COVID-19 has re-contextualised and accelerated digital transformation initiatives for the majority of businesses. The pandemic has also redefined priorities, barriers, and mindsets within whatever that pre-pandemic definition of transformation was. Businesses are finally recognising digital transformation as a “have-to-have,” not a “nice-to-have.” Businesses are investing heavily in emerging technologies as they become essential for survival. But leaders realise more distinct business value through the combined power of emerging technologies being aligned towards achieving outcomes—versus the less fortunate that remain trapped by “piecemeal” implementations.

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Rob Davidson

COVID: our big test is what happens next

Can you imagine it? The cold beer brought to you in a tall glass so chilled there is condensation thick on the outside, obscuring the golden, frothy, elixir you've been waiting for. A hot sunny day, you are sticky but relaxed and it is the waiting staff that buzz around toiling. And the sound of people laughing and conversing, in groups (!), at tables all around you... and your friend leans in to deliver the punchline of a joke. Your whole table bursts into laughter.

These days may be near upon us. From 12th April, we can meet in pub gardens in groups of up to 6 people. There is light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel.

The story of the COVID vaccine is one of human triumph, a scientific work that may rival trips to the moon, if I may be so bold. When faced with a global pandemic, humanity was able to produce not one but several cures in less than a year. Our returning rights and freedoms have come from this great feat of bioscience, chemistry and logistics.

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Lord Clement-Jones

The DRCF: Priorities for UK Digital Regulation

Last July the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Office of Communications (Ofcom) formed the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF) which last month outlined its priorities in a Workplan for 2021/22.

The creation of the DRCF is a significant move by these regulators in the coordination of regulation across digital and online services and, as they say, recognises the unique challenges posed by regulation of online platforms which are playing an increasingly important role in our lives.

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James Belchamber

Fire your rockstars

This week, the Free (Libre) and Open Source Software community are attempting to remove an activist (known for their repugnant and bigoted views) from the board of the Free Software Foundation, an important institution in the FLOSS community. The activist - Richard Stallman - founded the organisation and is widely considered to be the founder of the Free Software movement.

He is also something of a cult figure amongst many, who respect his achievements and follow his leadership in all walks of life - something of a problem with leaders that (in a most charitable reading) are thoughtless about who they harm when they speak.

Every community starts with one person - as such, it's tempting to think that these "rockstars" are an inevitable and innate risk. But what if we re-framed the role of a leader - not as a big personality that led from the front, becoming an embodiment of the community they created - but with an expectation that they create communities that quickly outgrow them, and build the processes and institutions that don't need them?

What if we expected all leaders to become quickly unnecessary, before some of them become embedded and toxic?

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Successful trends follow similar paths: first, they’re a competitive advantage for early-adopters—then they become native to everyone who stays in the game. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a forced shift to digital; companies and individuals are learning what digital transformation really means and what “making digital native” looks like. The same will happen to sustainability—in all its forms from environmental, to social, to financial. Sustainability must become native to all businesses and government policy globally—as a part of every decision—from the leadership team to the shop floor.

Sustainability services will be instrumental in making the changes we know we have to make.

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