Thursday, July 30, 2015

About Digital Eco-System

Talking about eco-system, our universe is an inter-connected and harmonic natural eco-system. It’s well designed by nature or superpower, while it’s up to human to find the natural laws. The digital eco-system is one step forward in human efforts to be connected in digital manners. Our work and life are emerging into a universally connected digital eco-system. The increasing networking in digital manner and boundary-less data flow are the new trendy characters in forming. The dynamic nature of such digital eco-system is revolutionizing our current autonomic social structure, culture, and environment. Some noticeable phenomenons include:

Correlation and Unity
Digital eco-system brings the correlation and unity to this world. We are an Internet connected one world now. Any local event can cause much broader influence, and also any local optimization may not be good enough to achieve desired results due to the complex connections and influence from the outside world. We have to understand the big picture and relationships of the involved components. This is what “architecture” and “landscaping” supposed to do, and have to do it in extended scales and scopes, with including components in all forms: material, digital, and human; and with identification of relationships, establishment of connections, and suitability of context.

New Characters in Digital Age
Our current social structure, culture, and environment are pretty much formed to suit the industrial age, while digital age requires differences in many ways:
  • Social Structure: changing from autonomic groups to widely connected social communities on Internet.
  • Organizational structure: changing from vertical to horizontal and flattened
  • Culture: changing from territory focused to collaboration
  • Communication channels: extending from traditional face-to-face to new media with digital multi-channel connections and social networking. We are seeing people talking to their smart devices and computers more frequently than human
  • Communication style: moving from out spoken in person to writing, composing, and publishing in digital media and on Internet
  • Leadership and management style: moving from command-control to motivation and inspiration focused, due to the increasing mobility of the work force
  • Competition landscape: moving to suit more constructive and “win-win” approaches, due to the complex inter-connections we are experiencing that beyond human recognition. The biggest enemy for us will be the limitation in understanding the complexities brought by the digital connections in this unified world, which is far beyond the challenges from business competitors.
The Man-Machine Relationships
During this evolution, we need to re-think about our relationships with digital systems and mechanical elements. We need to ensure that the purpose of our design is to benefit human being with digital assistance, instead of being hijacked by them or having to compete with them. We need to think about what to automate, where need human intelligence, how human work and live with the digital components and smart mechanical objects introduced by IoT (Internet of Things), We need to explore how to best use human’s potential, and the meaning of an enjoyable life for human.

Also, it is necessary and important to explore how business should be architected to overcome the challenges and to take advantage from this in forming digital eco-system environment. This is becoming essential for new age business conduct, to keep business agile, and to take advantages from collaboration across organization boundaries.

Note: I have presented the content in this article as a panelist in the recent Open Group conference: