Resistance is futile, the digital shift is just getting started…

March 11, 2013  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Believe it or not some people still resist social media…

The next generation are growing in a connected world whether we like it or not

The next generation are growing in a connected world whether we like it or not

A protest in rural Tunisia is recorded on a smart phone, uploaded to YouTube, spread through Facebook and twenty-eight days later the government falls. Irrespective of demographic, culture or age, digital communications are now part of life so if you run a business in the digital world, you better pay attention.

The social shift that started through the Internet with the likes of Facebook, has now invaded the enterprise and the spoils of this new technology belong to the early adopters. The connectivity that this brings is unprecedented, and it’s through this connectivity that our world stands to change more rapidly in the next one hundred years than we have in the past one thousand.

People have always formed social connections.  Whether that’s been for survival, breeding or for pure human and social contact, connecting is part of our DNA.

These connections make us more effective communicators, alerting us to shared opportunities, dangers and laying a platform for greater achievement through collaboration. The exchange of ideas across these connections has been the foundation on which all of the worlds greatest achievements and inventions have been realized.

Building with stone, working with metal, casting engines and traveling to space, these are all results of the collaborative exchange of ideas and experiences.

Today, our world is more connected than at any other point in history. Although we are still learning about the full potential of this technology and its applications, illustrations of its power are becoming more and more common: e.g.

  • * By searching Google, a very smart 15year old recently created a test for cancer that was more accurate and 100 times cheaper than the incumbent technology.
  • * A group of scientists struggled without success for over a decade to map a key protein in fighting AIDs. By putting their work online in a gamified framework, it was solved within 2 weeks thanks to the contributions of 40,000 participants.

There are hundreds of similar examples. It is this power that is entering and shifting the business landscape.

The other emerging opportunity exists in the digital exhaust created and collected as people live more of their lives through technology, commonly known as “Big Data.” Making sense of disparate data sources and presenting findings in interactive, visual formats is the next gold rush.

An example of this is WeAreHunted.com; their website scans social, news and streaming sites to determine which songs and artists are the most popular at any point in time. The information is aggregated into a global list of the top 99 and the songs are then streamed to their audience. This is a business created from nothing… except a collection of disparate sources.

Content alone is no longer king. Aggregation is.

Every second, human behaviors are being captured, what we like, what we don’t like, what we react to, etc all of which are providing insights into opportunities yet unclaimed.

Clearly the catch is knowing what questions to ask and even Facebook with their massive data set and teams of behavioral economists are still learning and trying to figure it out. It may seem as though its going to take years to realize the value of what’s already been collected… but then again with the rapid rate of change, maybe not.

Ways of visualizing this data will definitely play a key role in the business world from now on.

Trying to understand the mechanisms that tie us together will only be relevant if it can be presented in ways that are easily understood and consumed. Creating data visualizations is a mind-bending experience, though interestingly some of the most relevant human-connectivity visualizations are being lifted from the area of genome research.

So with all of this change, opportunity and overwhelming complexity what does it all boil down to?

For us, it remains customer focus.

For the organisations that are customer centric, big data is about uncovering observable customer behaviors that are free from the cognitive bias inherent in surveys or interviews. The next step is to design solutions that place the customer in the middle and build a flow toward a given experience or outcome.

Understanding how and where people connect, along with their behavioral triggers, enables the opportunity to bring value to the exchange much earlier than was previously possible. A receptive awareness of this also opens up the lines for critical customer feedback to reassess and hone approaches in order to reach an outcome that meets everyone’s interest.

While this may sound like a lot to take in and it may feel as though it’s too late to start it’s wise to remember that if history is a guide, these seismic changes usually take a couple of generations to stabilize.

In the mean time the amount of raw opportunity in front of businesses now, has not been as apparent or as great since the Industrial revolution. Watching from the sideline,rather than boldly participating, only jeopardizes a businesses future relevance.

As we outlined at the start and as complex as it seems, its all about connectivity… so why don’t you join us?

Follow Scott on Twitter as @wardsco

Scott (31 Posts)

CEO Digital Infusions

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