Digital Transformation as the main accelerator of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

January 23, 2016 will be a date remembered as one of the most emblematic in the history of the 21st century, and yet for most of the world was just another day. That day, the World Economic Forum announced in Davos, Switzerland, that the world had just entered the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Digital Transformation is a discipline born in Silicon Valley which seeks to profoundly, radically and rapidly transform companies that have entered the 21st century with the mentality, processes and legacy systems of the twentieth century.

The first objective of this framework is to allow corporations to survive the digital tsunami; Second, to be transformed at the level of culture, processes, and technology; And, finally, to be governed by the new rules imposed on the world by the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

You can not be successful in the twenty-first century by respecting the rules of the twentieth century, rules from an entire millennium that has already gone by.

The future has ceased to be what it was in the past. It is unpredictable where the world is heading or what disruptive innovation will transform it in the next year.

We are living a technological revolution that is accelerating exponentially in all the sciences and all industries. This acceleration is due mainly to 4 factors:

The Cloud or Cloud Computing
That for the first time gives sciences, industries, companies and even people almost unlimited digital processing and storage capabilities. Thanks to this, all science and industries and several companies are accelerating exponentially.

The Startup Culture
A new generation of people is constantly asking themselves the most important question of them all: Why? Why should cars continue to use gasoline? -> Tesla Motors. Why can not a private company attend the international space station? -> Space X. Why do not we design a real connection between the brain and computers? -> Neuralink.

What have all these companies in common? They all were created and belong to the same person: Elon Musk.

Elon Musk, one of the most emblematic expert-generalist

Musk represents the third derivative of the planet’s digital transformation. A new breed of entrepreneurs who are not afraid to challenge everything, restless, who detest staying within their comfort zone, true knowmads or “expert-generalists” who are not afraid to jump from an industry to another, like Musk, from electrical cars and home batteries, to spacecrafts, to machine-brain connections.

Internet everywhere
Internet is the digital nervous system of the planet. Look at it like that, not through its social media channels. Already 3 billion people are connected to the internet and in a few years we will be 7 billion people connected. Whether it’s Facebook, Google, Linkedin or Twitter, it does not matter, it’s the way anyone anywhere, anytime, can connect with someone or an institution, to access information and transform it into knowledge.

And what is Digital Transformation?
The future is not someplace where we are heading, it is something that is coming towards us, and, although Digital Transformation sounds more digital than anything, it is fundamentally a cultural change, where innovation and the permanent challenge of the status quo is part of the DNA of every person in the firm and even its share and stakeholders.

Innovate and disrupt, or be disrupted!

These are the characteristics of the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

  • Rapid, radical and disruptive innovation in all industries and sciences. Destruction of pre-existing business models.
  • Generation of new spaces and opportunities for fast, visionary and innovative companies.
  • Hypercompetence and hypercompetitiveness. Smart Data Driven Companies: BI + Social + Big Data + Cloud Computing + Machine Learning.
  • Companies with purpose: They leave a positive footprint on the world.
  • Hiperculture: Exciting corporate cultures, supported by the digital phenomenon, social media and mobile.
  • Innovation: A permanent challenge to the status quo. Innovation springs spontaneously from all areas of the company. This new reality can be a great threat to companies and countries that have been anchored in a vision of the world based on how things used to work in the previous century, without noticing that everything in their ecosystems has dramatically changed and will continue to change at an even greater and accelerating pace.

It is also a hyper-culture that transforms businesses from the inside out. Some companies are making an enormous effort of adaptation while the more audacious, agile and visionary are protagonists of this change, leading the digital revolution.

The way digital transformation works is deeply disruptive, so much that most companies will be seriously affected or will disappear completely in a very short time if they don´t apply it.

This will happen because of a total lack of vision from their leaders (usually Baby Boomers or GeneXers) of the revolution happening around them and inside their companies. The reason? Their previous successes made them arrogant and careless. Because of these previous successes, they lowered their guard and became victims of Digital Darwinism:

A state of business failure where technology and society move faster than the company’s ability to adapt.

The problem is not technological, it is mental. It seems like a lie, but the main obstacle to digital transformation lies in the mindset of the board and the managers of the company.

It seems that business leaders (thank God not all) have not realized that everything around them has changed and is going to change even faster, that sciences and industries are all accelerating at the speed of light, that their competition is global, that all business models are being threatened and, unfortunately, their past successes are their worst weaknesses, because it has made them arrogant and now they need to unlearn what they´ve learned to make them successful in the previous century.

This mindset, in the 21st century is punished very severely: Arrogance + Ignorance = Irrelevance (or rather, extinction).

Pablo Bermúdez
CEO | Hashtag

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