I was delighted to be one of the people asked to submit a few words into IMJ talking about Ireland’s Digital Future in their recent Digital Issue. For what its worth – here’s what I had to say!
Ireland has no digital future. Or at least its future isn’t one that should be expressed in these terms. We need to redefine our view of digital and stop thinking single-mindedly about it. Instead we need to think about what we want to do and let the digital technology get us there. Lofty and idealistic? Maybe, but as long as we continue to differentiate we stop allowing ourselves to break free from what has confined us to date.
Organizations in all industries have fallen victim to complacency, politics, in-fighting, analysis-paralysis, risk-aversion, and bureaucracy that stops them doing this. It happened to HMV, who were ideally placed to allow the technology to take them places that would have seen them thrive, they didn’t and they suffered. Argos are struggling to get their heads around it and they too are suffering. Meanwhile the likes of Teléfonica are embracing it and are almost attacking their own business model with the launch of the VoIP service TU Me. Digital is at the core for businesses like these, it’s so close to the core the lines are blurred between online and offline to the extent that its now non-line.
This is what we have done at Dialogue, we opened our doors to a new breed of “digital natives” and gave them the freedom to introduce their digital DNA into the agency. For them digital is just an extension of themselves, for example, they embrace beta launches, where they test, simplify, test and simplify some more – and yes all of this is in the public domain. This allows us be a lot more agile, with campaigns almost having a start-up mentality. Without this approach most of us are doomed to clumsily translate conventional ideas into a digital format. This is bringing us to really interesting places where data, it’s not sexy I know, but it allows us to create work with our clients that delivers hyper-relevant content to people. Content that adds value to their lives, makes lives more interesting, easier, faster, smarter, more connected (or maybe less connected), more enjoyable. We have to stop allowing the digital tail wag the dog and instead look to see how we can use it to enhance experiences.
Digital needs to touch everything we do, when we get to that point then there is no need for a digital strategy, it is truly embedded and there is just a strategy. This is Ireland’s (digital) future.