Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

Why you don’t need a digital strategy

Anne says: Did this headline attract your attention? It’s an important message, and one that we’ve been emphasising since the beginning of time (digital time, that is).

This article in MIT Sloan Management Review highlights the hype or increased interest in Digital Transformation with a Google search graph – indisputable: it seems like everyone is searching for it. But are they managing to implement it? The key sentence in this article is:

“…when it comes to digital transformation, digital is not the answer. Transformation is.”

What a great reminder! In a digital world it’s the people and how they use the technology – a strategy that is technology enabled or digitally enhanced that matters, NOT the technology.

There’s 3 strong examples cited, if you’re still doubting the claim! Followed by a number of tips to keep you focused (or avoiding the technology focused trap):

  • Get away from silo thinking.
  • Don’t push the envelope too far, too fast.
  • Don’t ask your tech leaders to drive transformation alone.
  • Build essential leadership capabilities, not just technical ones.

We’d probably add: engage the whole business – from bottom-up and top-down. Any transformation requires buy-in and commitment, from everyone.


Navigating news and modern media

“There was an underappreciation of social media’s value when reporting, apart from a vague understanding that it could be used to pry into the not-so-private lives of victims or convicted criminals.”

Emilio says: No doubt, the internet and social media have transformed the news and the public communications cycle – but are traditional media outlets requiring a much-needed transformation as well?

Based on this personal account of a former news reporter at a leading national Australian newspaper, a digital mindset and culture transformation is just what’s sorely lacking and urgently needed by an industry that is being rapidly disrupted.

Transitioning from traditional news to digital media, this reporter now works at one of the most successful digital media companies, BuzzFeed. Her account is an indictment of the bureaucracy, inefficiency and outdated thought and operational processes in her former workplace – and possibly in other traditional newsrooms.

Three things stand out for me in her personal experience: a distrust of social media prevailing in traditional news media, particularly social media’s unmatched ability to broadcast breaking news; real power vested upon traditional news media editors whose views ultimately shape the news, versus the diversity of perspectives available on social media; and the lack of a two-way feedback loop between the traditional media outlets and their readers – something that differentiates digital media where reach and engagement are measurable.

As social media continues to evolve – offering new ways by which people can create and disseminate news and information themselves – now more than ever, traditional media faces the challenge to be more relevant, agile and objective, whilst listening to and serving the greater interests of the public first rather than their establishment or the people that own them.


Why Google Home, Amazon Echo smart speakers will run most households by 2022

Joel says: Whether you’re ordering a taxi or a pizza, there’s a high chance you won’t pick up a telephone to do it in future. New research predicts more than half of American households will use internet-connected smart speakers to do their bidding just five years from now, and will task the machines with doing everything from ordering groceries to keeping them up to date on the latest news, weather, and appointments.

Australian experts predict the trend to be replicated here and added there were unforeseen “lifestyle benefits” of using the artificial intelligence built into these speakers. The boom will see many more Australians adopt the technology, fuelling a rise in smart home products from just $377 million last year to $4.7 billion by 2021.

A Google Australia spokeswoman said the company recently added 100 million new search answers, or “snippets,” to its smart speaker, which launched in Australia this July. It seems the speakers will continue to become smarter via these updates and one day we may find ourselves having fluent conversations with our own home AI – letting us all get one step closer to living like Tony Stark from Iron Man.

More Australians are beginning to embrace smart speakers now that many have been updated to better understand the Australian accent, encouraging more Aussies to install them and treat them as useful digital assistants.

Telsyte predicts Australia’s Internet of Things industry will be worth $4.7 billion by 2021, and households will boast 311 million internet-connected devices, or more than 30 in every home.


China is building a police station powered by AI, not humans

Nat says: Sci-fi movies like Minority Report inch a step closer towards becoming reality with China this week announcing they will create an unmanned, AI-powered police station. However, ‘police’ is a loose term as it looks like the AI will be dealing with driver and vehicle-related matters, and citizens will have to sit in a car-like capsule in order to report their incident. Nevertheless, China embraces technology unlike any other nation. Their regulations are often non-existent, which means that in recent years China has been able to move away from their manufacturing title to becoming a technology giant on a global scale. You only have to look at the disruption that Alibaba and others have caused, and continue to cause, when redefining traditional business models and ways of being in the world.

I want to point out, however, that there is a somewhat misconception in the title of this shared article. To say that a police station will be powered by AI and not humans implies that the AI is a free agent itself; as though humans do not stand behind its creation or its usage. The rhetoric and fear surrounding AI is somewhat unjustified because we tend to give the technology its own identity – and seemingly free will, whilst all the while forgetting that we are the ones who create such machines. To think that we are designing and creating something that could ‘kill us’ says more about us as humans than it does the machines we are making.

The AI police station will be opened in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, which has a population of just over 10 million people.


How one woman’s digital life was weaponised against her

Jakkii says: I’m back this week with another long read on how the internet is here to ruin our lives. (wink)

Cyberharassment is still an unappreciated crime. Gary Ernsdorff, a prosecutor in King County, where the Allens live, said that people often don’t think it’s that big a deal—it’s just online, after all.

This piece is a fascinating tale of cyberharassment (or technology-enabled abuse), complex and bizarre yet strangely gripping.

Nearly all of us are giving away reams of sensitive information about ourselves without understanding how it might be used, whether by a stalker or an unscrupulous company… People are starting to understand “that the web watches them back,” says Aleecia McDonald, a privacy researcher at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society. But we still don’t appreciate the extent to which it’s happening or what risks we might face in the future.

I shared this piece for the interesting story, but also for its link back to my posts over the last couple of weeks: to a web where we are not in control, and to which we are not paying close enough attention. We, collectively, are not taking enough care with our privacy, our data, our lives online. How much are we really sharing when we’re on the web, and who exactly are we sharing it with – intentionally and unintentionally?

What steps are you taking to safeguard your privacy online?



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