The urgent need for Digital Diversity on today’s boards

digital-dna

SO WHY IS DIGITAL DISRUPTION SUCH A BIG DEAL?

Recent research revealed by MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research puts the threat of digital disruption in stark business context. According to the study, board directors estimate that 32 per cent of revenue is at risk over the next five years due to digital disruption.

board-digital-issue-chart

THE RISE OF THE DIGITAL DISRUPTOR

Over the last few years, there have been a number of high-profile digital disruptors. I have highlighted just a few below:

  • WhatsApp — the messaging platform bought last year by Facebook for $US19 billion. In January, WhatsApp reported that they now have 900 million users, and that they send 60 billion messages a DAY, through their website. This is compared to SMS at 20 billion a day when you add up all messages sent worldwide.This is digital disruption in the telco space at a massive scale. The question that investors need to ask is what are the mobile operators doing to ensure they don’t get locked out by over the other top messaging players like Snaptchat, Facebook Messenger and Apple’s iMessage.
  • HMV in the UK was an iconic record chain. Two years ago in 2013 they went bust. What went wrong? The company did not predict the rapid uptake in streamed and online music. Today I don’t own a single CD. I sold them all years ago as I can access each and every single one for the price of a cup of coffee each month on Spotify.

WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF TODAY’S DIGITAL DISRUPTORS?

The emergence of small, nimble competitors in the music (Spotify), video (Netflix), transport (Uber) and accommodation industries (Airbnb) is making established companies sit up and take notice.

LEARNING THE LANGUAGE OF DIGITAL

Across the board, I still see senior executives and board members that are struggling to keep up with the effects of digital disruption. In some ways,this is linked to their ability to become fluent in the new language of digital.

  • is young enough to be a “digital native” and have been playing with digital for a number of years, and;
  • experienced enough to be able to understand the inner workings of a complex business and translate this into ‘digital speak’.

DIGITAL LITERACY HAS BECOME A PASSION

I first spoke about the need for digital literacy in my second TEDx in February 2015 at KPMG in London, and again in a keynote at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce Spring Networking Conference event on 28th April 2015. You can watch a replay of the NICC event below.

ENGAGING DIGITALLY SAVVY NEDs

So where can digital NEDs be the most effective? To work this out, I turned to a report by Deloitte Australia from 2012 entitled “Digital disruption, short fuse, big bang”.

Board Digital Issue Deloitte Chart

DIGITAL DISRUPTION IS HERE — YOU NEED TO ACT NOW

The time is now — companies can’t wait. Customers and shareholders can’t wait. If you are in a leadership position you would be challenging your board on this — what is your digital strategy as well as your digital NED strategy?

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The Actionable Futurist™. Former Global Managing Partner @ IBM. Proud Dad. TEDx & International Keynote Speaker. Aussie in London.

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Andrew Grill - The Actionable Futurist™

Andrew Grill - The Actionable Futurist™

The Actionable Futurist™. Former Global Managing Partner @ IBM. Proud Dad. TEDx & International Keynote Speaker. Aussie in London.