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Rachel Murphy
March 14, 2018

WTF is Digital: Part 2. The Digital Imperative

wtf is digital part 2

I think the days are numbered for people to say they aren’t touched in some way by Digital. Now don’t get me wrong, some people may choose not to get involved in certain ways, social media is often one that divides opinion. In a user research session I observed last month the attendee was absolutely adamant she didn’t use any social media — later on in the convo she professed to be an avid user of Pinterest and using Snapchat with her kids, you get the drift.

I do think for business leaders it is imperative that you have an awareness of the changing technology landscape, of the actions you could suggest to take and that these are prioritised depending upon the sector you work in.

For me I am still obsessed with learning and staying relevant, I guess you have to be interested in the subject matter and I am where Digital and Technology are concerned. Personally, I’m signed up to the following in way of digital news:
techcrunch.com
wired.co.uk
fastcompany.com

And, I do keep a regular eye on Twitter/BBC News/Times app and being nearly 40 I do also still read books, on a pretty regular basis to be fair! (Big fan of anything Daniel Pink, Covey, Didier Bonnet’s Leading Digital and Ian Cox Disrupt IT: A new model for IT in the digital age).

The art of the possible for me is truly fascinating where Digital is concerned! We have all heard the stories banded around about Airbnb owning no real estate and Uber not owning any taxi’s, the reality is all sectors are up for disruption. Let’s face it as you wander around your high street how often do you still see a physical travel agent, does Teletext even still exist? I am an avid Booking.com user (despite constant T&C dramas in India last year and yet I still love bidding for hotel rooms via Priceline if I am ever in the US).

Blogging is a fantastic topic to divide the masses around Digital, for me, I embraced it some time ago. I think some of my previous employers wished I hadn’t but what I love about Blogging is the ability to truly be authentic. For me it’s almost like singing with an accent; you can really be yourself, share your personality and get your voice heard. Putting it frankly, if you don’t want to hear then blocking is remarkably easy on most social media platforms. For businesses new to digital this level of openness and transparency is scary, it tends to fly in the face of older fashioned models of comms; not having a panel sign stuff off etc. I would advise anyone to dip their toe in and have a try!

We did some great work at NHS Digital launching the first blog showcasing transformation efforts: transformation.blog.nhs.uk supporting the GDS principles of open and transparent.

Within Difrent we have a huge community of people working for us and Alumni who blog; they have free reign, get to discuss what they fancy. I actively encourage this level of creativity and freedom; recent blogs have covered topics as diverse as addiction, travel and imposter syndrome. We have amassed some 20,000 followers in a short space of time.

Really bringing this topic a little closer to the Difrent Group we very much wanted to ‘eat our own dog food’ with Digital. By this; I mean we wanted the business model developed in such a way that we don’t need physical offices; unless we want to physically get people together, which we do on a weekly basis. We use a blend of collaboration tools, and they change rapidly, a new entrant is appear.in that has all but replaced the use of Skype; we do online interviews with candidates; online psychometric testing; technical tests are done online and we run our deliveries using JIRA/Trello/Whatsapp/Google docs and Dropbox. We developed an automated timesheet to an invoice system that has an open API for integration with our factoring company and bank.

I don’t think we are alone in embracing these digital methods for working, I’ve also called out some other industry examples below:

  • Healthcare: has seen a shift to online appointment booking with GP at Hand leading the way and NHS Digital driving forward a number of pilots for NHS Online incl Evergreen and EConsult,
  • The rail industry has been using drones now for a number of years to assess track damage in hard to reach environments
  • Hyperloop is fast becoming a reality with pilots being spun up across the globe
  • It’s commonplace these days to attend conferences or gigs where no money passes hands; it’s all loaded onto a wearable; if not already squared away by Apple or Samsung in your phone. My fave being thenextweb.com
  • A number of challenger banks are really transforming what we expect from a bank; recent entrants with Starling getting cracking press, a mobile-only bank! Another change to the landscape of our High Street.
  • Music is almost entirely streamed courtesy of a number of players (free and chargeable) Apple, Spotify amongst others
  • Deliveroo and Uber Eats have transformed the takeaway business; I heard a scary rumour that Deliveroo were delivering for the Colonel (KFC) last week, another business who rode the digital wave to success last week after supply chain issues really impacted business.

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April 3, 2018
WTF is Digital: Part 3. Innovation & Agility

Keeping nimble, agile and continuously innovating are often the thing of fantasies for many organisations.

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May 3, 2018
WTF is Digital Series: Part 4. Engagement through Digital Channels

As an early adopter of social media personally I found this blog easier to write than some others in this series!

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March 13, 2018
WTF is Digital: Part 1. Digital Diary

During a fantastic meet with a new contact last week, I was sharing ideas about how to make Digital a reality to people, let’s face it, Digital has to be the most overused term in history and it means something different to every one of us!

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