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Digitalisation isn’t the problem. Ignoring the human side of it is.

Keynote Speaker Annicken Day has 15 years’ experience of building world-class corporate cultures, inspiring and building effective leadership teams and highly engaged organisations wired for collaboration, innovation and growth.

Annicken Day has trained thousands of leaders and employees in new ways of working, thinking and leading and played an instrumental part in the growth and success of a number of high-tech companies through her cultural leadership.

A recent shockwave that has caused disruptive change which we are all constantly reminded of is digitalisation. It has affected culture, leadership and the way that all businesses function.

‘Project Digitalisation’ has consumed our professional lives. As Annicken describes: “simple tasks would be automated, information would be digitalised, processes would be optimised and the human touch would be minimised. On PowerPoint it looked brilliant, innovative and made perfect sense.”

However, two years on and in spite of the grand launch party, training and positive messaging, in reality these grand plans failed to acknowledge a detail in their strategy: people. In digitalising, we are not only dealing with technology, we are also dealing with people.

Annicken breaks down the various difficulties in integrating technology and people into the following points:

Human emotions in ‘The Digital Age’

The human, emotional side to people means that we cannot be “programmed, handled, implemented or even ‘managed’ to change”. Annicken describes the fact that people need to be involved in the change themselves, understand the reasoning behind the change and feel like they are a part of it as opposed to it being enforced and their compliance simply expected.

“Running transformational projects based on the idea that people are machines without thoughts and emotions, is planning for failure.” Annicken says.

In fact, as Annicken argues, approaching projects such as digitalisation with humanness, hopes, fears and engagement actually increases the likelihood of achieving a positive outcome.

Organisational design

Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2016, a report based on 7000+ surveyed companies in over 130 countries, concludes that there are 3 great challenges that businesses are facing in today’s digital world of work, and that is organisational design, leadership gaps and culture.”

The organisational structure of 92% of companies has been shaken at its very core by the digital world of work. Annicken says: “Deloitte believes we will see shifts from traditional functional hierarchies to ‘network of teams’. In such a structure; values and culture, transparency of goals, frequent feedback and free flow of information, and ‘skills and contributions’ valued over ‘positions’, will be the norm.”

This requires a change in companies’ structures, leaderships as well as shifts in mindsets and behaviours that filter down from the top.

Leadership gap

“90% of the companies cite leadership as a major problem.” As the organisational structure of companies requires change, leaders will also need to change tack – engaging and inspiring their teams through “expertise, passion, energy and empowerment”.

“Many leaders will need to re-learn what leadership is, when emotional intelligence, empathy and kindness becomes as important as IQ and formal competence traditionally has been.” Annicken states.


Millennials, who will soon make up 50% of the working population, place an onus on organisational culture. They seek purpose, meaning and inspiration from their company’s culture. Whilst some of us are keen to attribute this to the millennial generation alone, Annicken argues that “this is not only a millennial thing, this is in fact a human thing, and leads to increased engagement, collaboration, innovation and performance in the workplace” which ultimately leads to competitive advantage.

“Peter Drucker’s famous expression ‘Culture east strategy for breakfast’ is more relevant than ever. Leaders who understand how to create cultures where people jump out of bed in the morning, look forward to work, ready to tackle whatever challenge, change or situation they might be facing, are the ones who will be leading in the future.”

Digital is 10% tech and 90% human. Organisations talk about digital as if it is 90% tech and 10% human. Lucia Adams

It is time for a change.

To read Annicken’s blog in full, click here.

Annicken R Day Keynote Speaker

More about Annicken Day

In her years as Chief Cultural Officer for the global IT company Tandberg, the company was recognised for its unique culture, awarded Best Place to Work in Norway 3 years in a row, while experiencing an annual growth of 50% and becoming a global market leader in the video-conference industry. In 2010 the company was sold to Cisco for US$ 3.3 billion.

At Cisco she established an initiative called ‘United Tribes of Cisco’ which contributed to 10-15 % increase in engagement, 5% – 8% lower attrition and sick-leave, major cost savings and improved performance with her internal clients.

As leader of her own consultancy ‘Corporate Spring’, which she set up in 2012, she has worked with a variety of start-ups, mid-sized and Fortune 500 Companies and has contributed to significant increases in engagement, culture shifts and productivity with the companies she has worked with.

To read more about Annicken Day, click here.

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