Surviving the digital disruption

Published:  February 5, 2016
Jamuna Raj

Peter McMahon, director of digital strategy and engagement at the State Library of Victoria, explains how traditional organisations like libraries can survive digital disruption by self-disrupting.





It is happening. Correction, it has already happened. If digital disruption hasn’t hit your business yet, it’s on its way. The problems facing taxis and hotels are yesterday’s news – for them. The same ideas are now rapidly spreading outward and no industry will remain untouched, including esteemed institutions such as universities, governments and libraries.

Peter McMahon, director of digital strategy and engagement at the State Library of Victoria, is, however, optimistic and believes that libraries and other organisations can survive digital disruption. But to do that, he says that these organisations will have to self-disrupt and rethink their models. This means embracing innovation, breaking down traditional models and systems within the organisations and rebuilding from ground up.

McMahon adds, “It involves taking the existing value chain, identifying the components that actually add the core value, and harnessing digital opportunities to deliver that value in new ways and with greater efficiency. The trick with libraries (and I assume other institutions) is to accurately identify what the real value is.”

The challenge in identifying disruption opportunities is the same for libraries as it is for any other organisation or business, he explains. “It’s far too easy to remain in the comfort of the familiar. We have forced ourselves to look at how user expectations are shifting, especially in terms of how patrons now expect to interact with us digitally, looked at how digital technologies can help us enrich the overall experience, and then started to re-engineer our core services and the ways that users can explore our collections accordingly.

“To get full advantage from the benefits of self-disruption, there needs to be a commitment to reinvention,” he adds.

Peter McMahon 1
It’s not all dreary, as you will soon learn at Pause Fest 2016. The organisers have put together a great line-up of speakers, including McMahon and other business, technology and creative experts, who will discuss digital disruption, emerging trends and transformation, and how businesses can actually harness the opportunities present.

Head over to Pause Fest 2016 and see what you can discover about digital disruption in your industry.

This article first appeared in the desktop-Pause special.
Meet these speakers and discover more at Pause Fest 2016.

For more information on Pause Fest, click here. Get your tickets now.

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