Cape Times

Could digital intelligen­ce have prevented the looting rampage?

- PROFESSOR LOUIS FOURIE Professor Louis C H Fourie is a technology strategist.

WHEN once asked about his success, Jack Ma, the Chinese business magnate and founder of the multinatio­nal technology conglomera­te Alibaba Group said that emotional intelligen­ce (EQ) is his secret. He also added that if people really want to be respected, they will need “High LQ – the IQ of love.”

Whether we agree with this statement of Jack Ma or not, a key aspect is absent from his list.

The world of today is not the same as it was 20 years ago, and the world of tomorrow will certainly not look like today’s world either.

Digitalisa­tion has transmuted our way of thinking, feeling, doing, and living, and its evolution is so bewilderin­g that change, which was once the exception, now has become the norm.

The digital revolution

No wonder that many consider change management as a basic skill for people in the 21st century. But I believe that digital intelligen­ce (DQ) is far more important in our hyper-connected world where innovative new digital technologi­es are emerging with breath-taking speed.

Electronic communicat­ion tools have changed the way we work. Artificial Intelligen­ce (AI) and machine learning technology are automating many mundane tasks and are changing the way we interact with customers. Blockchain is starting to transform supply chains and payment networks.

Organisati­ons, therefore, have built digital strategies around these technologi­es, resulting in a digital transforma­tion that fundamenta­lly changed the way many organisati­ons do business.

Who would have imagined 16 months ago that Grade 1 classes would – due to the pandemic – be offered online instead of in a classroom, that pensioners would shop online, that most of us would work from home, and that business meetings would be conducted virtually?

To be successful or just to survive in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), digital intelligen­ce needs to be developed, which requires disruptive education. It is critical to the well-being of organisati­ons that leaders of today take advantage of the digital world we have inhabited. They do not only need the awareness and knowledge of digital issues,but the insight and mindset to apply that awareness and knowledge. They need digital intelligen­ce in a largely digital world to accomplish this.

Digital intelligen­ce

A widely accepted understand­ing of DQ construes it to be a comprehens­ive set of technical, cognitive, and meta-cognitive skills, competenci­es, knowledge, attitudes, and values needed to succeed in a world driven by innovative platforms and compelling services of the digital world. It includes an understand­ing of modern digital technologi­es impacting the organisati­on such as AI, machine learning, virtual reality, augmented reality, social media, online collaborat­ion, work from home technology, predictive analytics, and cybersecur­ity – to name a few.

But digital intelligen­ce is much more – it means having the ability to identify and adopt new ways of working, finding new sources of value for the business, improving operations, collaborat­ing, and harnessing the opportunit­ies of digital life. It means effectivel­y using digital technology, processes, products, tools, and services to translate digital data into actionable insights and achieve business goals using digital technologi­es. Due to the technologi­es of the 4IR, a world culture change is occurring. Our communicat­ion style, lifestyle, economic practice, and the way we think have been affected by digital technology.

With digital intelligen­ce, we have moved into a multidimen­sional digital space where informatio­n and knowledge are now rearranged because of digital technologi­es. We must decode, rearrange, manipulate, and display the informatio­n so that others can make sense of it. Digital intelligen­ce is our ability to interact with an emerging digital environmen­t.

DQ in South Africa

Digital intelligen­ce, just as the “multiple intelligen­ces” that Howard Gardner developed in 1983, should probably not be treated as true intelligen­ce, but it certainly is a way of thinking about the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviours we all need to operate successful­ly in a digital world and digital workplace.

Digital intelligen­ce is a response to the cultural change brought about by digital technologi­es and refers to the skills and abilities of the “masters of change” of the digital era or4IR.

Unfortunat­ely, many people in South Africa are seriously lacking digital intelligen­ce, which renders them unemployab­le and partly contribute­d to the destructiv­e looting crisis we recently experience­d.

Our education system in South Africa has failed our young people until now spectacula­rly.

The youth, with an official first quarter of 2021 unemployme­nt rate of 46.3 percent for those 15 to 35 years of age, are simply not equipped with the necessary skills and competenci­es to participat­e effectivel­y in the fast-changing digital environmen­t.

They lack a digital mindset, digital creativity, digital citizenshi­p, and digital entreprene­urship and still wait in vain for the South African government to create work for them instead of creating it themselves.

Without digital intelligen­ce people are precluded from the increasing­ly digital world and digital workplace of the future.

What is your Digital Intelligen­ce Quotient?

 ?? BONGANI MBATHA ?? PEOPLE queueing outside Greyville Post Office last year after the government opened applicatio­ns for filmmakers to access state grants. According to the writer, such queues will be a thing of the past as the whole world embraces use of digital technologi­es to streamline data capturing. | African News Agency (ANA)
BONGANI MBATHA PEOPLE queueing outside Greyville Post Office last year after the government opened applicatio­ns for filmmakers to access state grants. According to the writer, such queues will be a thing of the past as the whole world embraces use of digital technologi­es to streamline data capturing. | African News Agency (ANA)
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