Race for the Quantum Internet

In 2021, the race for the ‘Quantum Internet’ ignites. In 2020 NASA scientists had a major breakthrough in the transference of data known as ‘Long Distance Quantum Teleportation’.  According to reports, they managed to place data 27-miles away, without any flow of the data in between the start point and the destination.  The ‘Quantum Internet’ is now a future reality rather than a possibility. The future Internet will deliver not only instantaneity but an advanced cybersecurity called ‘Quantum Key Distribution’, without the need for encryption, and any hackers leaving a provable trace, making it secure far beyond the realms of today’s Internet and cybersecurity standards. 

For citizens, as well as organizations, it provides confidence, but also the opportunity to deliver multi-dimensional media including virtual world content in high-volumes to global audiences without interference or security hindrance. In short, while the Quantum Internet may take some years to arrive, the opportunities will be endless.

Extract: Digital World Predictions 2021

About the Author
Strategy and digital expert Deborah Collier is the founder of the Digital Skills Authority.


2021 Bridge of Hope

In my annual Top 5 Digital World Predictions for 2021, I wanted to provide both solutions and hope to readers, for those looking for opportunities, and those concerned about their future. In many circles in academia, government, some media and business, it is common knowledge that the Coronavirus threat is not expected to pass until 2022, unless there is a radical shift. During this tough year ahead while collectively we manage health, individual and global economies, my concern is employment generation, household incomes and the welfare of others during the crisis.

‘The Bridge of Hope’ must be carefully and strategically planned, with every opportunity to secure a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous future for all.  Coronavirus has forced a global reset, regardless of whether many businesses were in dire need of a relaunch – a reboot ensuing from unfavourable economic events since 2008. Whatever our actions, it is imperative that we address not only businesses, wealth and prosperity, but the employment and support of our fellow human-beings.  We will have some turmoil ahead, but ultimately the future can be bright.

Extract: Digital World Predictions 2021

About the Author
Deborah is a globally-renowned futurist, strategy expert and founder of the Digital Skills Authority.


Why National Change Management Strategies are Vital Right Now?

The globe and it’s countries of people are going through a significant change economically, technologically, culturally and socially. Strategies to protect lives, livelihoods and the economy are at the forefront, while harnessing and capitalising on technological opportunity take prominant place in both business and government. Global strategy is interlinked with national and regional strategies, and are largely dependent on the unique culture and running of services and business in each country.

As a result of Coronavirus, humanity has been forced into a seismic shift in the way we do things and how we interact with eachother. ‘Change management strategy’ involves not only the processes, but the management of both business and governmental relationships with the people, during highly turbulent economic, medical and environmental times. Effective communications are at the heart of navigating through successful change. Capabilities and finance are a large barrier, but the general public could be the biggest barrier to change. Ensuring the people are on-side takes significant trust building and breaking down emotional barriers. People dislike change that impacts their way of life, particularly in ways we do not accept, and in general we will not follow leadership if and when trust is broken. Education and the media are a vital element in keeping the public informed, but also supporting us through that complex, and emotionally challenging super change. Social media monitoring, listening and responding both compassionately and practically is critical, as is collaboration. Using my own nation the United Kingdom as an example, this is certainly the most challenging time we’ve had since World War II. We thought the transition through Brexit and the impact those years have had on employment and businesses, was bad enough. I’d like to know, where is and who is leading our change management strategy, and is it robust enough to lead us through this crisis, and the long-term changes we may have to consider?

About the Author
Deborah Collier is a business and educational leader globally renowned for strategy, with specialisms in digital business, digital and humanity, information, education and marketing. Change management strategy is a vital ingredient in organisational leadership and transformation – digital transformation or otherwise.


Digital Ethics – How Can We Balance Humanity with Innovation?

