internally and externally with business partners?
  • What progress has been made in deriving actionable insight from the wealth of data held by your organisation; do staff have access to modern, visual-based, self-service Business Intelligence software, or are your BI needs still centrally controlled by IT?
  • Does your organisation suffer from a legacy IT problem, a legacy management problem or both?

Strategy and Performance Measurement

There will be ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in the digital age. ‘Winners’ will be those organisations who leverage the full potential of digital technology for driving competitive advantage in at least five key areas: engaging and connecting with customers; building digital operating advantage; deriving actionable insight from data; supporting collaboration and knowledge sharing; business transformation.

  • Does your organisation have an agreed vision and strategy for the digital era; what is it?
  • What are the main objectives, KPIs and targets to be achieved from your digital strategy?
  • Which priority customer segments (including internal customers) are critical to delivering your overall business and digital strategy objectives?
  • What are the key digital actions and initiatives your organisation needs to implement to achieve agreed goals and objectives; how will these be prioritised and matched with resource availability?
  • How will digital performance and organisational impact be measured?

Implementation and Digital Leadership

As we move from the WHY to the HOW of digital transformation, greater attention is now being paid to implementation issues, especially the main barriers and obstacles standing in the way of effective change; how these can be overcome. There is growing acceptance that the main change barriers are organisational, people and cultural related rather than technological; legacy management thinking rather than legacy technology.

  • What are the main obstacles and barriers to successful transformation in your own organisation?
  • What plans are in place to overcome these?
  • Who is ‘leading digital’; do you have a strong transformation leader at the top of the organisation?
  • How will you organise for change?
  • Is your approach to portfolio, programme and project management ‘fit-for-purpose’ in an era of turbulent change?

I look forward to meeting everyone at our forthcoming sessions.

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome. I am sure that others may wish to add to this list of questions.

Jim H

Ps – we still have a couple of places available on our Edinburgh Digital Leaders Masterclass. Details here if you would like to attend. Just let me know if you have any queries. Take care. Jim H

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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.

Read more here.

Jim H

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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, well-scoped focus can allow more dynamic, flexible and potentially autonomous systems.

Digital: Blending the virtual and real worlds to create an immersive digitally enhanced and connected environment.

Mesh: The connections between an expanding set of people, business, devices, content and services to deliver digital outcomes.

Read more here

Jim H

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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 way in narrowing the digital divide; and Glasgow is set to become tech’s ‘living lab’.

Hype or reality?

Digital Glasgow Roadmap 2014

As always, it is useful to take a step back before looking forward.

In January 2014, I was invited to deliver the keynote address at the launch of ‘Digital Glasgow’ – a high profile strategy to establish Glasgow as a world leading digital city by 2017. The launch coincided with the city being awarded £24m of funding from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to develop its Future City demonstrator project.

The Foreword to the Digital Glasgow Roadmap document read as follows:

“Glasgow is on a journey - it is an ambitious city with a proud history of embracing challenge, delivering change and capitalising on opportunities. Glasgow continues to demonstrate strong leadership in charting a way towards new growth, economic recovery, and providing opportunities for all its citizens.

The Digital Glasgow roadmap is about helping the city to achieve its key outcomes, economic growth, becoming a world class city, a sustainable city, a learning city, and a city which looks after its vulnerable people. It is about ensuring we have a world class digital infrastructure in place but also supporting the development of services in the city which maximise the benefits of these investments.

Effective use of digital services by citizens, businesses and the 3rd sector has the potential to transform the way the city works: boost productivity, drive economic growth, provide jobs, connect individuals and revitalise the way services are delivered. We must build a shift in mind set, putting citizens at the heart of how we design and deliver public services.

Glasgow will be a world leading digital city by 2017 securing and growing the competitive advantage of the city and providing opportunities for residents and businesses to embrace the benefits of the digital age.”

As we move towards the end of 2017, it is a legitimate question to ask whether this ‘will be’ objective has been achieved, and if not, why not?

KPIs are for measurement not spin

Fortunately, the document listed a series of goals, objectives and clearly defined KPIs under six main workstreams - Broadband Infrastructure; Urban Wireless; Digital Participation; Digital Public Services; Training, Skills and Employment; Digital Business (SMEs/eCommerce).

In the interests of transparency, I have listed below the stated objectives and agreed KPIs under each major workstream.

