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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 Senior Analyst at Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work, SAP Mentor Alumnus, speaker, writer, and mobile and digital strategies expert. He is a popular keynote speaker, and in the past three years he has shared his insights into mobile and digital strategies with companies in 17 different countries. He has over 30 years of experience working with enterprise applications, and he is a veteran mobile industry executive. He wrote the Forward to SAP Press' bestselling book on enterprise mobility titled Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP, and he has written over 3,000 articles.

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