Digital ethics is coming of age. The rise in social media conversation, user-generated content and use of mobile devices, coupled with our growing interaction with digital and artificial intelligence, means that as individuals we are creating an extension of ourselves and a ‘digital identity’. As we become more ‘digitally human’, protection and privacy of our digital selves is becoming ever-more critical. As digital business and automation continue to grow, with more tasks occupied by Artificial Intelligence, the question of ethics regarding innovation versus both employment and human behaviour, come to the forefront. However, digital business frees up individuals to perform more managerial, creative and innovation roles. In 2020 and beyond, I predict a significant shift in employment and skills needs. Both organisations and individuals must ensure that they have the right skills, education, experience, culture and environment to fulfil these changing needs. Environment and the planet is also of growing importance to humanity, and as such, while automation and digital reduce paper usage and deforestation, electricity production and energy sources to run technology and server farms, should continue to come from ‘green’ power production such as solar and wind power.

Excerpt from Deborah’s ‘Top 5 2020 Digital World Predictions‘ published in January 2020

About the Author

Deborah is President at Digital Skills Authority, and has worked in the field of digital business, publishing and media for the last 20-years. She champions ethics in digital business and innovation.


Coronavirus Challenges & Opportunities in Education

Coronavirus has had a huge impact both negatively and positively as a result of Coronavirus. From CEO’s, professors and teachers concerned about the welfare of their staff and students, to business and organizational leaders concerned about meeting educational objectives, the facilitation of exams, security of content, operational challenges and impact on costs and income.

Facilitating Learning

Facilitating learning, when students and pupils cannot attend a classroom, due to either travel restrictions and risks or building closures, means that education has to be transferred to online – either through live online classrooms, or through e-learning.  There are a number of challenges with online classrooms and e-learning:-

  • Technology and accessibility
  • Delivery of quality learning and student engagement (is more challenging online)
  • Protection of content intellectual property
  • The speed required to transcend classroom learning to online

In the case of classroom attendance, maintaining student and staff safety with physical distancing is very challenging, and means that there is less room in a lecture theatre or classroom for students to attend.  University professors are reporting as much as a five-fold increase in volume of work, due to having to repeat classroom seminars as much as five times for one class.  In addition, they are reporting cost-cutting and pay cuts. 


How can educational institutions facilitate examinations during lockdown, with social distancing, or when travel restrictions are in place?

  • E-Learning often offers short multiple-choice questionnaires, but there is no way of verifying that the person taking the exam is the person being issued with the award
  • Live Online Exams (Secure exam systems with a live invigilator) as offered by the Digital Skills Authority, is one option but is dependent on a number of things.
    • Speed of implementation, testing and learning – Implementing exams and learning, and strategy for how to use the systems can take several weeks, if not months to complete
    • A qualified and well-trained network of exam invigilators
    • Speedy and reliable technology and Internet for all students (to take the exam)
    • The ability to handle case study exams, which may include drawing and writing
  • Classroom exams require further space for exam invigilation due to distancing, and there is an additional need for hand-washing and protection when touching exam materials and interacting with students.

Enabling Qualifications for Schools, Colleges and Universities

The United Kingdom’s solution for students is to issue qualifications based on predicted grades.  However, conversations with academia indicate that the predicted grades are actually a significant percentage lower than they would expect a student to eventually gain.  This means, that some students are missing out on a realistic grade. Additionally, this process does not account for those who may have had challenging times at home, impacting their predicted grade, who may actually succeed in an exam due to additional input and hard work.  It does however help those who perform well during class, but suffer from exam stress.  Stress and uncertainty about the future have impacted everyone, and would no doubt impact exam study and results, as well as potentially university dissertations. University professors have reported dissertations with multiple repeat paragraphs in their papers – stress or attempting to reach a word count? Whatever the case, their performance is impacted.

From a human and human development perspective, I would consider postponing all exams for one year and developing an alternative solution for the break year – one that provides value to students and ensures they remain engaged. As an interim, students, employees and job seekers can focus on shorter remote learning certification exams, if they feel able to.


