The New Digital Business Economy

man watching many tv screensInternational leaders face an era of unprecedented change. The recession and financial crisis that ended in 2009 caused a seismic shift that has reshaped the global business landscape. The world economy is now characterized by sluggish growth in the West, a shift in power to the East, and value-driven customers and rising risks everywhere. At the same time, the downturn has hastened the adoption of key technologies—mobility, cloud computing, business intelligence and social media—that are transforming businesses and sparking a new wave of wealth creation, particularly in the emerging world.

Economic growth and technology are inextricably linked. Current economic conditions are fostering investment in technology as emerging markets ramp up their demand for technology to fuel growth, and advanced markets seek new ways to cut costs and drive innovation. This becomes a virtuous circle as digital technologies drive consumer income and demand, education and training, and efficient use of capital and resources—leading to increased economic growth, particularly in emerging markets.

Executives must be aware of the new challenges facing their firms as market momentum accelerates. Rising middle classes in places like China and India offer extraordinary potential for companies that understand their needs. Emerging markets are also spawning rivals that are unencumbered by legacy systems and corporate bureaucracy—with their sights set on advanced economies.

Against this backdrop, there are potentially several significant shifts companies will need to address
over the next five years:

1. The global digital economy comes of age.
2. Industries undergo digital transformation.
3. The digital divide reverses.
4. The emerging-market customer takes center stage.
5. Business shifts into hyperdrive.
6. Firms reorganize to embrace the digital economy.
7. Restoring trust

Research has shown that an emphasis should be placed on reducing the level of organisational complexity and enhancing the ability to move quickly and effectively in following new opportunities or countering threats.

The sharing economy, collaborative economy and crowd business models are all variations on a theme. A clear strategy on how to engage with and profit from this trend is key.

The new mobile and social business models bring myriad challenges and contradictions, notes Wharton management professor Harbir Singh. “Most businesses today understand that they need to exist in an ‘ecosystem’ that includes other companies, some of their competitors. “ He advocates careful monitoring of what it being yielded, vs expenses put into, such models. He also advocates opening up of products/services to create a platform that others can contribute to.

Executives should have a forward-looking mobile strategy for emerging markets, where the phone is the primary means for internet access. At the same time, they must consider how to improve data analytics to anticipate rapid global market shifts. Remember that in a fast-moving world, the threat of security breaches increases; companies must build stronger safeguards into their operations.

Trust is also a huge subject in companies, there are two avenues of restoration that businesses need to consider, the first relating to employees’ trust and the second consumers’ trust. Business must show that it has a broader skill set and can execute on engagement and integrity-based attributes , which can involve a complete overhaul of the company culture, ethic, moral and humanity based issues in business.

Finally, while emerging markets are growing quickly, companies should remember to protect market share in their home countries—rivals in emerging markets will be looking to play in your backyard

What do you believe companies should change in 2014?

The Power of Communication

Maia Kincaid, photograph by Pam Taylor
Maia Kincaid, photograph by Pam Taylor

I had the most amazing fortune of being introduced to Maia Kincaid, PH.D whilst I was in Sedona, Arizona, on a recent trip.

Maia works as an animal and nature communicator and is the author of several books. Our venue was a superb organic restaurant on the West Side of Sedona called The Field. As I walked into the restaurant to meet Maia there was an excellent quote on the wall “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about” – Rumi.” This inspired me deeply. I was received by a smiling Maia and a delightful lunch menu.

Maia asked me about Freedom After The Sharks, my recently published book. Then the conversation turned to her work across animal and nature communication. She wanted to know if I ever wondered what my pet was thinking or what my pet would say if he could talk. Did I know that animals do speak as humans do? 

Two years ago, I read a book called Animal Speak by Ted Andrews. Animal Speak teaches that our relationship with animals on this earth is not merely a physical one. It involves our mystical side too. The lessons learned will benefit the animals in our life by increasing our communication with and respect for them. In general, animals teach us valuable lessons. They offer guidance and support if our heart is open to shamanic teachings.

I explained to Maia that I have seen butterflies dancing around my head at 4500 ft of a hike, eagles circling my head at 7000 ft, and squawking red breasted Colorado hawks at 6000 ft. I had tarantula climbing on my foot during the daytime on a hike, watched mountain lions, elks, hummingbirds, ravens and many other species. These animals all carried a message at a certain time in my life and wanted to communicate with me. What if I could actually communicate with these animals and form a two-way communication and bond? Imagine the power of human nature, wisdom, and how this could change my life! I was amazed just with the possibilities.

