The rapid pace of technological change requires leaders to be open-minded, creative, and flexible. Leadership and technology, referred to as e-leadership, are interconnected and mutually-reinforcing, amalgamating basic concepts of leadership with increasingly sophisticated communications technology, virtual team-building, and collaborative software (Phelps, 2014). In order to affect long-term value creation, leaders will be compelled to seek, understand, and use new technology at the same or greater pace than peer competitors. Seeking out and testing new software or digital platforms cannot remain the historical responsibility of the IT department or company information manager. Leaders will require technical, organizational, and communication skills to utilize advances in the digital marketplace while being proactive in training subordinates on the use of cutting edge-technology (Phelps, 2014).
The speed at which information flows and the study of ‘big data’ is significantly changing the marketplace. Davenport (2014) suggests leaders must comprehend that knowledge can transverse the globe near-instantaneously, requiring transparency, the willingness to consult multiple sources for problem-solving, and the ability to make decisions faster than competitors. Leaders who do not isolate themselves within their organizations and embrace the collaborative properties of the Net will increase the value of their organization (Weinberger, 2011). Additionally, the workplace has changed by the study of the digital traces created when users interact with the digital domain; these traces create data which can be manipulated to understand the behaviors of individuals and groups (Davenport, 2014). This data can used to understand ways to increase marketplace value and provide customers products based on their activities within the Web.
The speed at which information travels may be one reason Google Glass failed. While the company publicly provided its intent to create a digital product that could be worn as eyewear, Google failed to enact an information management plan that encouraged the use of the failed product (Metz, 2014). Nevertheless, wearable devices will gain popularity as they enhance the ability to interact with the increasing number of Net-enabled smart-objects in our homes and work environments (Gartner, 2014). When, not if, connectivity with data and the internet becomes ubiquitous, as depicted in the Corning (2011 and 2012) videos, even our clothing may provide us the ability to interact with the Web (Kelly, 2011).
Kelly (2011) suggests two critical ideas for leaders to consider: a) everything can be shared, and data is “always there, always on”; and b) “where our attention goes, money will follow.” The number of global internet users in 2014 was 2.8 billion and continues to grow; in fact, internet users are often the first source for news and information, gathering data far faster than established news networks, distributing “just-in-time information” (Meeks, 2015). Today’s leader must be far-sighted, looking at methods and trends just beyond the horizon to enhance her workforce and create value for her organization. The internet has changed nearly every aspect of business, and the savvy leader will be able to exploit developing technology while maintaining the characteristic traits of the transformative leader.
Corning. (2011, February 24). A day made of glass: Corning’s vision for the future with specialty glass at the heart of it video. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com
Corning. (2012, February 4). A day made of glass 2. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com
Davenport, B. (2014). From A to Google: How technology is impacting information and leadership. Journal of Leadership Studies, 8(2), 41-45.
Gartner. (2014, February 24). Gartner identifies top 10 mobile technologies and capabilities for 2015 and 2016. Retrieved from http://www.gartner.com
Kelly, K. (2011, July 22). Attention flows: the future of the digital media landscape. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com
Meeks, M. (2015, May 26). 2015 internet trends report. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net
Metz, R. (2014, November 26). Google Glass is dead: Long live smart glasses. Retrieved from http://www.technologyreview.com
Phelps, K. C. (2014). “So much technology, so little talent?” Skills for harnessing technology for leadership outcomes. Journal of Leadership Studies, 8(2), 51-56.
Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know. New York: Basic Books.