E-Learning and virtual learning is nothing new, but Coronavirus has highlighted the absolute necessity for there to be a mix of learning channels, whether this be through live webinar, virtual classrooms, interactive e-learning or recorded video.   Digital learning takes time to implement. Two established 5-day certifications took almost one year to convert to online, and were enabled by excellent knowledge of technology, digital online engagement traditional educational experience, as well as significant careful planning and testing.   The beauty of digital content is that educators can reach a wider audience.  Institutions have the choice of offering live tutor interaction or simply an automated self-service option. Both choices are normally reflective in the pricing. There is a significant difference in pricing between online and classroom learning, which is driven by the value and experience of personal one-to-one attention or consultative nature of a classroom course, versus e-learning.  Pricing is also impacted by student affordability as well as competition.  An optimal pricing strategy is key and must be measured against both costs to build, deliver and maintain the programs, as well as user demand.  Brand trust and educator credibility can elevate pricing, however it is both reputation and impact that count for students, whether that is know-how, the certification or both. The potential to reach a far wider audience through online education makes digital education an attractive option for expanding the reach and impact of the information and skills organisations provide, as well as increasing revenues and profit. As always there is a balance that needs to be achieved – that is offering high-impacting educational content and mechanisms, without devaluing the education delivered.

About the Author

Deborah Collier is President & Chief Information Marketing Officer at the Digital Skills Authority. She is also on the board of Directors of a leading UK government backed apprenticeships organisation.


Rise of the Digital Human

Looking to the future, we should investigate possibility and question the impossibility.

Digital brings both amazing opportunities and risk to humanity, which need to be carefully managed.  Humanity is evolving as we become more and more ‘digitally human’. What will the attributes of a typical human being be in 2030?  With digital progressing at such a rapid rate, the impact on social, economic, lifestyle, health and other aspects of human-beings is evolving too.  We are on a superhighway and must remain agile. In order to innovate for the future, we need to understand the lifestyles, opportunities, challenges, desires, needs and circumstances of people in 2030.  This requires understanding of several different disciplines, a look into how digital and other technological advancement will transform progress in key areas such social, medical, retail, employment, political and the workplace, for example.

Collaboratively strategic and innovative thinkers, as well as subject matter experts can create profiles or a group of profiles of the typical human-being in 2030.  Through this understanding of human beings, innovators and organisations, can align their roadmap to fit their audience early. In doing so, they can align their business, services and products, and the marketing, communication and delivery of their products and services to fit the needs of their audience.  Lessons learned from history, are great at helping us to ensure we avoid future mistakes, and thankfully we are in an information era, where we have a catalogue of knowledge and experience at our fingertips.  Looking to the future, we should investigate possibility and question the impossibility. However, in order to steer our journey in the right direction, we must have a vision of where we are heading or where would ideally like to be in both the near and long-term future.

About the Author

Deborah Collier, a strategic educational and business leader, has worked with, implemented, researched,  developed strategies, advised and written about digital for 20-years. She has been heavily active on social media, and defined a concept she named the “Content Social Symbiosis” which also features in the courses she developed over the years. President, Founder at Digital Skills Authority, Deborah is a futurist and digital philosopher, and has investigated, spoken publicly and taught others about Digital Ethics – in particular digital’s impact on humanity. 


A Decade of E-Business Predictions

As a futurist, developing strategies and delivering strategic counsel, I have always thought about risks and opportunities ahead – from technological advancements and innovations, as well as cultural, economic and governmental shifts.

During 2009 – 2018, I published my top 5 annual predictions for e-business for the coming year. I’ve listed the subjects below with links to the articles (which have been published in the media, as well as on Digital Skills Authority’s – The Certificate in Online Business web site).

In 2020, with the changing landscape, I launched a new series of ‘Digital World Predictions‘.

The majority of the below 2009-2018 predictions did take place, or are starting to take place now. Some are also opportunities, which have not been fully taken advantage of. In those predictions, I offer ideas and tips for future successful business enabled by digital.

E-Business Predictions 2018

  1. E-Risk Takes Centre-Stage – Response to new global impacting legislation
  2. Boom in India
  3. E-Commerce Strategy Response to Brexit
  4. Subscription Services Join Forces
  5. Artificial Intelligence Marketing Evolution

Read 2018 Predictions and Advice >>

E-Business Predictions 2017

  1. V-Commerce (Virtual Reality Shopping) Becomes Accessible
  2. Online Businesses Focus on Child Protection
  3. 4G Delivers Content to a Wider Audience in Asia Pacific
  4. Bitcoin Blooming
  5. Travel and Tourism – Opportunity and Turbulence

