I recently overheard a conversation on the train where a lady was explaining to her friend how embarrassed she was to have used LOL in an attempt to get 'with it' amongst her grandchildren. Mistakenly believing it to be that old chestnut 'lots of love', the gesture had backfired in her attempt to be sympathetic about the death of a pet.

Much has been opined about the differences between generations in terms of technological know how, and some would argue that the differences are exaggerated and no greater than those from previous generations.

Perhaps it boils down to a comparison between those who are learning new digital tricks whilst unlearning the past, versus those who are born 'digitally native'. Who would believe that a two year old can now navigate an iPad simply by copying their parent; an example given recently by a new CCA member.

There aren't enough superlatives to adequately describe this week’s eye watering financial results from Apple, confirming a world of accelerated digital direction of travel; at least for consumers. But what about traditional organisations, with a legacy of well trodden paths of engrained processes, evolved over decades to meet the needs of an organisation rather than an agile consumer? 

Every organisation in our network is on a digital journey, some with great success, others bearing scars from futile attempts to match channel and customer choice without proper insight. The predictable results of queues to scaled down and unprepared call centres are all too familiar.

Apple pulled off an amazing trick by predicting, creating and delivering an ‘i’ world for us that we now know we always wanted and can't imagine life without. There is now an urgent imperative for brands and services to 'match fund' this with creative blends of self serve and conversation, seamlessly allowing consumers to be remote and satisfied, or up close and personal when they need to be and where being human is vital; emotional issues, complaints or emergencies to name a few.

Yesterday's announcement by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, advising the public to go online to report minor crimes, rather than call 999 was met with a scathing response from those who believe that a personal response is non negotiable. On the other hand a press commentator gave an example of how he had queued for ages at a police station to report the loss of a valuable ring; in hindsight he should have gone online and logged it immediately, getting a faster response and freeing up resource for emergencies.

We are all on a learning journey, and there are emerging truths about this transition.  A vital lesson relates to the degree that we trust organisations when they try to encourage us to communicate in a particular way. Does it benefit us or are we being short changed to save money?  This lesson is evident in the attempts to encourage the public to report incidents online - if we trust that crimes will get attended to more speedily we will welcome the transition to a digital world.

Digital transformation forms an important part of our Industry Council Leadership Forum research and benchmarking programme, and we are excited about how companies can leapfrog the pain by learning new tricks from those who have mastered the art. We can't all be Apples but we can surely try a bite?