The Global Center for Digital Era Leadership (GCDEL) provides a forum for leaders of all types to address the opportunities and challenges individuals, organizations, economies and societies face as the Digital Era continues to evolve. It offers a digital platform for sharing research, news items, and thought pieces, in addition to engaging in healthy dialogue and debate.
GCDEL's mission is to promote rational, thoughtful, fact-based discussions of important Digital Era issues that have significant implications.
Courtney Shelton Hunt, PhD founded the Global Center for Digital Era Leadership (GCDEL) in May 2011 as an outgrowth of the Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) Community. It is sponsored by her consultancy, Renaissance Strategic Solutions.
Scroll down to learn more about the formation of GCDEL
GCDEL will initially function as a virtual community comprised of individuals from multiple disciplines and sectors throughout the world. Though we strongly encourage active engagement in the digital community, passive engagement via listening and learning is okay too.
Anyone who is interested in the impact of new digital technologies
is welcome to join as a founding member
Demographic details coming soon...
A fledgling think tank, GCDEL is currently in beta mode. Our near-term focus will be on developing high-quality membership, content and discussions. We also encourage founding members to take an active role in refining the mission, focus, and direction of the Center.
To keep things simple, GCDEL will limit digital engagement to three platforms for the foreseeable future: a website, a LinkedIn group, and a Twitter account. We are also starting a mailing list to keep people informed of the Center’s activities (no more than once/month).
The main feature of the GCDEL website will be the Digital Era Thinkers (DET) Blog, which will include thought pieces from Courtney Hunt and guest bloggers, as well as other resources. The LinkedIn group will allow folks to share relevant links, in addition to initiating/engaging in dialogue and debate. All GCDEL website and LI activity will be streamed through Twitter, which can also be used as a source for sharing new pieces/ideas.
- Subscribe to the DET Blog
- Join the GCDEL LinkedIn group
- Follow the GCDEL Twitter account
- Add yourself to the GCDEL mailing list by entering your email in the box on the left
GCDEL’S platforms and activities will expand as demand and circumstances warrant.
After establishing the Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) Community in May 2009, Courtney Hunt has focused on helping people understand the applications and implications of social media beyond marketing, sales, public relations and customer service, particularly in the business-to-consumer context. Targeting organizational leaders who are social media rookies, for example, the Social Media Primer she’s been developing provides a conceptual foundation, helps put Digital Era realities in perspective, and offers strategic guidance. Through blog posts and white papers, she’s written extensively about human capital management issues and legal concerns (see this post, for example, and this one). And most recently, she’s started addressing the need for social media expertise and the ways in which education and training can help develop that expertise.
Over time, her thinking has evolved beyond social media, to focus on digital technologies more broadly, for several reasons:
- The term “social media” creates a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. Even though the denotation is clear (see Part 1 of the Social Media Primer, updated here), connotations vary widely. Many people (including so-called experts) treat distinct terms (e.g., social media and social networking) as if they’re synonymous, confound applications of the technology (e.g., marketing) with the technology itself, and erroneously assume that the most well-known platforms (e.g., LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) comprise the entire social media universe.
- The rise of mobile technology has been dramatic. Handheld mobile devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, readers) and related applications have been more successful and evolved much more quickly than many people anticipated. Even though there’s tremendous overlap between this rise and the increase in 2.0 technologies, mobile devices and their applications themselves don’t meet the literal definition of social media.
- Cloud computing continues to expand. This is another independent but related phenomenon that is likely to become a large and permanent part of the digital landscape. Yes, there have been threats and challenges recently, but they are an inevitable part of the development process that will lead to better risk management technologies and processes. The cloud will not evaporate.
- The juggernaut is even bigger than we think. Part 2 of the Social Media Primer (updated here) describes many organizational applications of social media that extend beyond the possibilities most people are aware of. But as the Digital Era continues to evolve, applications of technological advances beyond social media – as well as myriad implications for individuals, organizations, economies and societies – become increasingly apparent. And when we consider that everything is in a constant state of flux with no end in sight, the transformative potential of these advances becomes even greater.
WHY CREATE GCDEL?
Proper management of the rise in digital technologies is critical to ensure that individuals and organizations respond effectively to the opportunities and challenges these changes present. Practitioners in all disciplinary areas across all sectors throughout the world will need to provide leadership and support for various organizational initiatives, in addition to preparing themselves for how these technologies will impact their own career development. There are also larger issues – legal, economic, social – that transcend specific organizations and impact communities as a whole, which require rational, thoughtful consideration and wise guidance.
Although there are existing centers and institutes that focus on digital technology, at least in part, no one has yet established anything comparable to GCDEL, which is unique in several key ways:
- Emphasis on the impact of new digital technologies, especially social media and mobile devices
- International membership and focus
- Inclusion of multiple sectors/organizations, such as
- Private, for-profit enterprises (business-to-consumer and business-to-business firms of all sizes, across all industries)
- Public sector entities (international, national, regional, local)
- Nonprofit, charitable organizations
- Educational institutions (primary, secondary, and higher education)
- Health care organizations
- Media and publishing
- Incorporation of multiple disciplines, such as
- Accounting and finance
- Human capital management (all sub-disciplines)
- Information technology
- Knowledge management
- Marketing/branding and sales
- Stakeholder relations (including customer service and PR)
Another key defining characteristic of GCDEL is that its focus is more strategic than tactical, with an emphasis on addressing big-picture issues that have wide impact. Although tactical issues can be addressed, they will be evaluated and discussed with respect to the global, holistic issues to which they’re linked.