|Slowly, slowly, the penny drops|
|Written by David Brunnen|
|Saturday, 21 April 2012 15:25|
Last week it was the cover leader in the Economist
The week before, the latest paper from the ITU – ‘First steps towards a manifesto for change’ – was added to the pile of global reports from impeccable sources.
In March it was the turn of Boston Consulting Group. Hardly any big brand in the consulting universe has still to pontificate on the digital drama that is unfolding in homes and businesses, governments and agencies, schools, universities and hospitals around the world.
Last month it was Sweden for Stockholm+40 – the international conference on sustainable living and innovative solutions.
Next month the cream of the world’s green brigade will hunker down in Rio de Janeiro for RIO+20 – reaffirming the commitments made 20 years ago at the Earth Summit – but still on the ‘things to do’ list.
Last year the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development delivered its first but very weighty report.
Next year the FTTH Council Europe will hold its massive annual conference in London for the first time in its 10-year history.
And very very gradually the world is waking up to the reality of digital democratization – not just in the global political arena but in all aspects of commercial and everyday life.
Economics is about priorities. Success in economic deficit reduction hinges on the enabling pre-requisite of digital deficit reduction.
Even with this evidence of inevitability there are still a few digital deniers and many who hope that they can get by with a short-term fix. Some of those, the technically aware, should know better but still they succumb to last-generation commercial models - or wishful thinking.
But futurologists tell us again and again that we ignore obvious signs. Maybe those straws in the wind are just too scary. If we close our eyes maybe the big bad wolf will go away? Almost certainly global progress will be uneven – some countries are already megastreets ahead in digital infrastructure investment.
But, as song-writer Tom Paxton wrote over 40 years ago, ‘the thought stays free’. The empowerment that flows from digital connectivity unleashes ‘innovation without permission’.
And there’s the rub – world leaders in commerce and politics need to adjust to whole populations who have this new-found power to go where they want to go and do exactly what they want to do.
As governments and business leaders seek to manage their economies, as they appeal for an ‘ordered society’, as they yearn for a lost age of deference, the penny very slowly but inevitably is dropping and their best tactic for survival is to embrace change.
The digital day has dawned and today's essential infrastructure needs now to be future-proofed.
Any country that does not have as its topmost priority, a drastic reduction of its digital deficit is, alas, doomed to a long slow decline.
This editorial was written for members of the UK's Communications Management Association, part of the BCS - the chartered society for ICT professionals.
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