My plan to be a Digital Leader in 2017 – January

Written by Robin Knowles, Founder and CEO at Digital Leaders

It was Matt Hancock who said at the June 2016 National Digital Conference that “doing digital transformation is much harder than talking about it

So in 2017 my New Year’s resolution is to digitally transform my home life.

In January we parted company with the use of the family car. We live in London about a £15 cab ride from work, so this is in theory possible. The plan was to use the bus and train more and to infill with Uber. For tasks requiring a car or van we would be covered by joining Robin Chase’s great creation, the car club Zipcar, now owned by Avis. For the longer journeys we would hire a car and for short runs we signed up for “Boris” bikes

Of course Digital Transformation is not about doing what you always have done with the help of technology, but rather to change behaviour to get the best from our digital age and so to overcome the disruption caused by losing the car we have moved to a weekly groceries home delivery from Sainsbury’s and a “collect and drop-off” dry cleaning service to replace the Saturday morning habits the car had facilitated.

Despite a delivery charge for shopping we are spending less on groceries as we buy what we need, comparing week on week and avoiding those fiendish Supermarket geniuses that place things you don’t need, but desire on the spur of the moment, placed just within reach as you push a trolley up and down the aisles.

Uber has worked well, but is expensive and just too easy to use, resulting in demands from the family for an Uber for everything and rationing has been implemented.

Zipcar required serious proof of identity and access to our DVLA records requiring my first experience of Verify, the Governments identity service. I got through in two hours, which was frustrating, but it worked. My wife took several days, as a key document was out of date and we had to go a circuitous route. I would say it works, but don’t join it when in a hurry or when feeling emotional.

We have used Zipcar three times this month including a trip out of London and when we needed a boot. As a car fan, I have got to drive three new car models and to struggle with three smartphone dashboard interfaces.

Other positives are walking more, the benefits of which may be more popular with the family when Spring arrives. I received a text from the CEO (my wife) saying, “wasting my day on my third bus in the rain!” Travelling on public transport, we are well served in all directions, but the staff (two teenage boys) tolerate it with occasional accusatory glances.

Most of the negatives are about disruption to all our lives and perhaps the most important lesson of my first month is that a Transformation is asking a lot from your team and if you start with a big-ticket item, like not having a car anymore you risk serious revolt.

Of course the whole point of a New Year’s resolution is to start enthusiastically, but as most resolutions are no longer in place by March, perhaps this resolution needs to build a bit more gently.

So as I face February I have done what we do best at Digital Leaders and talked to my peers about how it is going. The best advice is to make sure that whatever I do in February, it does not impact the family as January has.

So I shall be digitally transforming my personal health in February. For those of you who have met me, you will know that I tend to regard my body as a form of transport to get my head to meetings. So this month’s disruption could be personally challenging for me, but I shall be arming myself with the digital wisdom on health and “wearables” offered by last week’s DLTV show.

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