By @SimonCocking

Interview with Keith Bohanna @keithbohanna from Near Future : making sense of business, strategy & technology.


How did you end up doing what you do now?

I came into digital strategy and transformation by means of qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, helping to run a vegetarian shoe business and then a clothing (from recycled textiles) manufacturing brand and finally strayed into digital in 2001. The prospects for changing and improving transparency and communications fascinated me then and they still do.


How was 2014? What went well?

In 2014 I teamed up with Dermot Casey (ex Storyful) to establish Near Future. That was a great move and I’m really enjoying the working relationship with him as well as the more complex client projects we get to deliver together.

Anything you would do differently?

As with most businesses in the early stages we have learned a lot about how we communicate. Digital Strategy as a phrase is being replaced by us – so many businesses confuse it with digital marketing. So now we talk about digital transformation – the changes required in a business across back end processes, underlying business models and modes/approaches to communications that between them bring a fundamental rework in how a business operates and the value it delivers.

What are your plans for 2015 and beyond?

We will continue to grow the business and refine our methodology for working with clients through their change management – an inevitable consequence of the initial work we do together to plan for transformation. We are also continuing to experiment with ways, in the real world, to share the relentless learnings that accompany the change that is driven by digital.

If you had unlimited computing power / programming capacity, what would you like your projects to be able to do?

Feed contextually relevant and automatically filtered and edited knowledge to all relevant points in a business as required. We are light years away from being able to do that.

How do you manage your work / life balance?

I use a meditation app called Headspace and that is a really interesting and effective service. Along with Dermot I rarely work weekends and I use that time to run Meet The Food Producer events under a personal brand called Biabeag. That interaction with deeply talented and passionate food producers is special for me. I also help run a network of producers called Real Bread Ireland.

Incorporating philanthropy into our companies, should we / what’s your take on it?

I absolutely believe in the power of focusing a group of people in a business on making profit. It is a clear goal. But equally strongly believe that profit with purpose can be a very powerful tool for change – I am thinking in the food space for example of organic growers or fair-trade producers.

The skynet / singularity question? Are we marching to our own obsolescence? 

Nope. The pace of change is accelerating but humans will always carve out a place and space for their particular take on the world.

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