Posts by Mike Walsh
Imagine your life in the future. Is it a world of robots, self-driving cars and day trips to Mars? What if the future isn't just a distant upgrade? But a tech-powered invitation to live our lives differently, right now.
Imagine if you could speak over 100 languages at once? What if words weren't a barrier to being understood? By anyone? Anywhere? Instant translation changes everything.
The power of unleashing many minds and all our working as one. The creative collision of different cultures and new ideas - creates connections across the globe.
When being understood means you feel seen and included.
Imagine if you could work your way… forever. A shared experience whether you’re 5, 50 or 5000 kilometers from the rest of your team. You are tapping into a new, cultural operating system that accepts how we can connect with the world.
Hybrid working is inclusive work. The idea that you must go to a place to get anything done is ancient history.
But great things also happen in-person. Imagine if you had control of every environment? Every movement is part of something connected — from screen to screen, home to office and everywhere in between.
Collaboration tools like WebEx have changed everything.
So, find your space in a system. Escape noise and distractions to listen and be heard. To think, and to breathe. Because wellbeing is as important as productivity.
To find the future of work with smart questions and even smarter technology, the future is now.
Another key principle that we really have to think about is the shift from automation to autonomy. There's been a lot of discussion about the power of automation - robotic process automation. It seems like magic, doesn't it?
You know you can take software and you can replace people and processes and really cut costs and get greater levels of efficiency. But, there's a more interesting trend beginning, which is the rise of autonomous organizations.
Have you ever wanted to buy the United States Constitution? Or the single CD that was created by the Wu Tang Clan as a once off? What about a fast food franchise? Now thinking about buying any of these things might seem some kind of strange daydream or fantasy.
But exactly those items were attempted or purchased by a new type of organization known as a DAO, or Decentralized Autonomous Organization. Think of it as an internet community with a shared bank account. And DAOs, which are built on the blockchain, are a key emerging infrastructure - which is going to be part of this new Web 3.0 world of decentralized communities, essentially, with new types of governance protocols.
Think of it as a kind of a community entity that has no central control. And I bring up this idea because often when people think about the metaverse or Web 3.0, they get distracted by all the hype. They look at celebrities buying NFTs or kind of cartoon punks or apes. And they missed the fact that we're actually seeing a revolution in the underlying financial and governance infrastructure by which the way the world works.
In the future, many things that we see as LLCs today, or limited corporations, may be DAO. Even potentially, political PACs will actually work in this way. And the idea is powerful - because if you could bring people together, without any kind of centralized overhead of management, you can create governance tokens that allow people to actually vote, use smart contracts to handle a lot of the infrastructure and decision making.
There's really no end to the creativity by which these structures can actually reshape the financial world as we know it.
TGRT NEWS INTERVIEW (CLIP)
I think we're at a crossroads. A lot of these new technologies that are before us can be used to design much more personalized, much more interesting, much more human workplaces and experiences for customers. But, the opposite is true as well.
How can we as individuals — who don't know much about the technology — create our own playbooks, for our own transformation, and be able to adapt ourselves to this digital transformation?
It's a terrific question. And to me, it's probably one of the most important questions for anyone who's working in a big company today. Because sometimes when you work in these very large organizations you feel a loss of power, a lack of agency. You're waiting for the CEO and the top management to come up with their plan for change. And, while I'm sure they're working on that plan, the truth is that all of us have got a role to play in the changes that are coming. And sometimes that means, you know, trying to write a personal transformation plan for yourself.
Ask yourself, Am I doing enough to learn about the new technologies that are out there? Am I following what my competitors are doing? What other things are happening in other industries? What can I learn from that, to maybe better inform my decision making in my role?
How can I develop new behaviours that I can model to inspire other people around me? I think this is a much more positive way of looking at the changes that are happening, because there's no point fighting them and there's no point just waiting for people to tell you what to do. I think now is the time to really take charge and take control of this process.
WHAT BUSINESS TEAMS THINK ABOUT MIKE
Your presentation was excellent, really insightful and so appropriate for us as we start to build our plans for a bolder tomorrow. We have ratings in from the Summit, and your session scored a 5* rating. In fact, 22% of respondents said that Mike Walsh was the highlight of the whole 4 day Summit!
Karla Hrabar, Global CD Strategy Director, Unilever
MIKE WALSH NEW TOPIC
The Future Favors the Bold
Now is the time for transformational leadership. Customers are changing, generational priorities are shifting, and industries are being reshaped by the collision of AI and data-driven business models. In this new world, only organizations willing to adapt, experiment and embrace learning at scale will succeed.
