Tech and Business

The Digital Dilemma – Looking below the iceberg

The current revolution caused by Exponential Technology opens a dilemma for companies and executives:

  • You can choose to bury your head in the sand, paint your processes over with digital and hope the storm blows over. Many companies claiming they are undertaking a “digital transformation” are doing this.
  • The hard path is to look under the iceberg and see that the magnitude of change requires becoming emotionally involved and committing to totally transforming your business, your assumptions, and your company.

Both paths start with being anxious. We are anxious because the world is changing at human speed now. New inventions take only years or even months to diffuse and we will see several new paradigms emerge within our lifetimes. This didn’t happen before. We usually attribute this to digital, but digital is just the tip of the iceberg, the paradigm change of the last 10 years.

iceberg full

The choice is in how we respond to this. We can take comfort in old paradigms and create a four-year digital transformation plan that gives us the illusion of control. With this, we might think we have it under control and that normalcy will return. Alternatively, we can accept that things will never be the same and look at the whole iceberg and jump into the rabbit hole of complete transformation.

Looking at the whole iceberg takes courage and is very scary. There are another 5-10 paradigm shifts lurking there, and they will hit different parts of the economy and society over the next 5 to 10 years:

  • Machine Processes. With Cloud, Analytics and AI for everything most information gathering and processing, as well as most decision-making will be automated. This will decimate information workers and bring a revolution to information processing equivalent to what steam, electricity and oil did to physical labor.
  • Integration of physical and digital reality.  Technologies like Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality, the Internet of Things and Physical Robots will make the physical world and the digital world converge. Distance will disappear.
  • New transportation-energy matrix. Solar and storage will transform the balance of power generation away from fossil fuels. Electric and autonomous vehicles will reshape transportation.
  • Digital Biotech. Biofabrication and biomanipulation controlled by digital technology will make life programmable and allow us to redo healthcare and lifespan manipulate organic matter like we do with conventional materials.
  • Digital Governance. The application of blockchain and cybersecurity will allow for laws, organizations and social participations systems that don’t require humans to execute. The code of law will take a full new meaning
  • Markets 2.0. Sharing economies, marketplaces and crowd-everything will allow full participation, total transparency, and maximum efficiency driving down cost and profit.
  • And others further down the road such as the Commercial use of Outer Space, Quantum Computing, Nanotechnology and Mind-machine interfaces.

iceberg deep

The normal reaction after you look below the iceberg is to freak out and become afraid. Afraid is the correct emotion because it captures the magnitude of the change we are facing. Afraid is also good because it will move you to the very painful action that is required to be able to continue competing.

From afraid, we believe you need to move in stages towards action:

  • First, becoming Aware of what technologies are relevant for you and getting to understand them and their impact intimately.
  • Next, Aligning your team so you are all on the same wavelength and marching towards the same general destination.
  • Finally, moving to Action by launching short-term (6 months) initiatives that allow you to learn and execute

This is what we have created the Zoom Out Zoom In process to support.


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