Why Killing Dinosaurs Can Help You Become a Thought Leader

Marketing Assistant
Valtech DK
Elinor Valfridsson

May 02, 2017

Recently I attended ‘Internet in focus’, a two-day event focusing on web and digital marketing. The theme for this year's edition was new trends, and how today’s consumption patterns are changing the demands on our companies’ technology, usability and content. Much of it might not be news (seems like Darwin had it figured out 200 years ago), but at least it helped confirm why digitalization is crucial for companies to survive in today's society.

Digital evolution is happening

Until today, the evolution of technology has been linear, smooth and almost predictable - one invention laying the foundation for the next and so on. We’ve had plenty of time to mentally adjust to every change. The computer that once filled an entire house is now a 13” portable laptop, and brick size mobiles have turned into touch-screen smart phones. What many people and companies don’t realize, is that somewhere along the way, this comfortable, linear curve transformed. Every time we invent or discover something new, technology takes a giant leap forward and multiplies itself. Exponential progress is the new black. The concept of this is so new to us that we can’t fully understand it. Instead, we stick to our usual strategies, because it has worked pretty well until now and because it feels comfortable.

In reality, we are standing at the foot of a digital mountain and we don’t have the slightest idea of how to even begin conquering it. The problem is, that if you don’t start climbing today, you will be left behind and most likely forgotten about in a few years. Companies need to understand that in order to survive in this fast evolving world, it is absolutely crucial to start the digital transformation journey. The digital evolution is just starting and in only a few years we will see who was actually the fittest and managed to climb to the top of the mountain.

Your chance to become a thought leader

So how do we start this journey? It’s not an easy task to just let go of the comfort of the past and jump head first into something unknown and ungraspable. But there are two ways of approaching it: either you strive backwards and stick to a ‘robots-will-steal-our-jobs-mentality’, or you see the potential and possibilities that digitalization brings. You need to forget about the linear thinking and start challenging yourself and your old ideas. Let go of the negativity and invite the creative and innovative thinkers to the table with you. Set a clear vision of where you want to go on this journey and get everyone in the company on board. Take advantage of the huge adaptation gap that exists between companies and technology today, and make sure that you are the one who leads the way up this mountain.

It is time to kill your digital dinosaurs

Getting everyone on board the digital journey is crucial, but it’s also important to understand that there’s no way of getting there if you constantly have to fight a digital dinosaur at the top of your organization. Many companies are struggling with senior leaders that, still today, don’t understand the importance of digitalization. Unfortunately for them, digitalization isn’t really an option anymore – it’s a necessity. Everything that can be digitalized, will be digitalized. It’s just a matter of accepting this and doing what you can to adjust. Everyone in the organization needs to have the same vision and work towards the same goals if you want to survive as a company. And it’s also important to keep in mind that digital transformation needs to start from the top. So if you happen to know of a digital dinosaur in your company, there are basically just two ways to go about: educate them or get rid of them.

Data, data, data

One thing that every speaker on the event agreed on was that Artificial Intelligence is the future. According to Gartner, AI bots will power 85 % of all Costumer Service Interactions by the year 2020. That’s only 2.5 years from now. AI isn’t something that belongs to the future anymore. That future is now.

Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, and 90 % of that data was created in the last two years alone. All this data gives us invaluable information about our customers and their behaviours – if we only know how to use it. According to Arash Gilan, author of “Get digital or die trying”, companies only use 2% of their available data. In other words: 98 % of their work is based on guessing. What’s more, many companies don’t even have a data analyst to help make sense of these 2 %. They sit on this huge treasure chest of information that they could use to create amazing and innovative concepts and products for their costumers - they just don’t know how to start.

Many still argue that computers can’t replace years of experience from a human individual. Are we not smarter than that? That might have been the case a few years ago, but not anymore. Instead of grasping for the last straw of something that feels comfortable and safe, we need to start realizing that change is necessary. We should take advantage of our technology in every way we can, so that we (humans) can focus on the things we do best: personalization.

As everything around us is getting digitalized, human characteristics like feelings, empathy and emotions will become even more important. Again: everything that can be digitalized will be digitalized, which means that everything that can’t be digitalized (like personal values, emotions etc.) will increase in value. And guess what, computers aren’t exactly famous for their empathic skills – yet.

We are only humans

In all this talk about digitalization it’s easy to forget that we are actually nothing more than herd animals with a highly developed brain. Our most basic, biological needs are still the same. We need the comfort of the herd to feel safe. We need to feel loved, seen and appreciated. Once we get that comfort from the herd, we can focus our attention on exploring and discovering. In other words, if we start focusing on creating experiences that actually pay attention to peoples most basic needs, we can create a synergy between human and technology.

Let computers do what they do best and instead try to make use of them in every way so that we can do what we do best. It’s simple really, we just have to let go of the negative thinking and put on our walking shoes.

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