From Maia’s website: “Talking with an animal directly is a powerful way to provide exactly what they desire, what they need, and what is in their highest good. And, besides that, animals have the most amazing and enlightening things to share with us about their way of viewing and living life, and they have great wisdom to share with us on living our own unique lives.

We communicate telepathically with all species of animals large and small including; wild animals, whales, dolphins, insects, plants and the Earth. It brings us great joy to inspire and guide others in awakening their own innate animal and nature listening abilities through our Telepathic Animal and Nature Communication Classes and a Certification Program in Telepathic Animal, Nature and Veterinary Communication. We work with veterinarians and other animal specialists training them in animal communication as a powerful tool to add to the already profound difference they make for people and their pets. And, we have the ongoing joy of training animal and Nature lovers and upcoming Telepathic Animal Communication Specialists in animal and Nature communication and coaching them on the development of their fulfilling lives and new careers.

I was fascinated and had a revelation. I had met Maia who teaches humans to speak with animals. Humans often have difficulties communicating with each other in our  business and personal lives. Why is this so?

Have you asked yourself why technology is so important? Just look around and you see why. Literally, at every instant of time, you are surrounded by technology. Whether you are working, resting or playing, you are always using technology. It is used everywhere and all the time.

Technology is about speed to reaction, performance, and 24/7 delivery. There are very few things that your smart phone will not allow you to complete: work, book a holiday, arrange a tennis match, entertainment. It is all possible. You can even find a new wife or husband online without speaking to them. It is all virtual but how is this effecting society? What are the long terms effects of virtual communication vs. an interactive discussion or meeting?

The internet, and especially social media, is having an impact on American couples as technology becomes more deeply integrated into people’s lives. A new study published by Pew Research Internet Project reveals that couples are feeling both the positive and negative effects of digital communication tools in their relationships.

The researchers found that 27% of American adults online who are in business, married, or in committed relationships report that the internet has had an impact on their relationships. A majority report that the impact has been positive. However, in some relationships, technology has been seen as a negative source of distraction. For example, 25% of cell phone users in serious relationships report that the phone distracts their spouse or partner when they are alone together.

Technology has changed the face of many relationships, affecting the way couples communicate, grow closer, plan, fight, and make up. The findings look at the role of technology in the lives of married or partnered adults, exploring both the positive and negative effects.

Maia has achieved an amazing revelation in her journey for communication with animals and nature. It certainly proves that simple communication whether verbalized or through telepathy is incredibly important to the relationship. It enhances our ability to build relationships and not deconstruct and build longevity and lasting relationships which is the traditional and social model that has survived.

I think that in the last 15 years, technological developments have given humans permission to evolve from purely direct communication to an advanced form of connection. We still need to meet face-to-face, speak on the telephone, and handwrite letters and cards primarily. But, now this interaction is enhanced and embellished by what we people define as connected technology.

Maia finished our discussion by saying that we all need smiles, feelings of fulfillment, feelings of empowerment, feelings of love, appreciation and gratitude. It inspires one’s unique creative expression and it enriches the human heart, mind and soul. These are things that unite humans. We need to be more thankful for the simple joy of being human.

The thrill lies in the challenge

Sedona, AZI was recently asked to go fishing with some friends in Sedona, Arizona, on Grasshopper Creek. Apart from many interesting challenges, this is a beautiful creek in the Red Rock  and one on the most beautiful destinations in the world.

So why exactly do people fish? Ask most anglers why they enjoy spending time in the outdoors and you’re likely to hear the word “freedom.” Spending a day afield casting for trout on a cool mountain stream or bobber fishing for bluegills on a pond helps to release us from our highly stressful, everyday environment. Nothing brings on the sense of being alive and helps to rebuild our personal reserves like a day spent interacting with nature.

Fishing has a way of fulfilling an age-old need of pursuing and catching. The thrill lies in the challenge, such as stalking an elusive wild trout or matching the hatch. But there are many who will be quick to profess that it’s not the catching of fish that’s important, but the immeasurable life lessons that you will experience along the way.

fishing 1 750Fishing provides that connection with the living world. It gives you the opportunity of being totally immersed, turning back into yourself in a good way. A form of meditation, some form of communion with levels of yourself that are deeper than the ordinary self.” – Ted Hughes

My partners were Rob, a successful budding entrepreneur in the Internet world, Shafeeq, a successful director of medicine in Neurology and Electrodiagnostic disorders, and Jon, a senior partner in law for investments and securities. They were my company on a two-day fishing experience. We discussed many subjects including innovation and strategy of new inventions and creativity. In summary we came up with what strategies you should be consider from an embryonic blank page to insight, which were:

