Naturally Novak

Naturally Novak Blog

Sure, your media company claims “digital first” — but does it hire like it?

18 August 2014 · By Anette Novak

Companies focusing on a digital media strategy must make sure they have fully committed by hiring the right people and being the sort of company these people want to work for. Many companies now have a chief digital officer, for example. Does yours?

It’s been five years now since you’ve solemnly vowed “digital first.”

It might have felt like a bold step at the time, but by now you should have adapted. Your customers, current and future, have all gone digital. They are “digital first.”

But are you?

Have you taken all the necessary steps to deliver on this sacred promise?

  • Do you have the supporting business models?

  • Do you invest more in digital R&D than in print, property, or any other venture you might have launched to diversify revenue?

  • Are you recruiting the talent that will be able to lift your operation into this bright, interactive future?

Because it is definitely bright — for those who ticked the above points. If you haven’t, that makes me extremely anxious. And the single factor that worries me the most is that you haven’t ticked the last point.

If you think you will make this 360-degree turnaround (in the short time left at your disposal) with the print competence you automatically have, you will fail.

I regularly train media managers from across the globe. One example is the executive management programme Nordic Media Programme (NMP) run by the media association in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland.

This is an exciting cross-disciplinary and multi-national model where participants challenge themselves and each other. My colleague, Bo-Magnus Salenius, and I use action learning techniques combined with external inspiration to dramatically move mindsets.

During the last module in Norway’s beautiful capital, Oslo, we welcomed brilliant U.S. media strategist Ken Doctor for an exclusive lecture and workshop day. This was an example of great people co-creating great thoughts on the future in general and future successful media in particular.

That’s fine. Well, that’s more than fine.

However, when directly asked if these top managers were satisfied with their human resources strategy, very few gave a positive reply.

This was a painful awakening, for sure. However, it led to challenging but productive discussions on how to become a cool employer, capable of attracting the digital talents within programming, SEO, user experience design, and other crucial disciplines.

John Paton says put the digital people in charge of everything. He was and is still right.

But as I move around legacy media companies and assess transition processes, I worry that you:

  1. Haven’t put the digital people in charge of anything (of strategic importance).

  2. Cannot attract them to your companies altogether.

Gartner goes so far as to claim that the chief digital officer (CDO) will be the “most exciting strategic role in the decade ahead.”

The CDO numbers are also predicted to increase – from 500 last year to 1,000 by the end of 2014.

A restaurant with Michelin star dreams will not attract fine diners if it keeps working with the same staff, who only know how to flip burgers. A Formula 1 car manufacturer will not gain credibility with the top drivers if he merely employs autodidact car mechanics from the used car repair shop on the corner. And airline passengers will never take a seat in a jumbo jet piloted by someone who learned the tricks from a simulator.

To succeed with a giant digital leap, you need to take many small strategic steps in that direction. One should involve structure.

Other industries are hiring their CDOs now.

When will you?

print article send to friend

blog comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

I am Anette Novak, CEO of Interactive Institute Swedish ICT, which conducts world-class applied research and innovation, creating groundbreaking user experiences. Also, I am an international media consultant, World Editors Forum board member, gourmet, long distance runner and Francophile – mainly because the Parisians walk and talk as fast as I do. I am former editor-in-chief of the Swedish regional media house Norran. I believe in digital opportunities for publishers, open innovation. The future belongs to media companies that are able to maintain the trust of the audience, who define themselves as active community players, and who are able to create amazing experiences.


RSS feed

Blog archives

February 2015 ( 1 )
January 2015 ( 1 )
December 2014 ( 1 )
November 2014 ( 1 )
October 2014 ( 1 )
September 2014 ( 1 )
August 2014 ( 1 )
July 2014 ( 1 )
June 2014 ( 1 )
May 2014 ( 1 )
April 2014 ( 1 )
March 2014 ( 1 )
February 2014 ( 1 )
January 2014 ( 1 )
December 2013 ( 1 )
November 2013 ( 1 )
October 2013 ( 1 )
September 2013 ( 1 )
August 2013 ( 1 )
July 2013 ( 1 )

Blog roll

Huffington Post

My favourite sites

Knight Foundation
Nieman Lab
Tech Crunch
Venture Beat

Join INMA Today
Upcoming Events
INMA Connect: Educate, Engage, Experience (E³)
Dallas, United States
26-27 October 2017
INMA Subscription Models Summit (E³)
Dallas, United States
26 October 2017
INMA Video Revenue Summit (E³)
Dallas, United States
27 October 2017
INMA Silicon Valley Study Tour
San Francisco, United States
13-17 November 2017
INMA Global Media Awards
Dallas, United States
26 January 2018
INMA World Congress of News Media
Washington, D.C., United States
31 May - 05 June 2018

More Events

Member Profiles

  • Atul Talegaonkar

  • Mi-Ai Parrish
    United States

  • Suzanne Darnell

  • Rajiv Mishra

  • Andreas Hooftman

  • Jan Ippen

©2017 INMA | Home | About | Contact | RSS | Privacy