Friday, 23 August 2013

Keeping Up

Is keeping up the hardest thing in digital?

I think it is. It's especially hard for those entering the industry or starting to get more involved in digital. For those of us who have been in the game a long time we are in fact topping up, rather than discovering it all from afresh. Much easier.

People are generally good at using online tools to keep-up (RSS readers etc.) and scan well. The problem I see is people get caught up in lots of whizy cool stuff and  then find it difficult to keep up with the things that matter - or even know what those things really are in the first place.

The things that really matter (top of the list) haven't really changed:

  • Your company or client companies
  • Your or their competitors
  • Your or their markets

The information you are looking for might need to change so that now you capture the 'digital' things as well, and suddenly this isn't such a big leap forward.

You then need to consider the other things that are really important, like:

  • Have others been doing some of the things you want to or are about to do - what can you learn?
  • What likely technology influences are there acting on the competitive paradigm?
  • What threats are there in this?
  • What consumer insights can you use to determine where the next opportunity is?

At this point you start getting close to 'way too much information', so it is here we have the problem. What I recommend doing to 'keep up' and deal with this problem specifically is to look at news and information services online in a slightly different way. They are now providing so much information that you need to start to break them down. I do this by making information dashboards. Sections that break down information into chunks that start with the big macro things I want to keep up with through to the client organisations, competitors and markets I need to know about. These dashboards don't provide all the insights, they provide the 'what is happening' then from here (after a quick scan) you can find the detail you need - this is the age of the tinterweb after all.

This is all very basic, but I think a lot of people need to have a look at the information they are receiving and start to think about how they can make this far more efficient and valuable. Then keeping-up becomes much easier. And for a lot of people it will make them far more focused digital professionals.