1. Creativity

2. Mindset

3. Engage

4. Customer connected

5. Observe insights

6. Ask the right questions

7. Always challenge

8. Create a think tank

fishing 3 750Rob mentioned one really cool business that was launched in 2010: Pulse, an elegant news reader. The app has been downloaded by more than 20 million people and stands as one of the original fifty apps in Apple’s App Store Hall of Fame. Interesting enough the founders got many things right:

  • They started with a ‘driven’ mindset and were not content to merely comply with the standard requirements of their graduate program.
  • They minimized planning and maximised action, interacting with customers immediately.
  • They prototyped quickly and cheaply, fueling thousands of variations that ultimately resulted in their wildly popular final product.
  • They thrived in spite of time constraints, investment and spurred on by necessity to constantly develop creative ideas at an accelerated pace.

What companies do you follow or admire based on culture, values and performance and why?

Meeting Adara Blake

Adara Blake
Adara Blake

I recently had the pleasure to be in Sedona, Arizona, contemplating my next book.

Sedona is a city that straddles the county line between Coconino and Yavapai counties in the northern Verde Valley region of the U.S. state of Arizona.

Sedona’s main attraction is its array of ed sandstone formations. The formations seem to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun.

The red rocks form a popular backdrop for many activities, ranging from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails.

Sedona is also the city in the US where I wrote Freedom After The Sharks.

I decided one evening to have dinner at my one of my favorite restaurants in uptown overlooking the red rock, when I had the fortuitous of meeting Adara Blake. Adara’s revolution as a musician was greatly influenced as she began to record & produce her own music. She started a small recording studio out of her home & began to produce & record other local musicians as well.  Delving into the world of recording, really affected the way she thought about, wrote, created & heard music.

Adara began learning piano about six years ago.  Becoming a pianist, opened up Adara’s scope as a songwriter & singer.

We began talking about the meaning of words, the depth of the message in music and compared notes as artist’s in writing from poetry, music, performing arts to writing books, the power of words as a message that reaches audiences with love, compassion and prospective, how words can affect people’s moods, their light and even some of their darker moments.

The popularity of music and books show us that this is a part of our culture, but researchers continue to find that music and reading can also be an part of our health.

Scientists at the University of Missouri have found that people can boost their mood simply by listening to upbeat music or reading a book. Although pursuing personal happiness may be thought of as a self-centered venture, research suggests that happiness relates to a higher chance of socially beneficial behavior, better physical health, higher income, and greater relationship satisfaction.

People can successfully focus more on enjoying their experience of the journey towards happiness and not get hung up on the destination.

Once I provided the synopsis of Freedom After The Sharks, Adara spoke greatly about the love and passion for one of her songs Free Fall, which she decided to perform, which I must say was an excellent solo piece that caused an ovation of applause.

FREE FALL

Have you ever wandered
Lost in the dark
Nothing to hold you
No glimpse of a spark
No one to save you
As you’re falling apart
No one to love you
When you forgot who you are

Let it all come tumbling down
Laid deep, so deep into the ground
Let go, let go of all you know

Be fearless in the free fall
Be fearless in the free fall

Have you ever wanted
A place for your heart
Where it’s held softly
Safe from the dark
Have you ever needed
A break from the knots
That tie up your joy
With the pain that you got
Let it all come tumbling down
Laid soft, so soft inside the sounds
Let go, let go of who you thought

Should catch you, catch you when you fall
Should catch you, catch you when you fall

Have you ever pleaded
With your soul to be strong
When you feel half naked
& everything’s wrong
When you’re left to remember
All that you’ve lost
& you can’t find shelter
From the storms in your heart

Let it all come tumbling down
So deep, so deep into the ground
Take hold, the hand that’s placed beneath

It’s there for you if you just breathe
It’s there for you if you just breathe

Let go of your control
The fear that you’re all alone
We are so simply intertwined
More that you can ever know
So slow your spinning down
Feel the drifting of the flow
It is there to catch you
If you let go of what you hold

Let go of all you hold
Let it all come tumbling down
Laid soft, so soft inside the sounds
Let go, surrender, to it all

Be fearless in the free fall
Be fearless in the free fall
Be fearless in the free fall

Adara loves to write, “no matter how I am feeling at a certain moment in time or time of day, I know my words are the truth that will never change even when my feelings do, so I will write, I will write when I want to, giving myself love, grace and balance and having gratitude for the devotion and abilities to; write, create and perform to others which is the greatest gift of all

Adara’s new album New Crossing is available shortly, do visit her website!