Getting ready to ‘Make Digital Work’

In a couple of days I’m taking the 14 hour flight to head to New York for Colorado University’s, Boulder Digital Works Executive Workshop – Making Digital Work. This is the first time the programme has been run outside of Boulder and promises to be a hotbed of ideas and learning. The programme ran first back in August in Boulder and received rave reviews from those attending – hence the relocation for this event to New York to capture a wider audience.

My own area of interest is particularly around how ‘traditional’ advertising agencies are both integrating the digital competence to their ways of working and also how they are remodeling their teams, processes, structure and product to keep it up to date in what is rapidly moving from a communication to an engagement/participation product.

BDW is not the first of its kind, workshops, conferences and seminars are popping up around the world to try and help the ageing communications sector come kicking and screaming into the web 2.0 era; but most notable are BDW in Colorado, and HyperIsland in Stockholm & Karlskrona, Sweden, which both have undergraduate programmes alongside their executive education – to quote my current read (Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip & Dan Heath), they are working both on the rider (management in agencies today) and the elephant (the workforce of the sector for tomorrow) to create real change in the industry. Not an easy task when you think of the extent to which advertising and marketing have grown over the past 20 years – but a critical challenge nonetheless if we are to stay relevant in this rapidly changing society.

Check out a few other links talking about the workshop both when it ran in Boulder and the upcoming event in NYC:

Making Digital Work: Voices from Boulder from edward boches on Vimeo.

What will be very interesting, over and above the content and speakers (you can see a full run down of the agenda here), is the participants of the workshop, on what they can contribute to the group’s overall learning and how they have the capacity to action change within their own organisations. These small thinkthanks are the only way that we can start to drive change across a global industry that is (on average) stuck in the mass media and broadcast era.

Follow what is happening on Twitter via the #bdwny hashtag. My hopes are high, we’ll see what happens!

By Lex Bradshaw-Zanger

A digital native and integrated brand marketer with a passion for marketing-communications and product design, Lex has a truly international outlook and experience, having worked both in major marketing agencies and client-side brands across Europe, the US and the Middle East.


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