Contemporary societies are going through a wave of transformation commonly known as "digital transformation". Sometimes referred to as a fourth industrial revolution, this wave is based on the use of data to transform the way we live, work and use our leisure time. As with all the other major waves of change, this one also brings opportunities and threats.

Among the opportunities are new products and services that can make our lives easier. At work, they offer opportunities for flexibility that were unimaginable a few years ago. This article was written in Cairo and sent to Lisbon for Cape Verde. All done in a single and easily transportable machine. It's possible to work from one point on the globe to the opposite side of the world.

Tools like Zoom video conferencing used to belong to the realm of science fiction. We saw them in Star Trek; now they have entered our daily lives.    

These possibilities are transforming organizations: the dominant hierarchical structures are giving way to new, hopefully more agile forms. These new formats require a rethink of leadership and management. To thrive in these environments, organizations need to make learning, innovation and human development fundamental facets of organizational life. Betting on people and human capital, rather than being a catchphrase, must be an organizational plan.  

But digital doesn't just bring opportunities. Threats are proliferating. The control of our data by legitimate and illegitimate organizations is done outside our own knowledge; in other words, we don't know who is accessing our digital persona. This data is sometimes used to deceive us when we shop online. War has become, from a distance, more like a video game. Digital work threatens to unravel the social capital of organizations and the same is true of social networks in relation to societies. Cyberthreats are no longer a distant threat but a concrete fact. Our organizations are now within reach of digital intruders from anywhere in the world. This raises new challenges and concerns.  

In other words, we are entering a new world. Like all new worlds, this one will bring peaks of enthusiasm and valleys of disenchantment.

Above all, it's important not to forget: for better or worse, this is the time when we most need leaders, that is, someone that guides us in a journey to an unknown world.  

This text is a republication of an article originally published in the special edition of the magazine Líder Cabo Verde.

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