Upcoming Series: The new wave of digitalization

3 mins read

Written by Wigmore Association Firms

Over the coming months, the Wigmore Association will be sharing a series of articles, in the form of insights from experts in their respective industries, all on the topic of digitalization. The purpose of this series, which will then form a white paper which we will be sharing on our website, is to look at the past, present and future of digitalization to identify trends and offer ‘blue sky thinking’ as to how Covid-19 has accelerated these existing trends.

Within this paper we have reached out to a number of individuals across different sectors, from the worlds of gaming and digital marketing, through to a professional psychologist and next generation organisation. Each contributor was asked to give a professional opinion and response to the following four questions:

  • 25 years of change – Within your industry, how have broader technological advances, ways of working, culture and relationships been impacted over the past 25 years?
  • Covid-19 and how it has accelerated digitalisation –How has the global pandemic impacted approaches to digitalization?
  • What is the future of digitalisation? – How do you see the future of digitalization post Covid-19 and beyond and how do you believe that this has impacted trends and relationships?
  • The generational divide – Do you find that there is a generational divide in your industry? If so, in what way and what do you find the trends are across the different generations?

To kick off the series, we share below our introductory article on the topic of digitalization.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Charles Darwin

This is a statement that has been widely attributed to Charles Darwin, a man best known for his contributions to the science of evolution.

The Digital Revolution began anywhere from the late 1950s to late 1970s [1] and refers to the advancement of technology, from analogue electronic and mechanical devices, to the digital electronics technology available today. During the 1980s technology transformed the Nation with computers making their way into people’s home, schools and businesses.

As we move into to the fourth industrial revolution; which is described as building on the third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century, characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres [2], we need to accept that the world is changing. As consumers and organizations, we need to transform to survive. In recent times trends have been catapulted forward multiple generations, with already existing trends such as buying online, signing-up to e-learning, online tutorials and webinars, all rocketing in consumer use. All of which can be done without leaving your home.

Digitalization has changed society and human behaviour dramatically over the past decade in particular. Amongst many other key areas, it has impacted consumer behaviour and habits in science, security, health, business, socialization and, most relevant for the world today, it has changed how we work.

In March 2020 Covid-19 was declared a pandemic and led the world to have to lean on digitalization in a way that it has not done so before. Lockdown prohibited businesses from having staff in the workplace, unless they were unable to work from home, and physically meeting with friends and family became impossible. Daily routines had to be re-thought, parents became teachers overnight, multiple generations were getting the hang of Zoom, Microsoft Teams and many other video conferencing channels and online exhibitions, quizzes and virtual events made a new name for themselves within a myriad of industries, including the world of art and charitable foundations.

Those companies able to use technology well to keep going, and continue to rethink their business models for the future by fast-tracking a digital transformation, are the ones ahead of their competition. In 2019, remote workers represented almost 3.8% of the entire US workforce, up from 1.8 million in 2005 [3] and now companies have been strong armed into enabling staff to work from home. When talking to our counterparts across the globe, one unforeseen and regularly mentioned outcome of COVID-19 is that companies realise the benefits of fast-tracking a digital transformation.

Opportunities exist now for individuals and organisations to shift their focus to embedding digitalization, and the possibilities that this possesses, into their day-to-day lives, making it business as usual as opposed to ‘one for the future’, and so Charles Darwin’s words could not be more relevant for the evolving world that we live in today.

[1] Jeremy Rifkin, The Third Industrial Revolution
[2] www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-what-it-means-and-how-to-respond 
[3] https://fortunly.com/statistics/work-from-home-statistics