Happy 2018! I hope the new year is treating you, your family, your team and your business well so far.
For myself and the team at Digital Brisbane, 2018 marks the first full year of delivery under the new remit of Digital Brisbane 2.0. We’re focussing more on empowering people to thrive in this digitally-enabled world we live in, whether you’re growing your small business, starting what you hope to be a world-changing startup, a resident keen to contribute more to your community or a parent wanting to learn more about what your kids are doing online.
To that end, one of the key trends I’m noticing is a return to, if you like, humanity. Bear with me – I know this sounds far-fetched. Over the past few years we’ve seen digital infiltrate many areas of our lives. Some very obviously (new Pixel, iPhone X or some VR goggles, anyone?) and others more subtly like fundamental shifts in personal communications, advertising and digitisation of financial transactions just to name a few.
With a lot of these changes, people are beginning to realise that perhaps they’re not better off. It can be harder to connect with friends even though we’re always connected; it’s becoming very difficult to discern real news from extremely biased or even fake news; we feel busier but less fulfilled; and business success seems reserved for the fortunate few who have the wherewithal to build the latest game-changing digital platform, while the rest of us slog away in our jobs, wondering if the skills we have today will serve us in a few years’ time.
So this return to humanity is important. What are we doing all this for? Why are we excited about digital? How can we use our new technologies to solve the really big problems of the world, not just bring more convenience to our lives by delivering our food when we can’t be stuffed leaving the house, or worse, supposedly managing sexual consent with blockchain?
This humanity piece, this true empowerment piece, is what I’m focussing on this year. Not just how do we use digital to make our lives better, but, fundamentally, how do we make our lives better, given the globally-connected, digitally-enabled context we live in?
Facebook’s recent news feed changes is just one indication that I’m not alone in this push for more humanity, more human-ness. I’m quietly optimistic about other shifts I think we’ll see and I know we’ll create this year.
Another change is our new Lord Mayor’s Global Entrepreneur Program. Now supporting established, revenue-generating startups, this grant program will help Brisbane’s entrepreneurs grow their business into new markets, creating export revenue for the city and therefore creating more high-value, local jobs. Because that is what supporting a startup ecosystem is all about – creating high-value skills and jobs for the future.
If you’d like to be part of this adventure, of empowering Brisbane residents and businesses to thrive in this digital world, check out what we’re currently working on, and make your own suggestions.