Digital Transformation without Humans

by | Dec 24, 2020 | ICT4D |

digital transformation without humans

‘We’re here to talk about digital transformation, so please keep on topic.’

This was a response to a contribution I made to a discussion forum from the group organiser. It’s not the first response like this I’ve had. When many of us think about digital transformation we tend to focus on the first word, narrowly defined. And to be fair, there is, and should be, spaces for people to discuss, debate, and support the technical aspects of technology.

This is needed. But this is not digital and certainly not transformation.

Digital is a way of doing things, while technology is often a means of doing something. And while technically the wheel, the pen, a knife, or the radio are all technology, the vast majority of us think of smartphones, computers, and software now as technology.

And here’s the thing. We can’t talk about digital transformation without talking about business processes, people, culture and context. Or said a different way – the challenge, choices, contributors, culture, and context. And yet we do and seemingly want to all the time. And yet we wonder why we have such a large graveyard of gadgets.

Digital transformation. Information and Communication Technologies for Development or Emergencies (ICT4D/ICT4E). Digital for Development (D4D). Identity for All (I4A). None of these will reach their potential, their transformation, their desired impact if we only talk about the technology. Without talking about humans and culture, about power, about our drivers, together with the technology, we will digging our own grave.

Photo by Klaudia Pyc

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