Monday, 9 January 2017


When I say that we’ve never lived in such glorious and exciting times some of you will think I’ve taken leave of whatever senses I have left. The history of mankind is pretty short in the scheme of things. If our planet had existed for just a year then Homo Sapiens would have been around for less than 10 minutes. More importantly the real, real digital action has been taking place in the past fraction of a second.

The internet and digitisation are transforming our lives. Like many I too am a sceptic when it comes to suggesting that Amazon’s warehouse in the sky 45,000 feet up dropping drones to earth to fulfil our orders in hours or minutes of our placing them is likely to be anything other than a nice bit of PR. But when I read about a company called “Zipline” which uses drone-type small planes to deliver healthcare products to the 2 billion of the world who would otherwise be denied access to them due to challenging terrain and gaps in infrastructure, I’m on my feet and applauding as potentially 3 million lives a year could be saved by this.

Two decades ago Jean-Marie Dru, worldwide Chairman of TBWA, was the proclaimed the originator of the word “disruption®“as a creative tool. Like all trendy concepts it lay quietly in the agency world for a while but has now accelerated to the point at which all business life is being disrupted, old business models are being demolished and it’s normal.

Dru says rightly that:
“Digital is forcing every single business leader in the world to rethink, sometimes to revolutionise, his or her company.”

Companies like Coca-Cola that have for over a century been a bellwether for the global economy are now wounded because they’re selling something that’s become increasingly unfashionable - sweet, sugary fizzy drinks. At a recent Marketing Week conference a delegate shocked the audience and speaker Professor Mark Ritson by asking the breathtaking question;-

“Is Coca-Cola entering its Nokia phase?”

The clock cannot be turned back despite the wishes of a large number of British Conservatives and Brexit supporters and people throughout the world especially in the American rustbelt. Globalisation is here to stay, digital is here to stay and change everything. Not least it’s likely to lead to increased unemployment as the robots get to work. It’s taken advanced societies like Finland to counter the threat of this by producing plans to introduce a living wage for everyone, whether at work or not.

With this front cover Time magazine were not being satirical. The future is nearer than any of us think. Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Total Connectivity and Limitless Creativity are here and changing our lives. Remember GE, that great manufacturing company? Well it’s now the largest software company in the world totally reinventing itself.

I’ll repeat - we have never lived in such exciting times and I am thrilled by what I see. The world really is getting better.

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