Be Human 2: Telstra Digital Summit 2013 Takeaways

The Telstra Digital Summit 2013 had a group of exceptional speakers with Robert Scoble, Shel Israel, Brian Solis and Tapan Bhat all sharing their perspectives on digital transformation facilitated by Monty Hamilton and Gerd Schenkel of Telstra Digital.  In addition there were panels on Telstra’s digital journey and the experience of a group of Pollenizer start-ups.

What did I take away?

Be Human 2

Just like the recent Products are Hard Conference, the key theme of the day was a need to deeply understand human behaviour. Whether it was the impact of sensors on our understanding of customer action, big data, focusing on design for customer journeys or building communities, better performance depends on better understanding of human behaviour.  

We are reaching a point where the opportunity of technology to enable us will offer wide choice, our understanding of human behaviour will enable us to design our responses. Ultimately our ability to build and leverage human relationships with technology will be key to our success.

Be Relevant

Robert Scoble reminded us all that 3% response or click rates are 97% irrelevance rates. That 97% irrelevance is a large drag in a real human experience and our businesses.  We need to leverage our understanding and relationships with our customers to do better by being more relevant – personal, timely, trusted, insightful and offering valuable choices

Be Responsive

How we want to offer our product no longer matters.  We are no longer in a broadcast or distribution world. We are in a personal, engaging and much more human one.

Customers will have the ability to pull and to choose.  We will be designing our paths of choices that will be triggered by customer actions.  Instead of pushing out to customers, the questions is what paths we offer to lure them in informed by our understanding of their customer behaviour. When they come in, we will need to deliver to them the best of our network of capabilities. That requires a fundamentally more responsive organisation

Trust matters

Human nature revolves around trust assessments.  It came up again and again during the day.  Businesses need to see building deep and trusting relationships internally and externally as a key part of competitive success. Remember trust demands internal and external alignment, real capabilities and consistent delivery.

Design and Learn for Scale

Fixed mindsets, static knowledge and narrow focus may offer comfort but run high risk in times of volatile change.  Leverage the scale opportunities of the new global network economy.  Most of all design your activities to learn and grow at scale. Australia is a small market and Australian businesses have the talent and potential to reach far.

We don’t know where we are going

From big companies to little startups, the comment was the same.  The outcome cannot be predicted: Jump off a cliff and build the plane on the way down.  That will demand a significant improvement in your organisations agility, engagement and trust in people to deliver before you hit the ground. Command and control, hierarchy and meetings won’t save you.  To borrow a Telstra phrase used in the day, you may need to invest early in ‘a few long poles’ to establish connections and options to accelerate your responses later.

Disclosure: I received a free ticket to the summit and a copy of The Age of Context by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel thanks to Telstra Digital.

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