The largest barrier to digital growth – demons of the past, digital silos & evangelism

February 17, 2008 at 3:44 am | Posted in Digital thinking, Evangelism, Infrastructure, Innovation, Integration, Segmentation, Strategic planning, Traditional | Leave a comment

Many digital evangelists claim the problem is that everyone else doesn´t get it!! They are partly right, but at the same time they are blind to their own ignorance and weaknesses.

The most successful digital minds are one that can either cross both the traditional and emerging worlds or partner with a mentor that can help them focus and articulate their value.

 90% of what digital evangelists claim that they are inventing – has actually already been done in the traditional world. Like naïve teenagers, they discover something (e.g. a remake of a Rolling Stones song), thinking it new, give it a name of their own and adopt it as their own groundbreaking innovation.

The problem is that digital evangelists not only disrespect historical marketing theory, but they have deliberately kept anyone (e.g. a grey hair mentor) in the dark and at arms-length. In fact, they have been guilty in many respects of ‘Reinventing the wheel’ because of the barriers that they have placed have stopped them learning from the elders of the ‘communications tribe’. In these times, where digital thinking transcends the digital mediums, it may be in the digital evangelists to be a bit more humble and sign a peace treaty.

Sure, the traditional establishment hasn´t made it easy for this seemingly disruptive splinter group. The demons of past battles still haunt the minds of digital journeymen. Likewise, the partying and arrogance prior to the digital bubble bursting and premature claims that ‘everyone associated with traditional communication are irrelevant and dying’, have left deep seated rift between the traditional and emerging communication worlds.

When an industry is growing, it makes sense to separate and concentrate efforts in a silo to achieve a sense of critical mass.  The problem is, as the pie grows, particularly in an extremely dynamic environment where training always plays a back seat to delivery, if you don´t reintegrate, there simply aren´t enough people to do the required work.

It is time that the ‘digital thoroughbreds’ start feeling a little more self-confident and start adopting and recruiting ‘digital immigrants’ people to do the work so that they can move forward and do what they do best – attack the critical problems facing communication: innovate and build conversation infrastructure. There is no doubt that digital thinkers will rule, but in this new world built upon collaboration and co-opetition, let´s hope that we all can find a way to heal the wounds, collectively swallow our pride and act as the mature leaders that our clients and customers need.

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