Digitalisation and growth

Rapid digitalisation is emerging as the tonic for a depressed economy. Businesses who had previously deployed system-wide digital integration including eCommerce, automated communications, cloud-based software were quick to transition to a lockdown operating world.

Sadly, in contrast, organisations who were fundamentally operating analogue practices were caught out and have felt the most significant impact during lockdown.

But the need to digitise at pace needs to be equally matched with a commitment to understanding new economic priorities, the culture of organisations, the ability to encourage new innovative practices and the development new products and services. 

Peter Griffin’s RNZ podcast  Two Cents Worth recently explored the conflicting views of automation and digitisation as a means to lift productivity. His premise was that automation would take hold this decade even before the pandemic arrived – a wave of automation that would displace both blue and white-collar jobs.

He spoke to a range of experts with the suggestion that the impact of Covid-19 may accelerate the uptake of robotics and use of “intelligent process automation” to do all or part of the work that humans used to do.

Jack Tame fronted several virtual Q&A conversations during lockdown, as the bright lights of the TVNZ studio were replaced by people Zooming in from their living rooms. I spoke with Jack about the need for greater personal commitment to learning and adaptation and the rise of transferable skills.

The virtualisation of events was a highlight for many in lockdown as conferences, seminars, festivals and even art galleries offered new online experiences. The Trans-Tasman Business Circle took on the challenge, and over seven weeks, they interviewed a broad range of leading New Zealand and Australian business leaders. The focus of my interview with Sharron Lloyd was on the future of work and how employers will change the way they think about how and where their teams work.

The House of Beautiful Business based in Lisbon provided a global platform for bold and complex conversations covering off topics as diverse as economics, philosophy, creativity and human relationships. Their online journal is a great source for inspiration and included a post on the learnings we should take from COVID. Their commentary included a warning that the return to the old routines is also a withdrawal from the essential questions that have emerged from the crisis may not have been long enough to mourn the death of ego, or enough time to relish in the loss of control, and the fallacy of invincibility?

If the future of work and insights that are emerging from lockdown are top of mind, McKinsey released a new report on reimagining the workplace that can be accessed here.