Monthly Research
& Market Commentary

Becoming a 21st Century Human – I’m keen, but is the organization?

Proactive, Haptic Sensing / 16 Nov 2016 / By Bob Barker

It’s been a month since we made live the ‘Are you a 21st Century Human’ digital skills self-assessment.  What is quite revealing about the results is that in general, people agree with the importance of digital for themselves and their organization, but when it comes to the organization supporting them to be affective or building a corresponding digital culture – these questions scored the lowest.

Figure 1: My organization provides me with the environment, digital tools and digital coaching I need to be fully effective

21st century human survey results

The survey asks 25 digital-themed questions to assess whether individuals have the required skill sets to claim the mantle of being a 21st century human, supporting the 21st century organization. With over 120 responses to date, 30 percent reside within the over 50 age demographic and 36 percent between 40-49, which is a good reflection of our senior management client base.

An overwhelming 98 per cent of respondents said that they feel that digital competence is important to the organization; that they share on a regular basis and are becoming more transparent, all of which is a good sign that digital is an integral part of the wheels of communication within a business.

In terms of personal brand and identity, 93 per cent agree that a digital profile is important to their identity and say that they have thought through their profile on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, with over 66 per cent saying this has had a positive impact on their careers. This confirms a common goal we find amongst executives we have trained in this area with the popular statement, “I want to look good online”.

When it comes to exploring new technologies, 92 per cent of respondents say they do ‘explore’ and also that they are comfortable with their set-up for social media and listening, although less are eager to participate in groups or try new services. Social media has been around for a good ten years now, thus many people have become comfortable with their use.  However, messaging within groups is relatively new and according to market trends are taking over from social media interaction.  This is in part due to social platforms becoming more ‘media’ (paid for element/success criteria) than social, and messaging within groups are more purpose driven and private than general social/chat oriented.

In other areas, the use of AI/Digital Assistants received lower scores with only 20 per cent strongly agreeing and 36 per cent disagreeing with the statement ‘I regularly use digital assistants’.  It’s early days here, however, in terms of being comfortable with their personal ecosystem (Microsoft, Google, Apple) 95 per cent are comfortable (44.5% Strongly agreeing and 40.6% agreeing), although when it comes to proactively managing apps that overall figure drops by a large 35 per cent. This generally again reflects the maturity of this technology (and of course we have to factor in that participants in our assessment are largely from the IT industry).  At the LEF, however, we often find that what people say and their actual competence levels can differ vastly. During our Xperience Lab (Xlab) we ask participants to complete a digital profile during the workshop which takes the hard data about their actual use of social and digital tools. This is not designed to catch people out but rather to help motivate them to take on an upgrade plan and use the coaching provided to work on specifics in areas that need improving and which are highlighted during the Xlab.

As quoted in the headline, the most revealing statistic thus far is that about half the respondents were either neutral or disagreed with the statement “My organization provides me with the environment, digital skills and coaching I need to be fully effective”, with a similar figure responding for “I work within a culture that fully embraces the use of digital technology for organizational gain”.

Figure 2: I work within a culture that fully embraces the use of digital technology for organizational gain

21st century human survey results

This does imply that the organization is behind in its digital thinking and application, as opposed to the individual who has embraced BYOD and consumer technology inside and outside their work. This is why LEFs major focus is to help our clients understand what it takes to be fit for purpose in the 21st Century Organization and 21st Century Human with our work within the Xperience Lab providing the practical hands-on catalyst for executives to understand the need to change both from an organizational and a personal perspective.

Not taken the self-assessment yet?  Complete it at:

Understand our Building the 21st Century Organization approach further, and to help your organization step up, book a one- or two-day Xperience Lab to improve both your digital mindset and your motivation to understand how immersive technology can effect change in your business.


*{{ error }}
*{{ error }}
*{{ error }}
*{{ error }}
*{{ error }}
*{{ error }}


21st Century
Adaptive Execution
Proactive, Haptic Sensing
Reimagining the Portfolio
Value Centric Leadership


The Counter-Industrial Revolution
19 Feb 2019 / By David Rimmer
How far along is the success of the Distributed Ledger and DApps?
23 Jan 2019 / By Krzysztof (Chris) Daniel
2019: The Year of Digital Decisions
15 Jan 2019 / By Richard Davies
Defending Digital
12 Dec 2018 / By David Moschella
Our Research Agenda 2019
30 Nov 2018 / By Simon Wardley, David Reid