By Pilar Roch
“The Internet puts traditional hierarchies and cultural barriers into question.”.
– From the Global Commission on Internet Governance.
The Internet has changed the way we communicate and relate to each other. All on the basis of a common foundation: free access to information.
The current “digital age”, of which we have not yet seen much, is built on a multi-stakeholder infrastructure and governance: governments, companies and civil society participate free and democratically in the construction of a non-hierarchical network based on a philosophy of sharing.
Close to three billion people use the internet in a multi-directional way: they consume and create content in an environment with marginal costs—or even at zero cost—both in terms of access (public networks) and services (blogging platforms, social media…).
We are in an age of cooperation, sharing, collaborating and learning. It is the age of peer-to-peer, connecting people and intellects, bringing down boundaries and barriers, sharing knowledge, submitting or receiving ideas individually or collectively, adding to ideas and perfecting them.
Hence the relationship between the Internet and innovation. Ideas have a breeding ground without barriers, and they find a way of speeding up in an environment with exponential margins for growth, something that has never seen before.
They also allow any company to become visible in the digital world, irrespective of its size or financial muscle, and to establish new relationship patterns—more personalized, transparent and immediate—also with digital consumers. In this respect, the Internet reduces the distance between large and small companies, making them equal in the eyes of many and in many respects.
Thus, along with traditional price and cost variables, other differential business aspects emerge such as quality, innovation and reputation, the latter based on ethics and transparency; on how consumers perceive us because of what we do and how we do it.
The difference between products and services offered by different companies decreases by the day (differences in price and quality have been reduced, and geographically everything is available almost without barriers), such that the distinction between companies is established in another field, where the game is contributing and giving back to society; a playing field where what is important is values.
People, at the forefront of innovation and talent
Digitalization has brought with it process automation, a threat that is not insignificant in terms of employment. A study carried out by Oxford University in 2013 predicted that 47% working places in a developed economy like the United States could be automated in the coming decades.
Far from being a punishment, the digital revolution also entails a myriad of opportunities for economic and social progress. In terms of employment, it will give rise to new professional profiles that did not exist until now and will create—as it already does—high added value jobs, all revolving around values like creativity, innovation and flexibility.
The digital revolution will also contribute to the creation of an economy where there is freedom to learn, collaborate and exchange “knowledge assets” that have never been as accessible before.
In light of all this, the truth is that we currently have a clear decompensation between the number of profiles in demand with digital skills and those offered by the job market.
Mechanisms are therefore becoming necessary to help detect and uncover talent, from within or without the traditional perimeter in organization, keeping in mind that traditional barriers are blurred and become permeable in a digital world.
Practices like ideas crowdsourcing are, also according to Gartner, are spearheading the search for digital talent.
Pilar Roch is COO of ideas4all Innovation.
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