The Get Digital DICE Conference
Bill Gates and Collins Hemingway claimed that,
“Business is going to change more in the next ten years than in the last fifty”(Gates and Hemingway, 2000).
The three DICE conferences I attended gave me an insight into how business is rapidly changing and to adapt to this we must GET STARTED, GET SOCIAL, GET DIGITAL. On the 11th of April, I attended our last DICE event GET DIGITAL CONFERENCE. In the current business environment, the word DIGITAL is on everyone’s agenda as evidenced by a recent survey of 1,160 managers, executives and board members in companies that revealed they engaged in digital initiatives. Dr.Johnny Walker, David Erixon, and Alistair Croll informed me how with the right vision, effective leadership and a supportive culture, any sector can transition and succeed in this Digital epoch.
The future of health = DIGITAL
Growing into a family of doctors, the inefficiency and incompetence of the Irish health-care system were a constant subject of debate at the dinner table.In a recent OECD report, Mark Pearson reiterates my parent’s complaints by contrasting the Irish health care with others around the world. Mortality rates are below the OECD average due to a lack of resources and funding, which lead to Pearson declaring it an “inequitable and inefficient healthcare system”(Pearson, 2017). Thus based on my knowledge of the weaknesses prevalent in our health care, I was interested to hear how the Australian-born Johnny Walker proposed to improve the health system by digital innovations.
Dr. Johnny Walker, an intervention radiologist and nuclear physician began with the prediction that the future of health is
“not going to be a revolution but an evolution which is digitally driven”.
Health care in the past
His account of the evolution first began with the story of his ‘Magical Journey’ in the medical world. The defining moment of his career was when he was trapped in Fitzroy during the year 1995. His first five patients were aboriginal women that his daughter remarked: “all went to the same hairdresser”.While in Fitzroy, he discovered the glaring injustice prevalent in Western Australia. I could see the humanitarian side of Walker when he declared there was “a compelling need to care for people in the area”. Walker went on to reveal that complications regarding pregnant diabetic women were a major issue at the time. The solution was “when in doubt, fly it out”
Take a look at this ABC Australia video which illustrates startling gap between indigenous and non indigenous health (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc6gj8gPfpk).
Dr.Johnny Walker’s first step in the transition to digital was a telegraphy practice, where a 3k telephone wire was used with a mobile ultra-sound at the back of his car. This developed into global diagnostics which delivers care to three and a half thousand patients around the clock through a secure web-based portal.
How can the health care system in Ireland go Digital?
Johnny pinpointed the blatant problem in the Irish health care system is it’s doctor focused and although some may see them as superheroes, doctors are just like every other human in existence, “they make mistakes”. In his view, the solution to the chaotic, unsustainable and inefficient health-care calamity is to keep patients within the community. How can this be achieved? A paradigm shift from the doctor to the home. Which resulted in Johnny creating his company Jinga Life. The Jinga Life website defines the company as a
” Platform where a personal Electronic Health Record (EHR) for each member of the family, maintained and managed by the true curator of care within a family, the Jinga” (jinga-life, 2017).
So the question to ask is what’s the Jinga? Jinga was a 16th Century African Queen – the great defender and fierce protector of her people. Jinga represents women as based on evidence in “ninety-two percent of cases the gender of the carer is female”. Johnny believes the contemporary Jinga (woman) shares many of these attributes and is central to health outcomes.
Disruption in health
At the Get Social Conference in February, Eric Weaver of Xerox defined disruption as “uncontrollable forces affecting businesses”. Dr. Johnny Walker coined the term regarding the health system as
“a tSunami of consumer driven disruption”
This refers to how in today’s exacting society, everyone wants everything rapidly which the health sector must respond too. Well-known examples of responses to the internet-of-things include webdoctor.Ie, Babylon Health and teleconsultations.
He also revealed the staggering fact that by 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices to track your health. So who will own these devices? The Jinga ‘mother figure’ can monitor their kids once they’re born. He advised for teenagers to be the custodians of their own personal data and not to forget, as many do, the ‘silver surfers’ i.e the ageing population with the greatest disposable income and interest in their health.
Can pharmacy’s adapt is the question he posed? I’ve never considered pharmacy’s central to health-care but Walker believes if they disrupt their industry successfully and become digital kiosks.
Final question : What’s the major issue in the move to digital health-care?
According to Walker, An over-saturation of data is a real challenge that pharmacy’s and the health sector must tackle. I personally hate being bombarded with data and through software we kind find brain scans, blood pressure, temperature… but what do we do it with it all?
Another question are we ready for it? Digital designs such as the cyber-knife and 3D printing of brain tumours are astounding but they evaporate the personal-quality of health-care. My doctor and I, have a personal relationship and he holds the information on my health that I want and need. Whereas with new apps that provide you with any form of data regarding your health, an unhealthy obsession could be fostered and for a hypochondriac like myself, do I really want to know what my cholesterol levels are at every hour? I also want to speak and ask for guidance from my doctor, something one of those apps could never give me.
