Author interview: Tom Goodwin of Digital Darwinism

From time to time we love to speak to the authors of business books to add a little something extra to what you find in the book itself. We took the opportunity to speak to Tom Goodwin, author of Digital Darwinism. Survival of the fittest in the age of business disruption (Kogan Page Inspire, 2018). If you’ve read the book, this will give you some additional insight. And if you haven’t, this just might help you decide if Digital Darwinism should be on your reading list!

MBBC: You said yourself that writing a book was not something you envisaged until recently, what was the main inspiration for you to take that leap of faith? And now you’ve started, can you see yourself writing another?

TG: The main reason I wrote the book was because I found I had quite a lot to say. I feel like it’s a fascinating time in the world and, quite frankly, most of the people writing books about business transformation haven’t shown any signs of understanding the reality of business. I saw a lot of clichés and truisms and I found that quite frustrating. I wanted to put out a few new theories on how to think about things.

I don’t have any current plans to write another book, but I can imagine getting equally frustrated in the future and, as a result, wanting to write again.

MBBC: If you could give one sweeping piece of advice to any new business, on how to use digital to the fullest and not fall into any of the pitfalls surrounding digital innovation, what would it be?

TG: That we need to treat new technology and new behaviours as an incredible opportunity rather than as a problem to digest. To take both the meaning of technology for business but also the implications for consumer behaviours to the very core of what we do. To not incrementally improve to stay the same but to reimagine what you do around incredible new realities.

MBBC: What one aspect of the creative process, in any business, do you think is irreplaceable, even with all the constant technological advancements happening around us?

TG: A true and clear understanding of human behaviour. While many things change, this is the very core, the essence of our being that doesn’t, and it’s also the most fascinating, insightful and valuable.

MBBC: Have you personally made an assumption based on digital, that has caught you off-guard and you’ve been wrong about? If so, what was it?

TG: That in a world of abundant information, endless free, continual access to the best stuff ever made, we spend so much time being ignorant, misinformed and watching absolute rubbish. We could watch every Oscar-winning film ever made, anywhere, yet we waste time on cat videos.

MBBC: There’s a strong emphasis in the book about breaking the rules, shifting from what is established to form new meaningful progress, but is there anything current or in the near-future that you see challenging this, enabling meaningful progress from within?

TG: A key thing will be the next generation of leaders going up. A group of people who not only understand the meaning and implications of technology, but realize they can’t just hope for the best and hang on to their jobs. They have the time they need to make huge changes to the way their companies operate. The lack of change we generally see today is amongst people aware they can either drift to retirement or change everything and never have a chance to experience the benefits.

Digital Darwinism: Survival of the Fittest in the Age of Business Disruptionby Tom Goodwin is out now in paperback and ebook, priced at £14.99.


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