What job do you do?

The Long Road Ahead from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Long_Road_Ahead.jpgOne of the problems I’ve faced recently is in describing what I do in my various business ventures. I’m a company director and a digital strategist. But I’m also a blogger, a trainer, a public speaker, a change manager, an operations and project manager, I do business development, and on occasion, I can even do a bit of programming and fix technology software and hardware. I currently am involved in four businesses, and I am on the board of another two, as well as sitting on the advisory board of another organisation. I then write for a range of sources, and I’m still exploring other business investment and strategic opportunities.

In essence, I’m a modern business senior executive. I have a desirable skill set, not a single company for which I work.

This makes some people very uncomfortable.

I don’t fit in to a job category, partly because the services my businesses provide are in new domains. I’m helping businesses to change dramatically how they operate. Whether it is a matter of recommending software or hardware infrastructure for streamlined operations, or developing a bespoke flexible working strategy, whether it’s educating people about cost-benefits of distributed innovation or collaborative and creative problem solving, or whether it’s analysing stakeholder interaction design, and recommending strategies for company growth in a changing marketplace, the work I do defies traditional categorisation. It’s easier just to call it all, “digital strategy”.

So instead, I tend to talk about why I do what I do.

I am convinced that the way most businesses operate right now is both inefficient, and disconnected from the reality of changing consumer behaviours. I am convinced that emerging technologies and trends in human communication are rapidly converging on a point of intersection, where productivity can be enhanced by several orders of magnitude. I am driven by the opportunities that this moment, this singularity, this advancement of human interests through techno-sociological integration represents. I am building businesses to facilitate this moment.

I have been pretty passionate about everything I’ve done in my professional life – from teaching, to consultancies, to running companies. But I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so passionate about what lies ahead for me, professionally. I see enormous opportunities, a much more interesting and diverse working environment for all. And I see potential for a much fairer society.

And when I say “I see this”, I really do. It’s so real to me, I can almost touch it. It’s not a matter of a mere techno-utopian dream. It logically makes sense that it’s all going to play out, for a whole series of macroeconomic, political, social and environmental reasons.

But of course, how it evolves is still up for grabs. Which geographical regions will do well, and which social groups will emerge as drivers of the new economies, will depend on where investment lands.  When it comes to what I do, I have my eyes firmly fastened on that investment.

So I’m going to stop asking other people, “What do you do?” or “Where do you work?”, from now on.  And when people ask me such questions, I might still say, “I’m a digital strategist and company director”. But I think I’m going to add, “I help people to punch through operational barriers, to make life, work and governance more satisfying and effective.  But only where ‘innovation’ and ‘experimentation’ are taken seriously, and not treated as mere rhetoric.”

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