Wednesday 5 November 2014

Take Control of Your Digital Future (Part 1)

Photo credit: Blastreach
In the first of a two part guest post, Jan Zuchowski, a Digital Performance Specialist who has worked with commercial and not-for-profit organizations to improve and develop their strategy, reflects on how you can take control of your digital future.

"The sport of yacht racing has been likened by the more cynical to standing under a cold shower, tearing up £50 notes. In many respects, digital publishing is not too dissimilar. Indeed, arguably there are only two major differences: firstly, you don’t need a cold shower to get the real feel and secondly, you don’t need to be too cynical to ‘get’ the concept. It can be nerve-wracking; but it can also be exhilarating and hugely compelling, too.

The question is how to do it safely to an exceptional level, a level where the world cannot help but sit up and take notice?

All around, publishers are trying out different approaches, hoping to nail their colours to the mast as digital innovators. Yet, all too often it can seem so difficult to break through into genuinely disruptive thinking and start making serious money from it.

So, how do we do it? How do we develop innovative ideas that will put a serious dent in the market? Churchill famously once said, “When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging.” What might happen if you did just that?

Jan Zuchowski
Perhaps the first thing that you might notice is just how furiously other people are digging all around you, too. You were probably reasonably aware of that, anyway. Then you might start to look at other sectors. You may notice other types of organisation being more successful because they start their thinking about the digital challenges they face from a different angle. And it may even inspire you to start connecting ideas with fresh, ground-breaking initiatives.

Picasso is reputed to have remarked, “Good artists copy; great artists steal.” If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it to the highest level!

Publishing is by no means the only sector to feel challenged by the accelerating progress of digital technology. However, what is becoming increasingly noticeable is how other sectors are reaping the rewards of approaching the issue from a different standpoint, both creatively and financially. Check out what’s going on in the music industry; the museums sector; fashion; sporting retail… Take time to explore what it is that is driving their thinking and how they are planning to find their next breakthrough ideas. Here and there, publishers who are going to be the next game changers are already noticing and quietly assimilating the ideas...

Photo credit: iLexx
Could it be that, in some dark corners not too far from you, people are already brewing a mind-blowing innovation to unleash on an innocently unsuspecting market? Could it be that the next disruptive idea, the idea that will shake the industry to the core is only just over the horizon? Could it be that the person who will be at the heart of incubating that idea is already lurking inside your organisation? Could it be you?

It’s time to start connecting ideas about digital publishing in new ways. In my next piece I’ll share with you some practical steps you can take to accelerate disruptive thinking. Let’s talk some more."

Jan is the facilitator for the Digital Strategy Think Tank, an ALPSP workshop produced in collaboration with Librios to be held in London on Tuesday 2 December 2014. Book your place now.

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