Careers in Digital Media (for MBAs with Tech background)

So, I was talking to a guy who’s just about to finish his MBA and is interested in making a career in digital media. He wanted to know what kinds of career opportunities are available in digital media for MBAs with tech background.

The simple answer is – way too many!! Your IT background may not have worked in your favour while you were tyring to get into a b-school (we all know how difficult it is to differentiate yourself with  IT experienceJ) but here’s the good part - your IT experience is the best thing that has happened to you if you want to make a career in digital media. Of course, you are going to have to be a lot more specific and creative in your pitch.

Roughly speaking, I think there are three career paths that one can explore.

Persuasive Technology + Systems Thinking for Gov2.0

Government agencies across the world are organizing data mashup contests as part of their Gov2.0 initiatives. This is great but certainly not enough. Some analysts think it’s a futile exercise. I wouldn’t go that far but I certainly believe that the true audience for Gov2.0 are regular citizens and not just the programmers and data analysts who participate in these competitions. The true value of Gov2.0 lies in energising the masses to participate in policy creation and service delivery processes.

So, what can government agencies do?

Two things:
  • First of all, understand what it takes to influence digital (or otherwise) behaviour of masses. 
  • And secondly, use/design a suitable behavioural modelling tool to gain deeper understanding of the outcomes from your Gov2.0 initiative.

The Purpose of Government 2.0

Apparently, there are two schools of thoughts in Government 2.0. On one hand you have Gartner analyst Andrea Di Maio and many others who believe government agencies will embrace Gov2.0 only when it’s proved beyond doubt that Gov2.0 will help them do their job more efficiently and effectively (yellow circle). On the other hand, you have many Gov2.0 evangelists such as Tim Berners-Lee (creator of internet and Gov2.0 lead for the UK), Don Tapscot (author of Wikinomics and MacroWikinomics) and Tim O’Reilly who believe government agencies should whole-heartedly support Gov2.0 initiatives because, well, it’s the right thing to do (blue circle). Of course, both sides acknowledge the importance of each other’s perspective and it’d be interesting to see what turn this debate takes in time to come. In the meantime however, we at Wipro believe that these two approaches are not orthogonal; in fact, there’s a huge overlap between the two (as we’ve tried to show in the diagram above). To appreciate how these two approaches reconcile with each other, it’s necessary to have a deeper understanding of the emergent nature of digital media, the principles of open value creation and the rise of participatory culture among citizens (brought about by web 2.0). Drawing on our decades of experience in implementing government transformation technology; shared services, cloud computing, enterprise collaboration platforms, business process optimization, change management practices and social computing consulting, we’ve developed one of the most sophisticated and evolved Government 2.0 consulting practices in the world. If you are a government agency trying to make sense of this beast called Gov2.0 or perhaps you are already involved in Gov2.0 related activities and want to identify and prioritize the most critical areas, we believe the following list of challenges and suggested approaches will come handy for you:

Influence or Empower?

Of late there’s been a lot of discussion (here, here and here) on whether social media should be used to influence customers or to empower customers. Mark those words – “should be used” – as if someone has a choice!! I think if marketers had complete control over what they could do with social media, they’d always choose “influence customers” over “empower customer”. Fortunately, they don’t have any such control. In fact, I think, the whole debate about empowering or influencing customers is sort of futile. The customers ARE already empowered by social media. Thank you very much!! I think the question you (companies/marketers) should ask yourself is – how are you going to influence “empowered customers”?  Old techniques aren’t going to work. For instance,

WikiLeaks sets the perfect stage for Gov2.0 adoption

Those who hate WikiLeaks are either:
  • Corrupt politicians
  • or Government conspirators
  • or Companies that have so much at stake that they cannot afford to offend governments.

For everyone else, Julian Assange is a hero.

You can read a lot about Wikileaks elsewhere. I just want to make one point here:

A lot of people seem to believe that WikiLeaks will compromise the safety of certain people/countries/agencies if allowed to do what it’s doing and so WikiLeaks is evil and should be shutdown. Here’s the problem with this argument – The idea of WikiLeaks is not to compromise the safety of people, the idea is to make govt. agencies so accountable that they never do stupid things in the first place. If we just look at what WikiLeaks can do in the short run – we’d all arrive at the wrong conclusions. In the long run, however, WikiLeaks can change the way governments work across the globe. WikiLeaks is not too different from the IMF watchdog agency “Bretton Woods Project”, it’s just one hundred times more effective and powerful. The information that government agencies are trying to hide shouldn't have been there in the first place...the lack of radical transparency / real watchdog agency is what allowed them to indulge in such conspiracies with the belief that they would be able to get away with anything...

Solution -  Forward looking government agencies that do not want to be embarrassed by WikiLeaks of the future have a solution that they can look forward to  – Government 2.0.