There is nothing inevitable about progress. The status quo is the path of least resistance. A better, brighter future is the direct result of radical reinvention not incremental improvement. Too often we fail to commit energy and resources to the real drivers of difference: projects that depart from the norm, products or services that never existed before, and technologies combined in new and unexpected ways.
Transformation is a path not a plan. It could be the courageous decision to back a provocative idea from an unexpected source or the recognition that a broken rule might be a smarter way of doing things. It could be as big as merging with a disruptive competitor or as simple as hiring someone whose thinking challenges what you know to be true. The future is not an upgrade on the familiar, it is a world built by the bold.
Based on Mike Walsh’s extensive research into the habits and mindsets of the world’s most dynamic organizations and leaders, this keynote will not only inspire your teams to embrace a new approach to change but will also empower them with a robust set of next actions personalized for their specific challenges, pain points and growth opportunities.
In this keynote, attendees will learn:
• The bold believe that 'more is different' not 'less is more'
• The bold believe that failure is free, and success is expensive
• The bold have a bias for action, even when the future is uncertain
Mike’s unique take on the leadership dimensions of digital transformation, AI and the future of work have featured frequently in the Harvard Business Review in the last year - see below for the most recent articles that are getting shared heavily on LinkedIn and Twitter.
COVID19 forced all of us to accelerate our plans for the future, and there has been incredible demand for insights about transformation, especially from a cultural perspective. To that end, Mike has published eight articles along that theme for the HBR in the last 18 months, the most recent being ‘How to Navigate the Ambiguity of a Digital Transformation.’
Many of these pieces have struck a real chord with C-suite leaders, who are looking for someone who can clearly articulate the technology and transformation issues they are facing in the post-pandemic world. Recently, one of Mike’s articles was also published in a special print edition of the HBR magazine, containing the editor’s picks of the best writing on the future of work.
In addition, he's being considered/booked alongside knowledge experts like Peter Diamandis, Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee and Salim Ismail. These gentlemen's keynote fees are considerably higher than Mike's current Q1 fee schedule - which gives great value to you! Please contact us soon to lock in preferential pricing.
We're excited to work with you on 2022 events - Happy Holidays - K
HBR - November 2021
- Mike was featured in the November magazine on page 145 - Why Business Leaders Need to Understand their Algorithms
HBR - December 2021
HBR - January 2022
- Harnessing Technology to Reimagine What You Do - this article has been selected by the HBR editorial team to be animated as a video
"There is no remote work. There is only work,' futurist Mike Walsh said during a session on the future of the industry at the Schwab Impact conference."
The pandemic has forced the working world to evolve technologically much faster than at any time in recent history, effectively rocketing it forward 10 years in 20 months.
That is here to stay, futurist Mike Walsh said Tuesday in his presentation at the Charles Schwab Impact conference. “There is going to be no return to normal,” he said. “We’re not going to get 2019 back.”
Walsh proposed three new rules for the world going forward. The first of which, is “There is no digital disruption, just digital delivery.” The second, which many now have experience with, is, “There is no remote work. There is only work.” His third rule is, “Artificial intelligence will not destroy jobs, but it will change them.”
The business models of Tesla Inc., Netflix Inc., Uber Technologies Inc., Spotify and other companies have shown a shift from products to platforms and transactions to experiences, he said.
“We are all disrupters now. If you haven’t figured out a way to embrace new technologies … are probably no longer in business today,” Walsh said.
For adults of the future who are children today, “their expectation of how the world needs to work is going to be dramatically different from that of any generation that came before,” he said.
For financial advisers, “your ability to partner with those [technology] platforms is going to be key to your success,” he said.
A big part of that is how data will be used to gain more understanding about clients’ needs in different life stages and how advice is provided, he said. By being forced to operate remotely, the world used tools that it basically had for decades, he noted. Skype, he said, has been around for 20 years, even if it is not now the go-to communication service.
“Remote work is just the beginning of a much larger revolution that is changing the nature of business itself,” he said.
Workers value the important things in life more than their jobs, and companies need to recognize that, adjusting their businesses not just for profit, but for purpose, he said.
“It’s not just about paying people well. It’s about understanding what motivates them more than anything else,” he said.
Employers should “support a culture of data, not opinions,” he noted.
With the rise of artificial intelligence, humans are becoming more important than ever in the world of financial advice, he said.
“We’ve actually seen the counterintuitive rise of the importance of human advisers and human interaction as we’ve gained greater complexity and more technology,” he said. “We’ve actually been here before.”
