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@ThingsExpo: Blog Post

The Combinatorial Nature of Digital Building Blocks | @ThingsExpo #IoT #DX #DigitalTransformation

How standardization can be a competitive advantage

I came across the brilliant blog site of Futurist Frank Diana this week.  In one of his most recent articles he discusses the concept of combinatorial nature. He states, "We are seeing exponential convergence across the areas of science, technology, economics, society, ethics, and politics. The combinatorial nature of an overwhelming number of building blocks drives an accelerating intersection across these areas." As an expert Lego player, I can appreciate the concept of building blocks, and the near infinite number of combinations these blocks can be used to form. The idea that we have now reached a critical mass of digital building blocks, and that we will now experience exponential growth through the combinatorial nature of them is compelling.

The World Economic Forum also describes the future in similar ways, "We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before... Billions of people are now connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge.  And these possibilities are being multiplied by breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing."

Both of these quotes, and the idea that we have reached a new era as a result of the combinatorial nature of digital building blocks, begs the question of what does this mean for for our organizations today? The answer can be found in the Lego block.

Legos come in standardized shapes, sizes and integration points that allow for the rapid build of billions of different combinations. The standardization of Lego blocks doesn't restrict our ability to create new and unique combinations, rather it enhances it. Organizations must recognize that the winners of today and tomorrow are not organizations that create their own bespoke building blocks, but that have the vision to use standardized digital building blocks to offer unique combinations faster than their opponents.

Follow Kevin Benedict on Twitter @krbenedict, connect with him on LinkedIn

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is an opinionated futurist, Principal Analyst at the Center for Digital Intelligence™, C4DIGI.com, emerging technologies analyst, and digital transformation and business strategy consultant. In the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries, and is a keynote speaker at conferences worldwide. He spent nearly 5 years working as a Senior Analyst at Cognizant (CTSH), and 2 years serving in Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work where he wrote many reports, hundreds of articles, interviewed technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries. He has written articles published in The Guardian, wrote the Forward to SAP Press' book titled "Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP", published over 3,000 articles and was featured as thought leader and digital strategist in the Department of Defense's IQT intelligence journal. Kevin lectures and leads workshops, teaches and consults with companies and government agencies around the world to help develop digital transformation and business strategies. Visit his website at C4DIGI.com.

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