In an increasingly competitive and ever-evolving business landscape, the coronation of a new king of the United Kingdom gives us an opportunity to reflect on how institutions and organisations evolve over time and some of the lessons around remaining relevant.

The business environment is constantly changing, and we often see organisations that fail to keep up invariably being left behind.

The centuries-old British Royal Family is an institution that has survived through significant social, cultural, and political changes. Like many old institutions, it has had to adapt to the challenges of data protection and privacy in a modern digital age. From challenges to phone hacking and press intrusion to documentaries curated by real time recording on mobile phones. While the Royal Family’s experience may not be directly applicable to all organisations, there are still lessons to be learned about the importance of data protection and privacy in an evolving institution.

Changing expectations

There are far greater expectations of privacy and data protection from individuals. No one has demonstrated more, why data protection and privacy managed badly can be incredibly costly, than the Royal Family.

Its various challenges around stories in the press as well as whistleblowing and unauthorised disclosures highlight the need for clear policies around data protection and privacy to ensure that sensitive information is handled appropriately. This importantly includes policies around the use of social media. Clear policies and procedures are essential in our fast-paced, digitalised, world. These guardrails are needed to prevent accidental or intentional breaches of confidentiality and privacy.

Transparency and maintaining public trust

Arguably the Royal Family has recognized the importance of transparency to foster public trust. After all, the institution’s survival depends on this to some degree. There has, in recent years, certainly been a move towards greater transparency and accessibility of the Royals. Some would say this trend began with the televised coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and has continued from stints in the popular TV series involving celebrities in jungles to fly on the wall documentaries. For an institution that is said to be slow to move, this pivot to greater transparency over 70 or so years ago, can be seen as a move to future proof the monarchy. The need for transparency equally extends to organisations. Not only is this a legal requirement under data protection law, it is also essential to building and maintaining the trust of employees, clients, customers and stakeholders.

Changing workforce and diversity

The Royal Family’s ability to stay relevant and embrace diversity has come under the spotlight. Today’s workforce is more diverse and demanding than ever before. Employees expect a safe work environment, work-life balance, opportunities to thrive and for career growth. Organisations that fail to meet these changing expectations risk losing their best employees to competitors. By evolving and adapting to changing workforce trends, businesses can attract and retain top talent. Institutional change and evolution in this regard must be more than a tick box exercise. Archaic institutions who struggle to adapt to the new world will be left in the past.

The future

As the UK formally welcomes a new monarch, so must the institution and country continue to learn how to navigate changing social and cultural values. Whether you are celebrating, commiserating or neutral to the weekend events, we wish you a jubilant and safe coronation weekend.


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