I had a great time joining Nasser Sahlool’s podcast where he interviews digital strategists from all over the world. All in all I think it’s a great concept for a podcast. Although we think of the web as global, in most digital strategic work we still have to cater to different audiences and consider cultural aspects and technical usage of the people we want to reach or building services for. (A previous interview tells us that in Italy for example, 33% of companies don’t want to use social and digital media (!).)
I described the Swedes as technically savvy and Sweden as a country where even government agencies strive to provide smooth digital services. This might sound a bit exaggerated from a Swedish point of view. Yes, the design and UX experience is often terrible when it comes to Swedish government websites. But the sheer possibility of submitting your tax return papers every year by simply sending a text message, is mindbogglingly easy compared to the process in many other nations.
Still, with some afterthought, I would have liked to add that we are far from pioneers in some aspects. From a European perspective Swedes are very connected and tech friendly, but mobile usage in Japan or South Korea were way ahead of us, and all over the world the gap is closing fast. Also, in many African countries, different mobile payment systems such as M-Pesa have been in place for years, while it’s still early days in Europe.
I myself like to look at Asia and Africa for inspiration, and it’s a good reality check when we tend to be a little self-obsessed in the West. You can listen to the interview with me here.