If I Build it, Will They Come?

IfIBuildit is a blog about digital transformation, financial inclusion, digital policy and several other topics I am yet to classify. Occasionally, I may delve into my back office and share personal stories of my life as a tech practitioner and academic.

My goal is to offer insights (and sometimes, my opinion), on topical issues, informed by several decades in Nigeria’s digital ecosystem. I flipped from town to gown to close the knowledge gaps, educating non-tech managers on digital technologies and transformation. IfIBuildit is a part of that story, revealing my professional activities and career accomplishments.

We announced my elevation to the rank of Professor of Information Systems in May 2019 following a 17-year career on the faculty of the Lagos Business School (LBS). Like all such appointments, an inaugural lecture is a key event and celebration where the appointed professor broadcasts their accomplishments and plans.

In a peculiar sense, explaining a career in technology spawned my lecture title, If I Build IT, Will They Come? My features are from teaching, research or practice experiences and attempts to answer the question. For the curious, the entire lecture is accessible here.

We’re witnessing the varied economic and social benefits of integrating personal computers and information and communications technologies (ICTs) into daily interactions. However, the concealed facts about these deployments are untold and undocumented. I have seen technology deployments fail and the reasons range from the uninformed acquisition of digital assets and lack of adherence to systematic practices but transcend unmet organisational and social development aspirations.

Why care?

First, now we can no longer avoid it. The periods of data processing - submitting jobs to computer operators and coming back for the results are over. Technology is everywhere and in everything.

Second, technology has stimulated new business models and innovations, creating jobs and opportunities across industry verticals.

Third, the organisational changes associated with technology are more complex than expected: converting IT assets into productive capability requires multi-dimensional degrees of change at the individual, organisational and societal levels.

Fourth, changing consumer behaviours and levels of digital sophistication of advanced nations highlights the social norms of millennials and the fifth challenge in emerging markets like Nigeria, where the global digital divide is not only widening but now co-existing within national boundaries, further emphasising inequality and exclusion.

Last, the future of work and the notion of robots making us redundant is scary.

My passion for all things tech and the belief that we should all have digital-first mindsets are foundational to this blog. IfIBuildit is my voice to educate, enlighten and promote technology for economic and social change and a platform to share thoughts, views, and ideas about digital technologies.

I’ll share stories that emphasise the opportunities and pitfalls of digital transformation and technology as a mechanism for accomplishing social reform, highlighting the need for digital-friendly policies to sustain the change.

I hope these stories will stimulate knowledgeable debates and a lively and constructive exchange of ideas and reactions. I welcome your feedback on the issues discussed and encourage your input on topics to be covered in future articles, even as I build this blog into a valuable resource.

And as I build it, I hope you’ll keep coming back.

Enjoy my blog!

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