Adapt and thrive in the digital space

Have you paid attention to the young people around you today? They’re leaving university with degrees in digital broadcast technology, digital music, digital humanities and digital media.

Their concept of ‘internet’ isn’t discrete from how they live their everyday lives; it’s not a tool for emailing Uncle Derek in South Africa, it’s a part of how they learn, entertain themselves and communicate. It’s second nature to them.

And despite the internet having been around (in earnest) since about 1995 (that’s 16 years ago, folks), many of the ‘grown-ups’ in our respective industries are still struggling to come to terms with the change.

In the last decade, we’ve seen the digital arena come into its own as a catalyst of change, and it’s the young guys who will have a say in how our businesses adapt and thrive. And the clever businesses are already doing it, such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Starbucks. They didn’t get where they are today by thinking backwards or resisting change.

A curious affliction of the traditional ‘old guard’ is that if they don’t know something, it’s not worth knowing. Yet, time and again, they’re proved wrong, and it’s the adaptable and clever ones who relinquish control and begin to trust in the digital specialists to simply get on with it.

I believe it’s OK to not know something. Either learn or attract people to your business that already know what they’re doing. And don’t interfere (too much).