The 2019 Something Digital conference in Brisbane was a snapshot of our future as Marketers in the fourth industrial revolution. The Digital Age. The barriers to digital innovations are falling, and becoming increasingly accessible to firms, globally. This means there are big changes are ahead for QUT Business School graduates entering the workforce.
However, the Something Digital conference made it clear that while certain aspects of digital life will completely re-work the landscape in which we operate, there is still something human at the root of all these digital innovations.
Ben Crothers from Atlassian, during his talk on Digital Wellbeing, put it so poignantly when he said that technology can’t keep happening to us… it has to happen for us… As emerging Marketers, we need to ask difficult questions. Why are we utilising technology in this way? What human need do these changes meet? We can no longer stumble through the digital age on the whim of a trend. A targeted focus is what is required to make our digital innovations stick.
These were some of the principles discussed during the day’s middle session, at the Orange Stage (there were three different stages simultaneously presenting different digital themes throughout the day). Each of the presentations during this session revolved around the tech of human connectedness.
Highlights from this session included a panel of guests tackling the topic of improving urban life by putting people first. Speakers, including Matthew Tobin (UAP), Melissa Wiscicki (Aurecon), and Sarah Leach (Brisbane City Council), spoke about the necessity of find digital solutions that meet the needs of all members of our beautiful city. Including the 10 or so people that still contact the Brisbane City Council via fax!
No member of a community is insignificant enough so as to be overlooked by the rapidly advancing technology popping up across Brisbane. Again, this panel emphasised the human heart at the centre of their innovative solutions to our city’s problems.
Despite the challenges they face in their work this panel expressed their excitement when looking towards Brisbane’s future. Are we increasingly heading towards a carless future? What do tangible smart cities really look like? And how can marketers navigate Brisbane’s digital changes in a way that enhances community connectedness?
As we progress as marketers, as members of prominent firms, or even as current business students, the point was raised that we all need to understand where we are a part of the problem, and how we can become part of the solution.
This point particularly resonated with me, as I am a member of the generation that will need to be active in finding solutions for emerging problems including climate change, population increases, and deepening inequality.
Reflecting on the day, it was so very encouraging, as a young person, to witness Brisbane’s march towards a digital future. It was inspiring to see where I could potentially fit in as a future marketer, within a rapidly changing and growing workforce. As a student, my attendance at such an event was an important step in the formulation of my future career and for that, I’d like to thank QUT for offering me such a valuable opportunity to gain in-industry insights.