Read 2017 Predictions and Advice >>

E-Business Predictions 2016

  1. V-Commerce (Virtual Reality Shopping)
  2. E-Business Strategy for Mobile
  3. Real-time Product and Service Preparation & Tracking
  4. How to be Clever at Online Marketing in 2016
  5. Progress through Collaboration

Read 2016 Predictions and Advice >>

E-Business Predictions 2015

  1. Banks Enable Innovation in the UK
  2. Pureplay Internet Businesses in MINT condition
  3. Teenagers Lay Future Foundations
  4. Privacy Takes Centre Stage
  5. Customer Service Reinvention

Read 2015 Predictions and Advice >>

E-Business Predictions 2014

  1. West Invests in Ultimate E-Business
  2. Big Data Brain
  3. All Eyes on Brazil
  4. Africa Potential
  5. Social Advertising Matures

Read 2014 Predictions and Advice >>

E-Business Predictions 2013

  1. Focus on Emerging Markets
  2. Online Retailers Turn to Bricks and Mortar
  3. Increase in Citizen E-Commerce
  4. Death of the Small Retailer?
  5. Regulating E-Business Takes Centre Stage

Read 2013 Predictions and Advice >>

E-Business Predictions 2012

  1. High Volume Sales, Supply Chain and Customer Service at Heart of Retail Strategy
  2. Mobile Payments Evolution
  3. Social Design
  4. The Success of Multi-Channel is Cross-Channel
  5. The Leaner Government

Read 2012 Predictions and Advice >>

E-Business Predictions 2011

  1. Tax Hikes to Increase E-Commerce and Exports
  2. Entrepreneurialism Stimulated by Internet opportunities
  3. Emerging Markets
  4. The Mobile Age
  5. Team Restructuring

Read 2011 Predictions and Advice >>

E-Business Predictions 2010

  1. Goodbye to the Middleman
  2. The Year of the Delivery Company
  3. Creative Sponsored Advertising
  4. Mobile Commerce Revolution
  5. Free Culture Frenzy

Read 2010 Predictions and Advice >>

E-Business Predictions 2009

  1. Year of the Small Business Entrepreneur
  2. Social Media Overload Means Start of Social Media Strategy
  3. Widget Wizardry – Dynamically Updating Widgets in Place of Banner Ads
  4. Personalisation – Customer Chooses Their Own Content
  5. Product Pricing Wars and E-Commerce

Read 2009 Predictions and Advice >>


Is Music Vital to Innovation?

Imagination (divergent thinking) combined with logical thinking based on fact (convergent thinking), enables individuals to think outside the box to solve problems and innovate.

Humanity has the ability to think critically with imagination and creativity.  As both an educational leader and specialist in strategy and innovation, I strongly believe listening to music helps creativity. Soothing, lilting, positive and energizing music, helps to relax and open the brain, but creativity depends largely on the mindset and makeup of an individual’s psychology, which has largely formed at an early age.  We only have to look at small businesses owners, and students working in the deafening quiet of a library, listening to music on their headphones, to see how music impacts their ability to work. From a personal perspective, I see most scenarios like a map, like trees with branches growing outwards with ideas, risks and benefits. Listening to music daily greatly helps this process. I’ve noticed a cultural shift in nurturing innovation, creative and divergent thinking in the workplace, so I don’t think creative levels are declining.  I do however think the economic climate is impacting creative levels and the ability to deliver great outputs in all areas of life. Once we reduce stress, create stability, and an environment that enables divergent thinking, there will be more creativity, which will in turn help humanity progress.

Human beings are challenged more than ever by the volume of media they see on daily basis, whether this be entertainment, information or education.  Social media as a channel for delivery of this media, has also added to an influx of stimulae. This means that unless headlines and content are engaging and captivating within a matter of seconds, consumers will not take notice.  At the same time, there is a huge amount of casual scrolling with many people adding quick ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’, without fully absorbing the content.  Does this impact our time listening to music? I think we are listening to music alongside this media or at other times, relaxing or otherwise.

