Digital speeds things up and allows for great flexibility and adaptability. It also facilitates greater transparency and openness.

As openness and transparency increase, an increasingly educated population realizes that it has long been manipulated by institutions and brands. Throughout the modern world there is a justifiable collapse in trust. If this collapse continues there will be serious consequences for societies and economies.

The biggest problem facing Greece, for example, is lack of trust. As a result, it will be difficult to achieve an agreement because both parties simply don’t trust each other. In the UK, there is a large amount of distrust of the European Union. As a result, a referendum is being held to determine whether the UK should remain in the EU. Trust is the issue of our age.

These days, we trust what we find easy to use. We trust in use. Digital transformation is about creating a culture that is focused on how customers use things. “Government gets transformed by delivering stuff. Show me the thing. The strategy is delivery,” states Mike Bracken, Executive Director of Digital in the UK Cabinet Office. The customer says: “Show me. Let me do. Don’t tell me.”

Digital allows you to do much more quickly. Instead of developing a plan, you develop the thing, the beta. You must show how it works. Digital is fast. Digital is do.

Learning Opportunities

Producing lots of digital content is not digital transformation. It is often the opposite. Digital is not a PDF. Digital is not content migration. Digital is not taking print, analog stuff and digitizing it. Digital is not about flooding the world with content. Thierry Breton, chairman and CEO of Atos, one of the leading IT firms worldwide, with 75,000 employees, has talked about how email had become a scourge at his company. His staff were spending an average of 16 hours a week sending internal emails. Only 15 percent of these emails were useful. He put in place procedures that saw an 80 percent reduction in these emails.

Digital change is cultural change. If you give digital tools to an organization with an old mind you get lots of PDFs, lots of emails, lots of other useless content, lots of pictures of actors pretending to be customers and lots of news propaganda from senior management that nobody wants to hear about.

“Big Data will be among the most important stories of the next 25 years,” Thierry Breton stated. Big data is customer data. Because of digital we have never had more information on our customers. How to use this data wisely and effectively will be one of the great challenges of the Digital Age. A Pew study published in 2014, found that “A full 91 percent of respondents felt that consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies.”

Big Data will cause big trouble if we don’t have trust. The trust deficit is a tsunami waiting to happen. If we allow trust to continue to decline then societies will grind to a halt, because trust is the oil that lubricates society and economy.

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