Encounters of the Tech Kind: “Leading Digital Transformation”
Who better to report back from Digital Leaders Week 2017 than Lindsay Smith, CMO of Ctrl O?
Lindsay of Crtl O attended the 12th National Digital Conference 2017: Leading Digital Transformation and kindly wrote a few words, I say kindly, read the few words first…. 😉
In the attractive surroundings of the old St Pancras taxi rank, seriously – it is a most attractive and atmospheric venue; just a bit mind boggling to remember catching taxis from over there by the left-hand screen – we set-off on a different journey. Entertaining, nostalgic, asking a lot of the right questions, expressing a lot of commonly held beliefs – sometimes in the most incredibly eloquent and articulate fashion – we just never arrived at any destination.
I don’t think I ask too much, I look to the sages to tell me what’s on the other side of the hill. Yes, we can all see there’s a bloomin’ great hill in front of us. And the speakers defined it in detail: Brexit, skill shortages, doing more with less, transforming government; we can see we have some marvellous new technologies and at this rate there are going to be more coming along – oooh! the pace of change! AI, IoT, Data – that’s making the hill even steeper. But other than wringing hands and saying We Must Do Something, did anyone say this is what we are going to do; this is what’s on the other side of that hill? Well, if they did, I missed it.
It’s possible. Old taxi ranks have rotten acoustics.
There were speakers I admire, there was energy and passion and eloquence so smooth I could almost hear John Betjeman purr – but is it because no one actually knows what’s going on that all the speakers seemed to hang-on in the comfort zone, fighting the last battle (or the one before)? Telling us Cloud is good, Digital Transformation is good, motherhood and apple-pie is good. Inequality, lack of inclusion, lack of access is bad. Oh wring those hands! We must all wring our hands! It’s what we must do!
The government digital agenda, GDS, Cloud First, sustainable competitive advantage in the post-industrial epoch – sure – speakers called on these powerful gods of 5-years ago, but the gods never materialised. There was nothing to dissipate the impression that the digital ship is sheets to the wind and rudderless. I heard no evidence of compass or star, chart or captain.
Let me charitably suggest that the agenda was blighted by timing. This close to the election, when final speakers must have been fixed, nobody had the temerity or authority to sign-up to talk about ‘this is the vision, the strategy, the engine of change, the direction of travel…’
That notwithstanding, a lot of the glittering digiterati talked to us with mesmerising eloquence about things I think we already knew. And it was beautiful, and we all clapped, and did you know the Spice Girls did a video there? And Batman a movie, and Richard III – (the Ian McKellen one)…