Digital Hope and Redemption in the Digital Age

“You have a memory like an elephant,” is truly a compliment.  Researchers document all kinds of remarkable examples of the recall power of elephants, and this is credited with their ability to survive harsh environments as noted in this Scientific American article http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/elephants-never-forget/.

Our human memory also helps us learn from past experiences and mistakes, avoid recognizable hazards and keep track of our very busy lives.  Our memories for the most part have served us well, but the same might not always be said about digital memory in an always connected, real-time world. 

One of the most valuable concepts known to man is hope.  Hope is the belief that things can change and get better.  It is the belief that one can turn the page and start a new life.  It is the motivation that draws many to get out of bed each morning, recover from past mistakes, and go to work. 

Bankruptcy laws were designed, in part, to give hope. The Supreme Court in 1934 describes it this way, “It gives to the honest but unfortunate debtor…a new opportunity in life and a clear field for future effort, unhampered by the pressure and discouragement of preexisting debt.”  It gives debtors hope for a better future.  Source: http://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics/process-bankruptcy-basics 

Today our second brains, the digital memory banks in the cloud controlled by programmed algorithms, don’t forget.  Algorithms are programmed not to forget our histories, our bankruptcies, our youthful indiscretions, our convictions, DUIs, our vices, our former lives.  They make it difficult to forget and to transform into a better version of ourselves. 

The more our lives, through digital interactions, are driven by and influenced by digital algorithms and second brains, the more important it becomes to consider the issue of digital forgiveness, digital redemption and digital hope.  Hope that in the physical and digital world, you have the opportunity to start fresh, and change your life for the better, unencumbered by your plethora of mistakes, digitally remembered, biasing the future.  Few of us, with the exception of Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, are the same person we were in our youth. 

I can think of many scenarios where a person may want to change his/her life and leave the past behind, but algorithms and second brains won’t let them - unless somebody programs them to forget.  If they are not programmed to forget, our digital interactions with websites, businesses, governments, police, search engines and match-making sites will hang-on to our past and use it to judge our present and future.  Where is digital forgiveness in the digital era?  Where is the ability to hope for a different and better life free from our past if algorithms are programmed to always reference, remember and judge based on our past?

Just because something is technically possible, does not automatically make it good or worthy.  We as humans must define how we want digital technologies to support the world and society we desire.  The Supreme Court in 1934 thought it wise to forgive and forget, to give people the “right to be forgotten,” in order to let a person start fresh.  I believe it is time to let people be digitally redeemed in a similar manner.  

The “right to be forgotten” concept has now been made into law in the EU, and variations of it have been implemented in other regions around the world. It was motivated by the desire for people to "determine the development of their own life in an autonomous way, without being perpetually or periodically stigmatized as a consequence of a specific action performed in the past.”  Read more here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_be_forgotten.  

In Germany they have implemented a law titled the Federal Data Protection Act, or Bundesdatenschutzgesetz (BDSG).  The law is designed to protect individuals' personal rights from being injured through the handling or mishandling of their personal information.  

I believe the “right to be forgotten” is an important consideration and discussion today. In a digital world fueled by data, capitalism is not a sufficient safeguard for our personal privacy and future.  We must imagine the world as we want it, and make it so as a society.

Hope is a critically important concept to humanity, and it must not be allowed to be stamped out by unbridled digital algorithms and second brains.  We must all recognize, in a digital age – hope matters.

  1. Digital Transformation and the Role of Faster
  2. Digital Transformation and the Law of Thermodynamics
  3. Jettison the Heavy Baggage and Digitally Tranform
  4. Digital Transformation - The Dark Side
  5. Business is Not as Usual in Digital Transformation
  6. 15 Rules for Winning in Digital Transformation
  7. The End Goal of Digital Transformation
  8. Digital Transformation and the Ignorance Penalty
  9. Surviving the Three Ages of Digital Transformation
  10. From Digital to Hyper-Transformation
  11. Believers, Non-Believers and Digital Transformation
  12. Forces Driving the Digital Transformation Era
  13. Digital Transformation Requires Agility and Energy Measurement
  14. A Doctrine for Digital Transformation is Required
  15. The Advantages of Advantage in Digital Transformation
  16. Digital Transformation and Its Role in Mobility and Competition
  17. Digital Transformation - A Revolution in Precision Through IoT, Analytics and Mobility
  18. Competing in Digital Transformation and Mobility
  19. Ambiguity and Digital Transformation
  20. Digital Transformation and Mobility - Macro-Forces and Timing
  21. Mobile and IoT Technologies are Inside the Curve of Human Time

Digital Transformation and the Role of Faster

Digital transformation is too big and important to our future success not to understand the rules that apply to it.  The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are:

  1. Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) 
  2. Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved
  3. Businesses that can “analyze data and act and with speed” will dominate those that are slower. 

The first two rules prepare for the third, which focuses on action.  The first rule is about implementing an IT infrastructure capable of competing and winning.  The second rule expands beyond IT to encompass business and people processes that must be optimized to support a real-time and mobile business world.  The third rule says the first two rules are meaningless unless they result in right actions that are implemented faster than competitors can respond. 

The role and importance of being faster is critical to understand.  Faster means you must implement an OILS (optimized information logistics systems) to move beyond human-time, which is dominated by the sun and our biology, to the digital-time measured by computer processing and data transmission speeds, and then fast-forward into the future through predictive analytics.  Faster means you can squeeze more features and capabilities into the same or less time, which is critical for online and mobile apps.   

