I was recently invited by Huawei to attend their APAC Innovation Day 2018, in Bangkok, Thailand. The key theme for the event read in two words seen a lot these days: Digital Transformation. But when, in the words of a fairly large tech corporation, “cows and elephants” communicate, what does it really mean?
Digital transformation goes far beyond words. While the term is being used, over-used and abused, Huawei did actually bring it back to the basics. By getting rid of the digital and tech hype, they did steer a technological conference away from technology (the tools) and towards actual people and purpose (the plan).
This is my first take:
“Collaboration is crucial”
Before implementing any form of transformation, digital or not, collaboration and consultation is necessary. A digital transformation can not be pursued or implemented only for the sake of “doing” digital transformation. It has to serve a purpose.
Go steady, not fast
While companies and governments alike can not miss out on digital transformation and have to keep up with change, it does not mean that they have to be the fastest to adopt new tools. Especially is the use of said tools has not been defined in a broader context.
The winner is not necessarily the fastest.
Everything can be “interneted”
In the story of creating new words and new verbs, Huawei have added to the book here :) There is meaning here though as we are talking connectivity and more. The current technology enables connections, between technologies, the internet, etc. but also allows a deeper level of connection by adding intelligence and functionalities and power to it. Making cows communicate with elephants”… .
Overcome the hurdles
Yes, there are hurdles. Whether we are talking technology or just change, not everybody is willing to accept novelty or just difference.
It is therefore crucial to work collaboratively on defining problems and pain points, identifying the actual needs and suitable technologies that should (could) be adopted and then work on a sensible implementation plan.
Resistance to change often stems from uneducated opinions. Hence, collaborating, including the actual people and explaining the steps, reflection and decisions being necessary steps in a (successful) transformation process.
“AI does not exist in the law”
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has appeared as a headline in recent times. It brings new user experiences and interactions but also a form of freedom and dangerous blank space as it “does not exist in the law”. As recent cases of Alexa getting creepy or the demonstration of Google Duplex have demonstrated, AI sits currenty in a grey zone which the public does not know what to do of yet.
Per Huawei, “AI works if you have the ability to control it, switch it off”.
ICT and the future of the younger generation
We need to see 21st century skills grow! The future is both practical and technological, as such, both critical thinking and ICT/STEM skills will be necessary.
The education sector needs to look into it and work on building the curriculum of tomorrow, not only to empower their students but also stay relevant in the future.
As a final note, I would note and point the amazing emphasis by the Thai government on preparing the country for the future. A future built on an updated and current education, digital infrastructures and capabilities AND… entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial mindset!
I suddenly fell in love as these words not only resonated but also echoed my vision and recommendations for any country to grow and keep growing towards a better future.