The Digital Future

When an industry pundit like John Warnock,  co-founder of the digital development tools software giant Adobe Systems, talks about the effect of  digital technology on the future of information dissemination and communication it is worth taking a bit of time out to have a careful listen and think about how what he is saying applies to our own case.

As the featured speaker at  the recent PushButton 2010 Summit — an event highlighting digital animation, gaming, mobile distribution, Web development, movies and entertainment – Warnock  provided some well-informed ‘crystal ball’ predictions for where we are all going in terms of how we receive, use and distribute information.

Warnock said the world of how information is produced and disseminated has changed drastically and will continue to evolve and transform in the years to come. Traditional media outlets such as newspapers, radio and television will prosper only if they embrace technology and alter the way they do business, he said.

“The economics of old (business) models versus new models are entirely different. The business strategies are entirely different. The economic drivers are different.”

He said digital media producers and users will need to “figure out” their place in the new paradigm and learn to adapt to the changing times. This, of course, presents a wide range of challenges in terms of anticipating new innovations and channels of distribution as well as potentially new end-user habits and the development of new types of relationships between the information provider and the user of that information. The development of a digital media strategy has to embrace not only what is avalaible now but also what we can anticipage coming along in six months or over the next couple of years. Not easy unless you keep up with the many forms of digital innovation and have both the experience and a good ‘sixth-sense’ to anticipate what will stick to the digial landscape.

Warnock stressed the place of creativity and talent as determing factors in enabling an organisation to create a viable digital media strategy that is also ‘future proofed’.

Opportunities exist for those with creativity and talent. The challenge will be finding out where everyone’s talents lie and how they fit in the new digital media business model. Those with the fortitude and creativity to adapt to the constant change can be among the visionary few who shape the future of the digital media landscape.

As decision makers, advisers, consumers of information and providers of information we should all be thinking carefully about how we are going to transition from traditional models to digital models and how we can, given the incredible rate of change, find creative and intelligent solutions that provide at least a medium-term viability to our digital media strategies.

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