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Digital Disruption Is Past; Innovation Owns the Future

When Harvey Nash Australia recently hosted many of Sydney's most innovative thinkers for our third annual digital event, we had a fantastic opportunity to explore the strategy, culture and structure of how successful businesses are capitalising on technology. 

The event (click here for pictures) drew a large crowd to hear from our fabulous panel of experts: Matt Barrie (CEO & Chairman,, Rebekah Horne (Chief Digital Officer, Network Ten), Andrew Walduck (Executive General Manager & CIO, Australia Post) and Adam Rigby (Founder & CEO, Nabo Australia). Lots of energy and enthusiasm led to a lively discussion about the future of innovation, with #hndigital capturing observations like these:

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We started off the evening by sharing some of the trends Harvey Nash has been tracking in its research, both our pre-event digital pulse survey and our last CIO Survey. From the former:

1. Expect greater impact from digital disruption in 2015
2. Biggest threat to success of digital strategy is lack of skills
3. IT budgets are growing in line with digital investment

And from the latter:

  • Digital innovation will be a huge factor in driving future market leadership
  • Still lots to be done to fulfill innovation potential
  • Innovation resources are not keeping up with digital/technology demand

We ended that discussion with a peek at the soon-to-be-released findings of our 2015 CIO Survey. (Watch for announcements!) Highlights of the ensuing discussion follow.

'Digital' Is So Overdone. That message was loud and clear. The concept of 'digital disruption' was absolutely relevant 10 years ago when everyone started digitising things. Today, it's more about technology innovation and how we use it to revolutionise our lives. Just as films and television were once described as black & white or color, event participants were pretty unanimous in their feeling that there is no need to talk about anything 'digital' anymore because everything is digital. Disruption has become the norm, so assume digital and move on to innovation. That's where the battle for competitive advantage will be won.

Innovation Is More than Technology. Innovation is not limited to the IT world; it is a business function, increasingly reflected in a more hybrid structure and shared responsibility for digital innovation. Sometimes that sharing is between Marketing and IT, but Harvey Nash research also uncovered an interesting cypher: in 13% of organisations, it is neither IT nor Marketing carrying the digital banner. In those cases, it is likely that digital initiatives roll up directly to a business unit.

Skills Shortages Continue. This needle hasn't moved. There continues to be a global shortage of critical skills, although one role where we clearly need greater focus is that of data scientists.

Communication Is More Critical than Ever. The world continues to shrink, with lots more remote interaction and less 'hallway management.' When you work with people all over the world, combined with the speed at which we all move, it is more critical than ever to communicate with greater clarity and effectiveness. The opportunity for misinterpretation across cultures, languages, time zones and miles is far too great to leave things open to interpretation.

Additional commentary from our panelists was captured on video and included:

Matt Barrie on innovations, from Bitcoin to 3-D printing to personalized medicine, all driven by data analytics... small data analytics. 

Rebekah Horne on how business is changing through the democratization of business practices for consumers, leading to better customer experiences and better engagement. 

Andrew Walduck on the challenges of transforming a traditional business, the need for people to embrace the transformation and for leadership to turn things upside down to effect lasting change.  

Adam Rigbyon grassroots social networking and the opportunity to change the world, one small step at a time.

It was a great evening! For every question answered, however, another one surfaced. Clearly, the state of innovation is in flux. There are no hard and fast rules for inventing the future. That is a conclusion echoed by the just-released findings of Gartner's 2015 CEO and Senior Executive Survey: growth is the priority and technology is a primary tool for achieving it, with most CEOs expecting positive business conditions and accelerating technology innovation. What are your thoughts? We'd love to hear from you! 

Anna Frazzetto;                                                                                         Bridget Gray
SVP & MD                                                                                                   Managing Director
International Technology Solutions                                                             Harvey Nash APAC
Harvey Nash Inc