The lasting message the insightful Dr.Johnny Walker gave us was,
“Look, Listen, Design, Disrupt, Transform”.
That quote seems to encapsulate everything I’ve learned over the past year as a DICE student.
The Future of banking = DIGITAL
The second speech of the evening was based on another fundamental in our society, Money. The smooth-talking Swede, David Erixon (the Head of Digital and Customer Innovation at Ulster Bank) provided us with his expert perspectives on how the digital world is invoking massive changes in banking.
My experience of working in a shop last summer led me to the realisation that money is a commodity seldom used. Card and contact-less payments have become ubiquitous. David Erixon highlighted this where he pointed to Sweden, a country where there’s “less than two percent of transactions with physical money”. This has led the Swedish Central Bank to create a ‘digital only currency’.
Digital Banking = more control for the customer
In the past, people were ignorant about their finances and allowed banks full control over everything. Recently, due to innovations in digital banking, banks have less control and customers have more. API’s coupled with more progressive legislation and cloud technology has given customers access to information about their finances. Erixon provided us with an example of 22 seven, a budgeting and investing apps, powered by customers. This empowers customers to make the right decisions about their finances by equipping them with information and advice on how to best spend their money.
Will more control lead to the extinction of banks?
The economist Jonathan McMillan wrote in “The ending of banking”, that ;
“Information technology offers new possibilities that make banking redundant” ,(McMillan, 2015).
He argues that because of apps such as 22seven, banks are losing control, customers are gaining control and knowledge and no longer need to avail of the services of banks. On the basis of the speech by David Erixon, the future of banking is not that dire. Although new digital technologies have disrupted the banking sector, they’ve also acted as a form of creative destruction by fuelling new possibilities and innovations in banking. Erixon illustrated how Ulster Bank have used these disruptions to their advantage by incentives like ‘Hack make the bank’. David Erixon left us with the concluding statement,
“We come to a point with technology that if we can think it, we can make it”
The secret behind discontinuities
The last speaker of the conference was Alistair Croll, boasting an impressive career as an entrepreneur, author and public speaker for over 20 years I was excited to hear his opinion about going digital in business. His speech focused on discontinuities i.e changes or the upturn of the normal. He pointed how discontinuities have affected the evolution of society such as the advent of the smartphone. In the past (some might say simpler times), ‘back in time for dinner’ would not be texted and people would not see friends for months and not be able to know exactly what they’re doing every moment of the day. With the smartphones, we now have a ‘prosthetic leg’ that ’30 percent of people have to check before they go to bed’.
When considering discontinuities, Croll pointed to three major facts,
1.) Big changes sneak up on us
This point was illustrated by the ‘Great Horse Manure Crisis’ in New York, where with 100,000 horses, 2.5 million pounds of horse manure was covering the streets of New York a day. This was a completely unexpected crisis that snook up on the New York council until they had to take action.
2.) Optimize current view instead of existing ones
The example of the obsoletience of the well known movie-renting Blockbuster is evidence of how waiting for the future instead of making the future happen is never the way to go. Croll explained how “Broadband thought it was in the video store management business. Netflix realised it was in the entertainment delivery business’. Netflix created a different frame, blockbuster kept their old one. Who’s the billion dollar business now? Netflix.
3) Necessary pieces aren’t obvious
The story of the how Joseph Preistly’s atomiser created the first efficient fuel engine definitely displays how not everything in life is axiomatic. I’m currently watching the Netflix original show GirlBoss about the life of Sophia Amorouso. Sophia founded the vintage clothes company NastyGal completely unexpectedly when she realised the demand for vintage clothes was extremely high.
How should we think about the future?
According to Croll, we should look the future on an economical perspective in terms of Abundance and scarcity and how supply creates demand. Abundance refers to how in this ‘attention economy’ information is abundant and technology is the main tool that creates this plethora of information. However, this computing technology that used to be precious has become a resource we scarcely know to bill for. With all this technology, there’s increased efficiency, less consumption, lower costs and demand has created supply.
The last DICE conference provided me with a comprehensive view on how the business world is transforming into a digital empire. Over the past year, DICE has equipped me with the knowledge of how to take risks and get started, to market effectively and get social and finally how to change with the future and get digital. On a lasting note, the Senior Vice President of retail at Apple Inc, Angela Ahrendts sums up exactly what I’ve learned from where the future of business is going
“I grew up in a physical world and I speak English. The next generation is growing up in a digital world and they speak social”( Glaser, 2012).
Gates, B. and Hemingway, C. (2000). Business @ the speed of thought. 1st ed. London: Penguin.
Glaser, J. (2012). 42 rules for creating WE. 1st ed. Cupertino, CA: Superstar Press.
Jinga Life. (2017). [online] Available at: http://www. Jinga Life.com [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].
McMillan, J. (2015). End of Banking. 1st ed. BookBaby.
Images- Google images.