At a Glance
Deborah Collier, Futurist Leader in Business, Digital, Media & Education, President, Digital Skills Authority
Focus Areas: Legal & IP, Business Strategy, Sustainability, Emerging Technology.
Thinkers360 In-Depth Profile & Portfolio: Deborah Collier
Thinkers360 Leaderboards: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Sustainability 2022 , Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Emerging Technology 2022, Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Smart Cities 2022,
Thought Leader Interview
Thinkers360 thought leader interviews profile prominent members of the Thinkers360 community who embody the power of ideas in their work. In this edition, we speak with Deborah Collier, Strategic, Futurist Leader in Business, Digital, Media & Education, Founder, President, Digital Skills Authority.
Deborah Collier M.Sc. FRSA is an influential strategic, foresight and futurist leader in business, digital, education and media working on boards in the UK and North America. Described by academics and leaders as an ‘original thinker’, ‘thought-leader’, and ‘economic force’, she is an author and professional keynote speaker with a global audience, major brand following, network and readership of C-Suite leaders and professionals in business, academia, government, media and entertainment. A digital, technology and media entrepreneur, achieving global impact, she developed and implemented a three-pillared model, plan and solution for sustainability (Economy, Social and Environment), a digital governance framework, scalable brands, methodologies for strategic planning and leadership and management programs used by blue-chip organisations around the globe. A media group CEO, Chair and Non-Executive Director, she is a digital education pioneer, founder and president of industry’s global awarding body Digital Skills Authority.
She is featured in the annual listings of the Thinkers360 Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Sustainability 2022 , Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Emerging Technology 2022, and Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Smart Cities 2022, as well.
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Thinkers360: Tell us a bit about your background and areas of expertise
DC: I’ve spent the last 30-years working across digital, technology, media and business. After a career with the corporates, I founded a number of ventures, leading predominantly across media, Internet, management consulting and technology businesses, allowing me to be more innovative and free-thinking. As well as leading as President of global awarding body and publisher Digital Skills Authority, I am a Non-Executive Director working on the board of a leading education organisation which has a subsidiary college and charitable foundation. In my current NED role, I’ve shared governance oversight of $60-million public funding, provided strategic and policy advice, as well as scrutiny on executive performance and decision-making. As a strategic, foresight and futurist leader, known predominantly for digital, business, strategy, marketing, innovation, governance and emerging technology.
Thinkers360: What are your current responsibilities and what’s a typical day look like?
DC: Each day is different, particularly as I portfolio across a number of roles and projects as a business leader, a Non-Executive Director, and as a lead Executive Producer. On a recent day, I delivered scrutiny and input on a company’s constitution, suggestions for restructuring the board and discussed with seniors leaders how we’d deal with two complex relationship issues. At my media company Portman Collier, I then spent a long lunch meeting with a film project’s executive team and a potential screenwriter, as well as completing some elementary due diligence, giving governance input on funding and strategic input on funding planning. In the afternoon, I continued putting together a growth strategy, with a complimentary revenue stream for Digital Skills Authority, to help boost our global expansion. Much of my work involves evaluation, foresight (risks and opportunities), both technologically and with business. I am also working on some digital and technology projects at Future Knowledge (Future Innovations), with the aim of solving real-world issues, to hopefully help make the world a better place.
Thinkers360: What’s are the favourite elements of your work?
DC: Who was it who said “I love it when a plan comes together!”? My passion is strategy – thinking strategically and then leading creatively, looking at scenarios like a high-level map, foreseeing risks, benefits, opportunities, and then coming up with ideas either as business, organisational or marketing strategy, commercial product or for company, national or global solutions, or disaster prevention. I love writing thought-leadership articles, as well as some creative writing, and giving keynote speeches, and I enjoy coming up with challenging ideas and developing them into viable and hopefully impacting propositions.
Thinkers360: As Futurist Leader, you are described as a “Strategic Brain”, what overall advice would you give to organisations for the future?
DC: Technology is moving at hyper-speed, and we are witnessing a huge cultural shift. Organisations should ensure they remain lean with an agile strategy, responding to risks and opportunities quickly. They should also ensure they are future-proof. Yes, we should be thinking about the near-term, but what about 2030, and 2050. What will the typical human be like? Where and how will we be living, communicating and travelling, for example? What opportunities will arise? What challenges will we face, and how will we respond to them?
Thinkers360: How do you like to work with brands who wish to engage you as a thought leader?
DC:There are three ways brands can engage with me as a thought-leader, either through my articles or on social media, or through my keynote speeches, newsletter and future online media. I’m a big fan of strategic partnerships and media partnerships. A recent example, was moderating and speaking at The Economist Impact’s Innovation@Work ‘Future of Work’ event, on behalf of Digital Skills Authority. We combined this with social media promotion by The Economist, and across both Digital Skills Authority’s social media accounts, and my own, (which includes a high-quality Twitter following of 32,000 and an independently recorded 3.65-million audience reach). We also shared it on Thinkers360, and Thinkers360 shared the event on social media.
Thinkers360: What’s your main advice for upcoming thought leaders?
DC: Becoming a thought-leader is an interesting concept. I didn’t know I was one, until I was told I was. It just happened organically through passion, teaching, public speaking and writing articles, magazine columns, blogs, newsletter , as well as in the media and on social media. I’d recommend you take some time to really think about who you are, what knowledge and insight you have and what value that can bring to your audiences. That starts with defining and understanding who your audience or audiences are, and providing cutting-edge insight, unique and inspired thinking, delivered with compassion and humility in a non-threatening way. It may be a joy to express your own thoughts and ideas, but ultimately it’s about enriching others and potentially delivering impact. Thinkers360 is a great platform not only to raise awareness of your work, but also for you to gain an insight into your strengths and weaknesses, as well as potentially how you compare with your peers.
See Deborah’s Thinkers360 Profile: Deborah Collier
Deborah writes about Strategy, Leadership and the Future, for a selection of her insights on ‘Future & Humanity‘, ‘Education & Information Strategy‘, ‘Digital & Technology‘, ‘Economy, Business & Commerce‘, ‘Leadership & Governance‘, ‘Strategy, Innovation & Creativity‘, please visit her blog https://halfgeekhalfhuman.net/.
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