Our research shows there will be a dramatic increase in the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in the next 40-months.  It will be the codified brains of all kinds of applications, bots and processes.  It will cross reference data, validate answers, execute decision-trees and take actions.  We humans, however, are not willing to wait for these extra steps, layers and processes to happen in human-time, so the multitude of new AI applications must be pushed to operate in digital-time.  

How big is AI going to be?  We surveyed 2,000 executives across 18 countries for our Work Ahead report series and they predict AI will be the digital technology having the largest impact on their work by 2020. Even though only 15% of the respondents think artificial intelligence is having a large impact on their business today. Forty-six percent believe AI will be critical to them within the next 40 months – that’s a 207% predicted increase in business impact. 

AI is also a critical component of bots.  Bots are software robots that apply AI to automatically execute their designed tasks.  Only 18% of digital leaders in our survey report bots are having a “large to very large” impact on their businesses today, but by year 2020, it jumps to 41%.  That represents a huge increase of 128% in predicted business impact in just 40 months

Without the implementation of an OILS, your IT infrastructure will be too slow to operate today in an increasingly mobile world, and too slow to add the additional layers of AI, bot and predictive functionality for tomorrow.  It’s time to get faster!

  1. Digital Transformation and the Law of Thermodynamics
  2. Jettison the Heavy Baggage and Digitally Tranform
  3. Digital Transformation - The Dark Side
  4. Business is Not as Usual in Digital Transformation
  5. 15 Rules for Winning in Digital Transformation
  6. The End Goal of Digital Transformation
  7. Digital Transformation and the Ignorance Penalty
  8. Surviving the Three Ages of Digital Transformation
  9. From Digital to Hyper-Transformation
  10. Believers, Non-Believers and Digital Transformation
  11. Forces Driving the Digital Transformation Era
  12. Digital Transformation Requires Agility and Energy Measurement
  13. A Doctrine for Digital Transformation is Required
  14. The Advantages of Advantage in Digital Transformation
  15. Digital Transformation and Its Role in Mobility and Competition
  16. Digital Transformation - A Revolution in Precision Through IoT, Analytics and Mobility
  17. Competing in Digital Transformation and Mobility
  18. Ambiguity and Digital Transformation
  19. Digital Transformation and Mobility - Macro-Forces and Timing
  20. Mobile and IoT Technologies are Inside the Curve of Human Time

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Why Reassembling Your Digital Initiative is a Good Idea

Reassembling your digital initiatives is crucial for any company hoping to compete in the digital age — in fact, it’s where the digital game is won or lost. Yes, you read that right. No digital initiative is created perfectly. Maybe your company could launch one right off the bat and maintain it indefinitely -- if someone had a genie in their back pocket. But even then, genie wish fulfillments rarely come without snafus, as does real life. Some cases in point:

  • No matter how much preplanning may go into a digital initiative, unforeseen challenges will always pop up. Organizational structures may change. Management may change. Those qualified to maintain the transformation program may come and go.
  • Leaders and their teams may put the goal of becoming “cool” above practicality. They become passionate and emotionally attached to digital initiatives that they want to see succeed no matter what – no one wants to be seen as a failure. Their efforts to make the initiative work will only make the situation worse because they are mainly focused on forcing the original idea rather than reevaluating it.
  • Complications always arise, no matter the lofty goal. Newly hatched digital initiatives almost always have something wrong with them. It’s too clunky. It’s full of clutter (trying to achieve too many things in a remarkably short time). It lacks practicality. It can be translated in many different ways. It has an inside-out view rather than an outside-in approach.

The point is that digital transformation is the result of lots of tinkering. Many leaders believe that if their companies are successful in transforming their company digitally, they don’t need to reassemble, that the digital vision just falls into place for them. On the contrary, digital leaders can’t, and should not, stop re-inventing. It’s not an unfair burden; rather leaders are glad to improve on their digital vision and initiatives. For them, digital transformation is a journey. They know they can’t be successful in transforming their business until they understand that becoming digital is an ever-evolving process, not the destination. If your board expects you to get it right the first time, or even the second time, there are greater chances that you’ll disappoint them. It’s critical that you set their expectations right from the beginning.

What do I mean by reassembling? I don’t mean scrapping your past initiatives and starting with new ones. Most reassembling consists of reshaping and tightening your digital initiatives and refining the execution based on your first attempt. Much of it consists of making sure you’re simplifying the experience for your consumers. Keep putting yourself in the consumer’s place. Is there something that they would like to see for accessing your products and services differently? How do they feel when they interact with your company? Do they feel the brand has changed? And if so, for better or worse?

Whether you answer such questions internally or survey your consumers, the important thing is to continuously craft your digital vision. Stop for a moment, re-think and re-evaluate your initiative from beginning to end, always putting the customer at the center of the exchange; you’ll probably get an answer that leads you in the right direction. You might find that you need a much bigger budget to build a successful mobile app, which you had thought could be done quickly and easily. But your mobile app is not about ‘what you can do’; it is about what your customer can do with it. When you start examining your digital initiative, you’ll find a dismaying number of instances where you might have lost or confused your consumer.

But this process is not meant to be tedious. Learn to enjoy this tidying journey. With every small refinement you make, you’ll soon realize that you’ve come closer to achieving your company’s vision. And when you finally arrive, you’ll know that it was the reassembling, not the initial assembling, that won the digital game.