Monday, July 28, 2014

Communications professionals have only five years to understand digital, or become unemployable, and other professions are close behind

Back in 2009 I started telling communications professionals that they had ten years to understand digital channels and integrate them into their thinking, or there would no longer be jobs for them in the industry.

I also blogged about this in February 2010.

At the time this was highly confronting to a number of experienced comms people, and I got quite a bit of push-back, particularly from more senior and experienced professionals about how their skills would always be necessary and valued.

I've stuck to this prediction and still refer to it regularly when presenting on the topic, adjusted for the number of years remaining. We're now at five years and counting.

Today I came across a post by Anika Johnson in her LinkedIn blog 'Why digital is no longer optional (or why digital shouldn’t exist at all)' which points out that communications professionals with strong digital skills are now earning more than traditional communications people - and their jobs didn't even exist a few years ago.

She also has a prediction on timelines:
My prediction is that if you work as a communications, media relations or marketing professional and you continue to avoid digital you will probably have trouble finding a job within five years. It’s harsh I know but the horse has already bolted. My world is already digital – yours, whether you like it or not, is too.
Five years left if you're a traditional communications professional, unwilling to build your digital skills.

However the digital transformation society is undergoing isn't restricted to communications, so it isn't only people working in media, PR, strategic, internal and corporate communications, marketing and market research who are affected.

For everyone else out there, the digital steamroller is encroaching on your turf too.

Police and emergency services increasingly use social media to gather intelligence, coordinate and communicate during emergencies.

Human resources (or 'People' as they now like to be known as) personnel conduct the majority of their recruitment and employee checks online and increasingly employee issues involve the use of digital channels.

Teachers source materials and learn via online mechanisms, communicating with busy parents via emails and running portals for gathering assignments.

Policy officers conduct their research and source views online, tracking influencers and activists on social channels.

Service delivery officers increasingly respond to requests and complaints via digital and social channels, and the services they deliver are increasingly digital-first.

Engineers and IT professionals manage and host their projects in the cloud, as do accountants and bankers their books.

Lawyers keep up with common law rulings and law changes via digital repositories and carry tablets instead of trolleys of files, and senior executives increasingly access their board papers and organisational dashboards via handheld digital devices.

Landscapers and builders plan their work via online tools and taxi drivers live on their GPS systems in most large cities - even when they know every street, their internet connected device gives them the fastest route for the day's conditions.

Soldiers are increasingly using digital tools to assist in everything from surveillance (like drones) to logistics support, with the first autonomous robotic sentry devices currently in active testing

There's few professions unaffected by digital and, in most cases, the better the understanding of the digital tools at their disposal the better an individual can perform.

Of course many of these professions has more than five years before someone with no interest or aptitude for digital becomes unemployable, however in most cases it won't be longer than twenty years.

Indeed some of these professions may even disappear or be replaced - who needs taxi drivers when we have autonomous cars?

So if you're in any profession and still resist learning and applying digital approaches and tools to your job requirements, you're probably in the twilight years of your career.

Enjoy these years while they last. There will be plenty of digitally savvy youngsters (and oldsters too) ready to take on your role when you are no longer suitable.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Innovation in Ageing Challenge launched by SA Office for the Ageing and TACSI

Coming hot on the heels of the VicHealth Physical Activity Innovation Challenge, the South Australian Office for the Ageing in the South Australian Department of Health has partnered with TACSI (The Australian Centre for Social Innovation) to launch an Innovation in Ageing Challenge.

The Challenge invites teams to review two briefs and come up with an idea for a great social business.

Up to ten shortlisted entries will have their teams invited to a two-day pitch training workshop, and the top pitches will be awarded a share of the $100,000 in funding available.

The winning teams will then have six months of rigorous support and mentoring to develop their business model.

Anyone in the world can enter the challenge, although entries have to demonstrate how they will materially benefit older people within South Australia (which is reasonable enough).

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

VicHealth launches Physical Activity Innovation Challenge

VicHealth appears to be one of only a few agencies across Australian state and federal governments that has made a solid attempt at introducing public challenges as an adjunct to traditional policy approaches.

While most governments in Australia still use the same techniques for policy creation that they've used for 80 or more years, after the success of last year's Seed Challenge, VicHealth recently launched a new challenge around physical activity innovation.

With $400,000 in start-up funds available to be awarded to the best ideas, the new challenge invites sports bodies, entrepreneurs and changemakers to develop innovative approaches to get more Victorians physically active.

With information available at VicHealth's website, the Physical Activity Innovation Challenge both brings the public and various sporting and innovation bodies into the policy development process, and helps expose the department to the latest thinking and ideas around prompting people to take up physical activity.

This is the type of thinking that more Australian policy makers need to adopt in recognition that expertise is no longer concentrated within government agencies, and that they need to look further than the 'usual suspects' of lobbyists, activists and pressure groups, for great ideas to feed into policy development processes.



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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What happened at Innovation GovCamp 2014 (Canberra)

Last Saturday Australia's first national GovCamp was held as part of the Innovation Month program.

Innovation GovCamp 2014 involved events in six locations across Australia. Over 500 people registered to attend.

I attended (and helped organise) the event in Canberra, at the Inspire Centre at the University of Canberra.

It was a good day - with planned and impromptu discussions across five topic streams. There were a few technical issues with live broadcasting national sessions to all six locations, however we were able to adapt around this.

A report is being compiled by the national organisers, John Wells and Allison Hornery, however I've also put together a video slideshow that tells the story of the day, from my perspective.

The slideshow (embedded below) was compiled from the photos the camera I wore took. Called a Narrative Clip, and used for 'lifestreaming' the camera was mounted (visibly) on my lapel, and automatically took a photo every 30 seconds.

The Narrative Clip was lent to me by Alexander Hayes, an international expert on emerging technologies and Professional Associate with the College of Adjuncts at the University of Canberra, INSPIRE Centre.

The video slideshow was cut-down from the 800+ photos the Narrative Clip took throughout the day.

It was my first experience using a wearable electronic device for that length of time. I found that while it did capture some interesting moments, a large number of the automatic photographs were of not-so interesting moments or simply too blurred for use.

I did reduce the size of the photos (and therefore their resolution if viewed full screen) to accelerate the process of producing the video slideshow.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Presentation from the AEMI Connections! Social Media in Emergency Management Conference

Last week I spent two days in the Australian Emergency Management Institute's Mt Macedon training centre facilitating and presenting at the Connections! Social Media in Emergency Management Master Class and conference.

It was an excellent event, with some outstanding presentations representing both government and public use of social media in emergencies.

Below is my presentation setting the scene for the use of social media in emergency management.

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