All we need now is someone from the Digital Glasgow Board and/or stakeholder groups to produce evidence showing whether these lofty ambitions have been taken forward as promised, “making a real difference to the city.”

Hype or reality?

Broadband Infrastructure

“Glasgow’s broadband infrastructure is an enabler for growth across all economic sectors and increasingly relevant to inward investment decisions. The aim is to ensure the city has a globally competitive and modern communications infrastructure by 2017”

To monitor progress we will compare the following measures on an annual basis as part of programme monitoring of this roadmap:

  • % of premises with access to superfast broadband.
  • % of premises receiving a service < 2Mbit/s.
  • Average downlink speed of a broadband connection.
  • Comparison to UK Capital and Core Cities.

Urban Wireless

“Glasgow will have world class wireless capabilities and a free wifi service across the city supporting digital participation, providing a platform for new approaches to delivering services, helping promote the city and attract investment.”

To monitor progress we will compare the following measures on an annual basis as part of programme monitoring of this roadmap:

  • % of city with coverage from a free ’wifi’ service.
  • % of properties within 500m of a free ‘wifi’ service.
  • Service usage measures - unique visitors/ sessions.
  • % availability of service.

Digital Participation

“All citizens of Glasgow will be confident to choose how, when and where they can go online and be supported as they need it. They will be able to safely communicate, browse and transact online. They will be able to participate as citizens online and influence decisions in their communities as part of a world class digital city.”

To monitor progress we will compare the following measures on an annual basis as part of programme monitoring of this roadmap:

  • % of residents accessing the internet, both at home and on the move.
  • % of residents transacting online.
  • % of residents accessing public services.
  • Increase in no’s registered for formal learning courses.
  • Track the no. of Glasgow partners who sign up to the Digital Participation Charter.
  • Track the no. of digital access points.

Digital Public Services

“Glasgow citizens will be able to access more services through digital channels. We aim to provide a wider range of improved online services, giving our customers more choice in how they engage, interact, source information and transact with us.”

To monitor progress we will compare the following measures on an annual basis as part of programme monitoring of this roadmap:

  • Number of available and improved online services.
  • Customer use of online.
  • % of citizens who engage with council through web/mobile channel.

Training, Skills and Employment

“Glasgow citizens will have the digital skills to not only consume services but to be the producers of new goods and services, harnessing the potential of digital technologies to drive growth, stimulate innovation and improve productivity.”

To monitor progress we will compare the following measures on an annual basis as part of programme monitoring of this roadmap:

  • % increase in number of IT graduates.
  • Greater online presence of SMEs.
  • % increase in the number of digital commonwealth apprenticeship places.
  • % increase in under represented groups in IT particularly women.

Digital Business (SMEs/eCommerce)

“Glasgow businesses will be able to compete with the best nationally and internationally through the use of digital tools, technologies and ecommerce. They will have access to integrated business support and advice which helps them each step of the way in developing their effective use of digital technologies to increase their competitiveness. Glasgow will also have a thriving digital sector.”

To monitor progress we will compare the following measures on an annual basis as part of programme monitoring of this roadmap:

  • Increase the number of SMEs trading online to 60%.
  • Increase the GVA in Glasgow from ecommerce by 15%.
  • Increase new jobs by participation in ecommerce by 2,800.
  • Increase the number of digitally sophisticated Glasgow companies by 20%.
  • Grow Glasgow’s Digital sector.
  • Increase in the number of digital SMEs procuring with Glasgow City Council.

By 2017, has Glasgow become a world leading digital city?

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

Ps while preparing this article I received an e-mail invite from Glasgow City Council to attend the 20th State of the City Economy Conference taking place on 24th November. More hubris or a reality check?

Jim H

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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 spending and old-world policies often meant that technology was perceived as a good-to-have capability to be considered after addressing more pressing problems of the education industry, rather than as strategic a tool to overcome many of the deficiencies or provide a competitive advantage. This perception is changing with even emerging economies leapfrogging into the digital age through massive deployment of low-cost laptops and tablets, and expansion of broadband technologies. The availability of cloud-based platforms for disseminating content and delivering pedagogy at scale - as evidenced, for example, in the rise of the MOOCs - means that we can expect significant progress to be made in the coming years in lowering costs and increasing access to quality education."

Read more here.

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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 that technology disruption is more of an opportunity than a threat.

You can read the full article here.

Take care.

Jim H

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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 all aspects of public sector technology, as well as where the government is getting it right – and where it can improve.

Read the full article here

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