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Digital Disruption: Are you next?

14 October 2014 By Richard Dent


Lawyers.  Educators. Taxis. Media.  Are you next? You’re certainly on the list. Really? Yes.

Last week I had lunch with a prominent Melbourne lawyer.  The talk turned to modern complexities, and in particular the digital revolution.    He was bemoaning his profession’s tardiness in embracing the new reality: it’s a global world, digital will disrupt, and it’s “no longer about me”: professional esteem will have to adapt – and clients are much more empowered.

But such adaption is not limited to the law. The new world for education is already here: Massive Open Online Courses (also known as MOOCs) are disrupting traditional learning and organisations – and empowering hundreds of thousands who were previously excluded.

Meanwhile taxis are struggling to adapt to the new world of Uber: demolishing licence value but (Uber argues) empowering consumers with real choice.    

And of course the media is far from immune. Andrew Holden at The Age is an example of a leader at the frontline in such change.  He has to lead a massive transformation: information is free, how to make it pay? How to add value? How to keep the staff motivated, the shareholders happy, the advertisers engaged?

Andrew has had some crucible moments: none more so than his leadership on the ground during the Christchurch earthquake. Perhaps such a crisis - like those which regularly face Victoria - provides insights into facing network leadership, less hierarchy, the importance of community connections, and much more?  

In the context of complexity, is Andrew - and the rest of us - cursed or blessed to live in such interesting times? We are clearly in the midst of global revolution. Like the industrial revolution, many people will be much more empowered, but threats to us all are evident, and leadership adaptability will be key.

Leadership in the midst of a global revolution could hardly be more complex. Are you ready to be next? Leadership Victoria is hosting Andrew Holden, Editor-in-Chief of The Age Newspaper speaking on his experience of “Leading in Complex Times” on 23rd October.  Tickets here.

- Richard Dent OAM