We discuss the spread and impact of digitalization as a disruptive technological change. We show how digitalization is intimately connected to globalization by first, being dependent on globalization for its impact, and second, enhancing the speed of globalization. Digitalization lowers barriers to funding, marketing, sales and distribution, and enables an increasing global flow of goods, services, and financial transactions. We discuss how digitalization also contributes to changing consumer habits and a blurring line between producers and consumers where the latter now have capabilities to build collective knowledge by they themselves becoming producers. Digital platforms are emerging, aggregating data and providing new business models where contact costs are approaching zero. These platforms wield strong economic power and the algorithms by which they operate also change incentives and transaction costs for producers and consumers. We sketch the patterns by which industries digitialize as being characterized by one or a few ‘platforms’ dominating a global market, but where such platforms also facilitate the emergence of more narrow niche businesses and products and allow new types of micro-multinationals to reach out to a larger global crowd and satisfy latent demand. These changes have already happened in media and music, and the principles seen in these industries can be seen as emerging in other sectors. We conclude by
highlighting the potential of digitalization to enhance the value of collective goods. We particularly highlight the cases of health care and the energy, and discuss how digital technologies can contribute to collective value creation in these areas.
Isaksson, D., & Wennberg. K. (2016). Digitalization and Collective Value Creation. Ratio Working Paper No. 283. Stockholm: Ratio.