Why consumers are now dependent on digital

Few contend the ubiquitous nature of digital, but do businesses truly understand the scale of its influence on consumer behaviour?

Originally published in a special report in The Times on 19 January 2017.
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"Like air and drinking water, being digital will be noticed only by its absence, not its presence."

So wrote Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of MIT Media Lab, in a prescient WIRED magazine article in 1998. No, that’s not a typo. 1998 – 19 years ago – when most of us were still marvelling at the melodies of our dial-up 28.8kb modems. For those reading this article who don’t know what that means, ask your parents.

Mr Negroponte’s beautifully simple statement sums up why organisations increasingly need to evolve their strategy and business model to be successful in today’s constantly changing world. Digital technology has evolved from being a thing or a feature, to being part of the very fabric of the world in which we live and work. Yet for many organisations, it’s still treated as “a thing”.

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