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Five decades later, the acceleration of innovation and the sheer scale of our connected world illustrates a new age of information and possibility.

In 1970, Alvin Toffler comprehensively predicted a transformation on the horizon and its subsequent potential threat of “future shock” — disorientation or stress resulting from rapid technological change. “To survive, to avert what we have termed ‘future shock,’ the individual must become infinitely more adaptable and capable than ever before. We must search our totally new ways to anchor ourselves, for all the old roots – religion, nation, community, family, or profession – are now shaking under the hurricane impact of the accelerative thrust. It is no longer resources that limit decisions, it is the decision that makes the resources,” Toffler wrote in Future Shock.

What keeps us integrated with the most important aspects of ourselves, our family, our community, our wellness, our livelihoods, our resources, and more has changed. Ingenuity is fast-tracked and augmented with the aid of other technological advancements. The exchange between humans and devices is building a network of information that presents a wealth of possibilities as well as immense challenges and debates of ethics.

Humans have survived future shock by anchoring in ingenuity, resilience, and a pioneering spirit. This presentation addresses the technological potential as well as the cultural conversation to be had about digital use and individuals’ agency in an automated world. And ultimately, the importance of CIOs to ascend to a new leadership model.

Key takeaways:

  • We live in a networked world — this year 20.4 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Digital platforms can be disrupted and are in a constant state of change as consumers average 67+ a week using the internet and digital devices, shaping individual experiences and new expectations
  • CIO architecture is built around the five pillars of 1.) Employees; 2.) Customers and partners; 3.) Data; 4.) Intellectual property; and 5.) Reliability, scalability, security, and trust
  • Protection is a cultural value with protection, privacy, and trust as perceived individual rights
  • Disruption (e.g., coronavirus) is an environment that is dealt with every day, necessitating disruption management leadership plan and response


We live in a networked world and the enormity of the numbers puts the pervasiveness in perspective: 20.4 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), over 50 billion devices are connected to the internet, a user touches a smartphone almost 3,000 times a day, the average user logs over 67 hours a week in the internet and digital device usage each week, the list goes on. With so much activity and technology adoption, digital platforms will be disrupted over and over again. A networked world requires CIOs to build a strategic architecture around employees, customers and partners, data, intellectual property, and reliability, scalability, security, and trust.

Technology has changed our behavior and society, and it is key in responding to 21st-century crises like active shootings and coronavirus. Protection is a cultural value as people view protection, privacy, and trust as an absolute right; therefore, CIOs need to shift management leadership to address disruption risks and ramp up security and privacy capabilities like affirmative consent, right of accounting, right to be forgotten, and security controls. Strong crisis leaders live on the front end of reality, recognizing events and their significance. To that end, disruption leadership requires a new model around protection, detection, response, and threat analysis — resulting in a reduction in potential security breach costs and shortening average days to detect and contain a data breach.