My work mainly involves strategy and innovation, and among strategists and innovators, it’s known that breaks to play, think, walk and relax are vital to help us solve problems and formulate ideas.  Listening to music while relaxing or even dancing, is a great way to rest the brain and enable it to free up space for creativity. I have some of my best ideas when walking, dancing or relaxing listening to music, and for me, both the melody and the lyrics have an impact on my creativity.  People do tend to differ in whether than can listen to music, TV or video while having a conversation, or working on projects.  Some of us like to filter out additional noise, and avoid ‘sensory overload’ while eithers appreciate the comfort of additional sounds and stimulae.


Free Versus Paid – How do You Value Knowledge?

I’ve always been very generous with sharing knowledge through articles and social media posts.   As a strategic advisor and leader in education and business, it’s my instinct to want to help, come up with ideas and solve problems. The 50,000 words plus of articles and books, I’ve written over the years, have hopefully inspired and supported others in business, digital, career ventures and pursuits.  However, knowledge must be valued.  There has to be a balance between sharing and offering insight, to giving away vital intelligence or even your ‘Intellectual Property’.

Generosity, should never be confused with low value, but as a taster of what more lies behind, what could be, just a fraction of know-how or information.  I share about 5% of my specialist knowledge for free in articles, in social media or in conversation, and share about 30% in very in-depth high-value courses I’ve authored.  Creative thought process, research, ideas and knowledge are reserved in measure to the organisations I work for, future ventures, or those I am paid to advise. 

It’s wonderful to have a following that reads your articles and social media posts, as you do want to offer value, but it’s important also to ensure you and your work continue to remain valued.

About the Author

Deborah is an author, publisher, advisor and educational leader. She is President and Chief Information Officer at Digital Skills Authority, and also serves on the board of directors at a leading UK government-backed apprenticeships organisation.


How to Combat Information Warfare

The only credible opponent to Information Warfare is truth!

Information warfare is used in politics, in war and is sometimes found in unscrupulous corporate competition. It’s a mechanism by which information and the mechanism to deliver that information is used to gain competive advantage over an opponent.

In politics, information or news about an opponent is presented from a negative angle, and may include untruths. The media, viewers and social network users are targeted and manipulated into believing and sharing that information. It’s particularly prevalent leading up to general elections. In both times of peace and war, information warfare is used by opposing countries to destablise countries and weaken economies. It may even be used to ensure a president acting in the favour of another country or region is elected. As a hyperthetical example, a country wishing to destabilise and break up the largest economy in the world, in order to increase it’s own domination and power, may manipulate online media (through both inaccuracies and untruthful propaganda), to ensure a target ally has a leader in power that it favours. In the bleakest of scenarios, it could be a far right extremist leader, or one that will make other leaders and their network extremely wealthy.

The business world is heavily regulated, and on the whole, business leaders are continually evolving to more conscientious and ethical practices – with a focus on humanity. Individuals have been known to use information warfare to hurt others, but this kind of information is also heavily regulated under ‘defamation’ and other laws. Individuals on social networks are learning, but are still not clear on what is legal and what is illegal, and are gently adjusting toward cultural shifts. Additionally, the laws and levels of enforcement differ around the globe.

Whatever the information battle, readers, viewers and listeners – the general public, needs to be equipped with the know-how to recognize and disseminate that information – information that could be harmful, or information used as a distraction away from a more serious political or government issue, for example.

The solution lies in both education and empowerment, as well as cultural evolution. That is, education about how to recognize, ignore or respond to information warfare and negative content, as well as a cultural shift in what we as humanity accept as harmful, unethical or illegal information.

I work for two educational organisations, a leading government backed apprenticeships organisation, and the Digital Skills Authority. Both are educating and informing either commercial or individual learners about information warfare and digital ethics.

The continued effort across education and in society, through diminished public acceptance, will hopefully deter publishing of untruths in the media and online. This can ultimately only lead to an improved more socially conscious, compassionate and collaborative society.

In support of the tech giants decision to remove harmful content and content providers: “Both media and technology platforms have a responsibility to the public to ensure that fake news is not spread”…”If they are seen to be allowing such content that hurts others, or incites violence or causes other concerns, then that’s not good for their reputation”. Deborah Collier, Channel 4 News 8th August 2018