Digital Leaders Blog

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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