Raising digital awareness - breaking the cycle of ignorance
Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC
While increased digital awareness and understanding is crucial in enabling organisations to adapt to the new digital age, there is a fundamental paradox here which may lie at the core of why this is proving challenging for many businesses and institutions. This can be summed up as ‘How do we become aware of something we aren’t aware of?’. It has parallels with the somewhat infamous quote by the former US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, where he talked about ‘unknown unknowns’. Although this attracted much derision at the time, the important point he was making was that if we don’t know we are ignorant about something, then there is no incentive to discover the thing we don’t know. Only when we recognise our own ignorance are we likely to look to address shortcomings in our knowledge.
To become aware requires organisations – and individuals – to be curious, to want to learn and explore new possibilities, to look beyond the ‘conventional wisdom’. But many established organisations are poorly placed to do this. Such organisations tend to be well-adapted to the much more stable environment which prevailed during the latter part of the 20th century. In this context, the norms of a well-informed hierarchy directing the organisation’s activities based on their experience, an educational model in which learning is something which is primarily undertaken during our formative years, be that at school, university or in the form of professional qualifications, augmented by experience gained ‘on the job’, and a tendency to internalise activities and look inwards rather than outwards for solutions have often predominated.
Such norms are poorly suited to the new digital age, where new technologies are giving rise to rapid change and uncertainty. For many among the hierarchy, digital technologies are unfamiliar and alien; technological advances mean that much of what we have previously learned or been taught is no longer relevant; and as the pace of external change accelerates, organisations can no longer rely on their own internal resources for knowledge and insight. But in order to appreciate this new reality, they need to become aware of it; and yet their embedded mindset, structure and approach perpetuates their lack of awareness.
In our view, the key which unlocks this paradox, and enables organisations to break out of this ‘cycle of ignorance’ is learning. Learning provides the infusion of new energy which broadens horizons, provides access to new perspectives and insights, reveals alternative ways of doing things, and ultimately changes mindsets. If building digital awareness is the starting point for any organisation and its employees in adapting to the new digital age, then learning is the means by which this can be achieved.
This blog is delivered to you by Kineo library partner DEfactoED, written by Director Mark Seneschall. Through the provision of digital education, DEfactoED helps corporates to build digital capability and create adaptable mindsets in their businesses.
Catering for all learner levels, DEfactoED’s elearning Digital Transformation courses are available through the Kineo course library.
Digital technologies are having a disruptive impact on almost every aspect of life today. In a rapidly changing and increasingly complex and uncertain world, developing Digital Awareness is an essential prerequisite for all of us. Digital Essentials provides a broad overview of key digital developments and their implications. This course extends the learners knowledge further and goes deeper in exploring the technologies and their effects. Digital Leadership is for business staff of all levels on the receiving end of new technologies rather than technologists, covering key digital developments and their implications, technologies and the impacts for businesses, and how digital influences leadership behaviours and transformation activities.