Posted by: Ornella Farrugia
on Tue 24 Oct

At October’s Innovation Day, we welcomed Dr. Roger Maull from University of Surrey to share his insights on how to understand, analyse and optimise our digital world.

We are in the middle of a digital revolution – a revolution that has launched a new era of human empowerment and engagement across business and society. Never before has there been a more powerful influence on human behaviour, irrespective of country or culture, than the combined effect of digital technologies.

Dr. Maull from University of Surrey identified three fundamental factors that can explain the essential dynamics that businesses need to understand in a digital world: Digitisation, Datafication and Digitalisation.

  • Digitisation is the new bit that we didn’t have 3-5 years ago. With the development of new data sources, such as wearables, it is possible to measure just about everything from wellness, healthcare, insurance, work performance, work productivity and much more. Not many years from now, these wearables will be everywhere.
  • Datafication is the ‘sense making process’. In other words, this is about turning insights into action. We also call this Big Data. There is a lot of talk about it, but the fact is that there is only little evidence of the impact. We are using the same methods that we did 10 years ago and we haven’t really moved on.
  • Digitalisation is about the business model. This part is the innovation in an organisation’s business model that is occurring because of digitisation. It is about turning the insights into value. Dr. Maull’s key piece of advice is to focus first on our business models and think about new ways to create value in a digital world instead of letting the data we already have shape a strategy for us to follow.

These dynamics are opening up a world of possibilities for organisations. One big opportunity is to create a world where we can encourage customers to do more. For example, encourage customers to come to you when demand is low. Costa Coffee used information about what time of day they had less customers and used this information to send out push messages with 10p discount on coffee in these hours.

In addition, digital is opening up the ‘mass pull world’. Personalisation now is a request from the customer. We want the products and services to fit our specific needs, our specific measurements, our specific shoe size or body shape.

We are only beginning to understand what the future looks like. With the new data sources, we can start to be predictive, for example, in health or in crime. But, we need to start thinking in a similar way about products. In practice, this could be data that tells us something about usage of a product. Imagine how such data can have a massive impact on supply chains and how we do business.
Digital technologies are changing the world, seize the opportunities emerging from that!

These are just some key highlights taken from October’s Innovation Day. Each month, clients of the Innovation Programmes receive a full ACT report, capturing the guest expert’s research, the implications and next steps for leaders to apply back in their team and organisation.

Next month, clients will explore what collaboration in the workplace looks like now we’re in a digital age and how to effectively collaborate now and in the future. For more information, please view the Innovation Day page.

Source: Maull, R. (2017) ‘Understand the 21C Customer’, KnowledgeBrief Innovation Day Presentation, 11 October.


Explore new business models and how to adapt to a digital world. What is your business problem?

Other Recent Blogs

Discuss topics like this in detail with industry leaders.

Learn More

Techniques Referenced in this Blog

Customer Relationship Management | Digital Marketing | Value Analysis

Build capability with the latest management and leadership techniques

Learn more

Read the KnowledgeBrief monthly Business SCAN publication

Stay ahead in business with the latest ideas, innovations and research, in brief – filtered from the finest sources globally.
Be a Leader People Want to Follow
Learn more