The Role of People in a Post-Digital Society: Embracing collaboration, openness, and stakeholder capitalism

5 min

The role of people in society is one of the hottest topics to be explored as we look to the future in the post-digital era: how will internal resources contribute to the implementation of new technologies? How can we, as managers, foster collaboration and share social responsibility with our stakeholders? In the article you are about to read, Antonio has answered these questions with 7 suggestions for companies to adapt to the upcoming internal and external business changes.

Failing to adapt to change can lead to defeat

One company used to dominate the world of pre-digital photography, leading the pack with innovative technology and groundbreaking patents. But despite their early success and industry-leading innovations, they were ultimately overtaken by competitors who saw the full potential of the digital camera market. That company was Kodak, and their story is a cautionary tale of missed opportunities and failing to keep up with the times.

To avoid a similar fate, companies must develop a deep understanding of what’s happening in the world of technology and how it might impact their industry. By doing so, they can create strategies that will help them to adapt and thrive in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

Navigating the Post-Digital World: Why Embracing a Broader Mindset and Internal Collective Leadership is Essential for Success

Epochal changes don’t announce themselves with fanfare. Instead, they creep up on us, subtly infiltrating our operations and upending our lives when we least expect it. That’s why it’s crucial to develop a nuanced understanding of the forces driving change – especially in today’s world, where digital technologies are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. As these technologies become more ingrained in our daily lives, they will begin to feel less like innovation and more like the norm.

Instead of attempting to predict the future with absolute certainty, it’s more beneficial to embrace a different mindset, one that’s broad, inclusive, and fueled by lateral thinking. By taking this approach, you can prepare to face a range of challenges and opportunities, rather than trying to predict every detail of what’s to come.

To be sure, many companies will benefit from the guidance of external consultants and advisors to support their internal strategic thinking. However, it’s vital to take the further step of embracing internal collective leadership, i.e., to tap into the knowledge and expertise of your own human resources. In this post-digital world, the human being is central, and your employees are the ones who live and breathe it every day. By tapping into their insights and experience, you can gain a deeper understanding of the changes taking place and develop strategies that reflect this new reality.

Whether they are your employees, customers, or suppliers, it’s crucial to rethink the role of people and frame your relationships in terms of sharing and human respect. By doing so, you can help to foster a culture of collaboration, openness, and mutual support, qualities that are essential to building stronger, more resilient organizations.

Navigating the post-digital era requires putting people first, adopting new leadership models and embracing change with agility. Share on X

Shifting Towards Stakeholder Capitalism: Prioritizing Prosperity for All

The shift from a capitalist model that prioritizes the profits of a few to one that prioritizes the prosperity of many will have a significant impact on the business models of many companies. This new model, known as “stakeholder capitalism”, recognizes the common interests of a range of stakeholders, not just the interests of shareholders seeking to maximize their profits. While return on investment remains an essential metric, it’s not the only one that matters. In the post-digital society, it’s increasingly important to recognize the contribution of all parties who contribute to the success of a company. By doing so, we can foster a more collaborative, inclusive, and sustainable approach to business that benefits not only shareholders but also employees, customers, suppliers, and the wider community.

As we prepare for the profound changes that lie ahead, it’s crucial for companies to identify areas of convergence and adapt their strategies accordingly. Technological innovation will undoubtedly play a significant role in this transition, so it’s important to keep this in mind as well.

stakeholder capitalism

The Impact of Cryptography on Distributed Ledger Technologies and the Post-Digital Society

Technology is becoming increasingly complex, especially as different innovations are converging to offer new functionalities. This complexity can make it difficult for managers to fully understand and utilize these technologies. For instance, cryptography has enabled the development of distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), such as blockchain, which will play a significant role in the development of the post-digital society.

Originally developed for security purposes, cryptography has become the core of blockchain and other DLTs, thanks in large part to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. While cryptocurrencies were initially seen as experimental projects, they served as a precursor to the emergence of decentralized autonomous organizations, which utilize cryptography and the code-is-law paradigm to facilitate organizational decentralization. (Though the impact of these technologies on economic and social structures is significant, I will have to save a more in-depth discussion of this topic for a future article.)

For now, to adapt to the changes that await us, companies must consider several essential elements:

  1. Recognize the importance of people and prioritize their needs and respect over profits. People are the ultimate outlet for any economic model, and without them, the entire value chain would fail.
  2. Embrace collective leadership by involving employees in the decision-making process. They are experiencing social evolution in their lives and can offer important suggestions for framing the specific evolution strategy.
  3. Enrich internal awareness by seeking external contributions from expert consultants. They can help us frame the change by verticalizing it in our specific business model.
  4. Transition from an elitist capitalist model to one that benefits all stakeholders, including the planet.
  5. Adopt a different point of view each time and use lateral thinking to shed light on issues that are in the shadows.
  6. Consider technology an essential element of a company’s development, but not the only one.
  7. Encourage agile and rapid reconfiguration of processes, skills, technologies, and roles once the potential change path has been identified.

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Navigating the post-digital age requires a multifaceted approach that considers the centrality of people, the adoption of new leadership models, the integration of expert external perspectives, and the willingness to embrace change with agility. While there is no guaranteed formula for success, a combination of these factors can help pave the way. As we continue to evolve in this rapidly changing landscape, it’s essential to remain open-minded, adaptable, and committed to ongoing learning and innovation.

These topics have been thoroughly explored in my book, offering a broader narrative scope and delving into the various repercussions of these themes. I, therefore, invite you to read ‘Toward a Post-Digital Society – Where Digital Evolution Meets People’s Revolution’, which examines in detail the crucial role of people in creating a post-digital society based on collaboration, openness, and a more inclusive stakeholder capitalism model.