Tuesday, 5 January 2016

My research agenda for 2016

While I'm always cautious about announcing goals in advance of their completion (because it makes them less likely to be achieved), I've got a really exciting research agenda on the cards in 2016 and I therefore thought I'd share it to get some advance ideas and insights. So without further ado, here's the three Rumsfeldian 'known-knowns' for 2016.

Eight Traits of a Digital Business - perhaps no surprise because I've talked about it a lot during 2015, my first business book, on the characteristics of successful (and unsuccessful) organisations in the Digital Economy is out in February. I'm super-excited about it as the response so far has been positive and I've finally finished editing several hundred references! More on this closer to the time...

Productivity Benefits of Digital Cultures - a one year study I've been doing with Julian Birkinshaw at the London Business School, along with a number of colleagues. I think we've finally managed to wrangle the sticky subject of how to compare digital and traditional ways of working into some form of logic... but we shall see!!

Emerging Media Consumer - having led one rebrand and rethink to change Media Democracy into Media Consumer, this year we're going to change focus again to look at how consumers (and investors) value new types of media, such as MCN, live vlogging, virtual reality and so on. I'm excited about this (scheduled for release in April or May), but it will depend on how much time I can spare from other activities

I have some 'known unknowns' too, you'll be pleased to hear. In this case, these are topics that I'm looking into, but don't know what to do with yet!

Digital monopolies (and what to do about them) - this is a topic that I've been thinking about for some years but is only now beginning to crystalise. Successful Digital Economy businesses are global monopolies that dominate their markets, but decades of regulation have made successful Industrial Economy part of a functioning market. Whatsapp vs SMS is a classic example: one single player with a billion subscribers versus over 300 companies trying to play fairly. No surprise that there's only one winner... My thought is to look at monopolistic behaviour, how it has helped or hindered consumers in adapting to the Digital Economy and compare to the early days of the Industrial Economy to see if there are parallels. It might take a while...

Success Factors for Digital Economies - way broader than the above, I feel like I need to do a lot more thinking about the success factors for entire economies in the Digital Era and, put data into it and challenge the factors. It's a topic I increasingly get asked to speak about, so there's a curiously high degree of practicality in this one.

'Unicorns and Dinosaurs' - currently in early planning is my next book, a deep dive into the industries that were first disrupted by Digital in an attempt to glean lessons from the successes and failures. This'll require an extensive interview programme so it isn't going to be quick!

That little lot will keep me busy most evenings and weekends, I'm sure! And as if it wasn't enough I'll also jot a few thoughts from CES this week and the MWC in February... and there'll doubtless be some unknown-unknowns along the way. Hope you enjoy and have an awesome 2016!

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