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Thinking Digital: It's a Generational Thing

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Thinking Digital: It's a Generational Thing

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I’m going to stick my neck out and argue that there is a generational gap when it comes to our ability to think digital. I don’t care if some people in my own and previous generations will feel insulted.

It’s perfectly natural that such a generational gap exists. If someone grows up in a certain paradigm, that person will have a hard time adjusting to a new paradigm. It’s not just about learning new behaviors. It’s also about unlearning behaviors that have turned into habits. What is even more difficult is shifting to a new way of thinking. From thinking physical to thinking digital. Those of us who aren’t digital natives have already been wired for the thinking physical paradigm.

Growing up in a digital world is similar to growing up with a culture and language: you are fluent in the language because you think in that language, and since the culture and language are intertwined it helps you connect with other people who share the same culture and language.

I’m not saying you can’t be older than 20 years old and think digital. I’m just saying that you really have to speak and read a language every day for many years before you reach the point that you actually think in that language. Furthermore, you won’t start thinking digitally just because you use computers and other devices on a daily basis. You also have to unlearn existing behaviors and enter a new and different mindset, and that doesn’t happen without a lot of effort.

Altimeter Group defines digital transformation as ”the re-alignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital consumers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”Not having digital natives -  people who have learned to think digital – involved in and influencing the digital transformation of your organization can turn out to be fatal.


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