22-24 MAY 2018


The digital revolution: problem or solution?

The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics began with an idyllic depiction of rural Britain. Five years later, that scene stills captures a desire felt by much of society today for a simpler time.

We’re constantly barraged by demands for our time and attention, and much of that comes from digital technology, giving big businesses direct access to our data and our phones. It should be no surprise then that people are resisting the digital revolution, revealed by Waterstones removing Kindle ebooks from its stores, vinyl generating more income for UK artists than YouTube, and the joy-inspiring comeback of the Nokia 3310.

Is digital really the problem?

You can’t talk about digital without coming across the idea of the customer experience. The heart behind digital is to use cutting-edge technology to meet people’s needs.

Digital breakthroughs should be allowing businesses to save people’s time and money, and add value…so why do people try to escape the digital world?

The trajectory in business is to use more digital technology, so it’s tempting to add that onto existing businesses…but that solution is focussed on delivering new technology, not necessarily on delivering a better customer experience.

Digital might be the solution

The problem digital should really be solving is the problem of trust in businesses. The latest Edelman Trust Barometer has trust down 13% since last year – trust in chief executives is at an all-time low.

Digital products have the ability to give customers transparency into businesses. Greater transparency should bring greater trust…and if it doesn’t, the organisation’s culture urgently needs dealing with.

It’s all about people

Digital allows businesses to ask what customers want and need more freely than they can in other contexts. Digital thinkers should be seeking to influence business culture to bring greater transparency, authenticity and customer-focussed thinking.

Digital technology is perhaps the most exciting thing in business at the moment. It’s disrupting, speeding business up, serving customers better and improving work-life balance. A good digital strategy will make the world a better place.

It’s worth doing well.