Digital Transformation: Surviving in an Exponential World

by Todd J. Fisher, Friday, March 4, 2022

The Exponential Age Will Transform Economics Forever piece shared here was published in WIRED UK on June 9, 2021, and is an excerpt from Azeem Azhar’s book, Exponential (Published by Diversion Books in September 2021)

I recently shared the amazing growth rate of the IoT with a piece of curated content and offered my thoughts regarding what such IoT growth might mean; my commentary ended with a challenge of sorts – embrace continuous change and develop what I referred to as strategic plasticity or face the consequences of falling into the “exponential technology gap.” The concept of this “gap” is critically important to consider and sits at the center of the biggest challenge business leaders face today: understanding the full impact of an exponential acceleration in the rate of change and how to adapt accordingly.

In the WIRED piece shared above, Azhar makes an important point when he states, “most of the institutions that make up our society follow a linear trajectory.”  They have a myopic view of change, one that favors risk management over creative experimentation, and stability is an “important force.” The very notion of a hyper-adaptive organization fueled by continuous innovation sits in direct contrast with the “important force” of stability.  

Azhar sums up the biggest challenge facing business leaders today. 

The gap between our institutions’ capacity to change and our new technologies’ accelerating speed is the defining consequence of our shift to the Exponential Age.

Azhar’s words may seem to suggest a single consequence, which can be inferred as unfavorable to more well-established businesses that have habituated to incremental change along a linear slope. Wait, there is hope.  As you read the full piece, you will see that the author does not mean to suggest that such a consequence is predetermined. Rather, a key takeaway is to wrap your head around the real nature and impact of exponential technologies as they converge to form new ecosystems with new challenges. To survive cultural lag demands true transformation.  The piece shared here offers some keen insights into why so many seemingly capable business leaders with a history of success are experiencing so much difficulty in the face of today’s flavor of change. 

As we have said all along, Digital Transformation is about much more than technology.  This piece, and the book from which the excerpt was taken, offers a valuable perspective worth the time.

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