Interview with Lauren DeLisa Coleman, Founder at Lnk

In this interview, Lauren deLisa Coleman speaks about the importance of organically connecting with the millennial gen, the danger of brands assuming they always have it right and how culture and tech go hand-in-hand. A digi-cultural trend analyst, author, speaker, and consultant, Lauren  is an expert at deciphering and forecasting power trends and public sentiment within the intersection of popular culture & emerging tech of AI, VR and Blockchain and the impact of such technologies on business and governance

Tell us a little about your business and your specific role?

I am a digi-cultural trend analyst. This means that I am deciphering and tracking sentiment and trends within popular culture as they intersect with emerging tech behavior and the impact of this on business and politics. My sub-specialty is the Millennial demographic. This expertise takes 3 forms. I am a contributor in this specific wheelhouse at Forbes, I am represented by an agency to speak about this important sector at conferences and corporate functions, and I oversee the company which I own, Lnk Agency that helps the public and private sector better reach their goals via research, concept marketing and communications strategies we create across a variety of verticals that reflect cultural intelligence.

What is the typical nature of challenges you encounter from enterprises looking to move the needle on digital transformation?

Being able to connect organically with Millennials. Everyone thinks that the 80+ million demographic in the US behaves similarly in terms of values, lifestyle and technology usage. It does not.

Cultural intelligence is key in obtaining understanding. There are at least 4 main sub-demographics which I talk about in my book “America’s Most Wanted: the Millennial. Quad decoding and forecast”.

Using technology to effect transformation usually starts with a transformation of beliefs and mindsets. How do you consult clients and help them make that important shift in mindset to move ahead on a particular project or implementation?

This is never easy because most companies think they always have it right 🙂 Data is one way to help change mindset but mostly it’s by example i.e. previous success, case studies.

What processes have you found useful when implementing digital technologies for these clients?

I can’t say enough about high-quality demos. People really need to see in order to believe/take a risk

Tell us about your most recent success with a DX project?

I would say that I’m working on it right now. It’s proprietary and deals with AI and blockchain. But in the past for clients I would say that nearly anything DX with the intersection of music and pop culture has been a “win.” Also research that we were commissioned by the UN not long ago to report on how trends become entrenched within popular culture was fascinating as we investigated digital impact as a driving force.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these projects?

That emotion is truly the most important driver of nearly every and anything. You need to understand what motivates people, the part culture plays, cultural biases and so much more in order to reach goals. It’s never, ever just about the technology itself. It’s the mind behind it or who it is touching.

I always say, data rich and culturally intelligent poor is a recipe for disaster.

What present or upcoming technologies you think have the maximum potential to accelerate enterprise digital transformation?

I am very excited about virtual reality being used to create empathy in terms of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Naturally AI is going to be transformational on many levels. Blockchain and crypto. I’m also quite keen on robots.

What’s your go to resource – websites, newsletters, any other – that you use to stay in touch with the explosive changes happening in the digital space?

Great question. I typically read Forbes, of course. Tech Insider (though they need to diversify their staff!) POLITICO since tech and policy are so deeply intertwined, and a ton of others each morning!

Read a good book lately on digital transformation that you’d like to recommend to us?

Not on digital transformation, specifically, but I really liked the late Harvard professor, Samuel P Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations.” Amazing book that was ahead of its time in terms of cultural identities. I think that this beautifully connects with digital today given that so much of how we define identify, discuss culture, create tribes is enabled and influenced via the digital space. It’s such a great time to be alive and witness all these changes even though so many are disruptive. We each have a major opportunity to create and do business in a responsible and positive manner!

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