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Digital talent as the platform to manage digital disruption

Kareyst Lin | Nov. 10, 2016
In an innovation-led digital transformation, organisations have to find new ways of value creation

There has been a lot of talk in Singapore about the Smart Nation initiative. But the question is, who is going to make this happen?

It is certainly not the government, asserted Khoong Chan Meng, Director & CEO, Institute of Systems Science (ISS), National University of Singapore. The government is definitely an enabler of technology since technological developments have to occur within the framework of policies and regulations. However, the responsibility does not lie solely on the government; it has to involve the whole society -- people have to be willing to leverage and make the best of these smart innovations.

Therefore, the platform that really matters is digital talent, and they are the ones who can bring about this transformation. "Without digital talents in your company, organisations can have the best physical platforms and best products, but they will not go very far before they are again disrupted," Khoong said.

What exactly is a digital talent?

A common mistake made is the assumption that digital talent is equal to information technology (IT) professionals.

"Digital talent is something found in everyone. What this means is that everyone in the current generation we are living in, are being exposed to all things digital - they are digitally exposed and digitally comfortable. All they need is a small nudge and they will be able to harness this digital potential in them," explained Khoong.

For example, a sales person or a finance person can harness this digital potential and leverage technology to help them in their work, which might not necessarily be directly related to the work they are doing. But this would help to make their work easier. Increasingly, many entrepreneurs and startups don't call themselves tech startups. But the main ingredient that they have is very much the digital savviness that they have.

These are the digital talents. It is not about what knowledge they have, but what they do with the knowledge that they have, Khoong asserted.

So for example, "they should have this savviness about being able to find, process or share data -- and it is not just a numeracy skill, or knowing how to crunch numbers. The ability to handle data is an important digital skill," Khoong shared.

"And underlying this technological and data savviness, there is, very fundamentally, this ability to solve problems and develop a creative solution out of them," he said. 

The importance of value creation in age of changing notion of jobs

One important quality of a digital talent is that he has to be able to find new ways of value creation, not just value addition, according to Khoong. It should not just be about automation or making something faster -- this new value has be a quantum leap for the customers.

 

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