He referred to the industrial revolution, when many workers’ jobs changed from one manual task to another — such as from weaving textiles to maintaining the machines that took over the weaving. Cloth sales increased, and the number of people employed in that industry quadrupled, he said.
Similarly, the debut of ATMs didn’t put bank tellers out of jobs, but it did change the required skillsets for the job, he noted.
“What we’re seeing now is something much more interesting than a just a return to normal after a global pandemic,” he said. “This truly is the dawn of a new world … Now is the time for us to rethink how we engage our clients and our communities.”
This article originally appeared in Investment News.
Mike Walsh's video highlights rule #9, the future of AI is personal, from his 10 New Rules for a New World.
"A crisis is something you recover from, whereas a chrysalis is a bridge from one state to another."
One of the biggest dangers in any disaster is a premature plan for normalcy. As vaccine programs roll out worldwide, organizations and governments are preparing for economic recovery, a return to offices, corporate travel, and a resumption of business as usual. We all need a little optimism, but nostalgia can be as dangerous as disruption. Some doors are one-way only. What if the pandemic was not a crisis but rather a chrysalis?
The difference is a subtle but important one. A crisis is something you recover from, whereas a chrysalis is a bridge from one state to another. The difficulty is knowing whether the changes you are experiencing are merely temporary or part of a more permanent redefinition.
COVID-19 may have started as a crisis, but it quickly became a forcing function that unleashed digital transformation on every aspect of our lives - whether it be how we work or how we buy things, run our factories or deliver healthcare. What is likely to make these changes permanent is not just gains in efficiency but also the unexpected ways these forces are now interacting with each other.
More becomes different. More data, more computation, more automation, and more transactions - don’t just add up to more speed or resilience - they can reverberate throughout your organization until you become something else entirely. In any complex adaptive system - whether it be a supply chain, a workplace, or a biological ecosystem - small changes amplified by reinforcing feedback loops can hit critical mass and trigger radical reinvention. Water becomes ice; tremors become an earthquake; a viral video can make you a global star.
From this perspective, what if the end of the pandemic is not a pendulum swinging back to normality; but rather a portal from the world we knew to a radical new future that we are yet to fully understand? If you change enough of the infrastructure that runs what you do, at some point, you also change who you are. Likewise, if you change enough of the forces that run the world, you will inevitably change that as well.
I’ve spent the last year thinking about what all the small changes in our lives add up to. The list of pandemic era adaptations is long and constantly growing: working from home, social distancing, automated service delivery, augmented reality training, mRNA technologies, drones and robotics, process automation, telehealth services, retail live-streaming, AI-powered drug discovery, and the growing influence of data in the way we run our organizations.
I firmly believe that the sum of all of these innovations not only exceeds what we have seen before but also that their combination and interaction are the foundations of something new: a new world that runs on new rules.
I am in the process of researching the terrain of that new world and compiling what those new rules might be. They are the basis of my latest keynote presentation. Potentially, they may also be the basis of a new book. More on that later.
"The pandemic has accelerated the forces of digital transformation, making it more critical than ever to embrace new ways of working and a data-driven approach to decision making."
Should we stay, or should we go? The post-pandemic return to work is fast becoming a controversial and complex issue for leaders to navigate. Everyone has an opinion on the issue. Some are desperate to escape months of Zoom fatigue, while others see little point in commuting for an hour to simply sit in front of another screen. If that seems like a tough choice, it is because it is a false one. The real issue is not remote vs. office work - it is how do we reinvent the workplace for a new era of AI-powered competition?
The real lesson of the pandemic was not that we could run meetings remotely, but rather that the key to our survival was embracing the hard science of digital transformation. When everything turned upside down in early 2020, demand spiked, supply chains splintered, and business processes shattered. The organizations that made it through the crisis did so because they rapidly deployed AI, algorithms, and automation to handle the harsh new operating environment. That worked then, but now, something more is required.
We face a new set of challenges. Implementing automation alone will not be enough to deliver the kind of creative solutions required to reshape industries. Nor will letting people continue working from home be enough to reboot conservative and traditional corporate cultures.
We are about to discover that remote work was just the beginning of a much bigger revolution that is set to reshape the future of all organizations. Rapid shifts in technology, customer needs, and competitor dynamics are a prescription for a more agile, adaptive, and resilient type of firm capable of integrating not only cutting-edge technologies but also embracing a new generation of talent as well.
The pandemic has accelerated the forces of digital transformation, making it more critical than ever to embrace new ways of working and a data-driven approach to decision making. Every workplace in the future will be powered by data. Whether it be how we engage and evaluate our talent, how we automate our processes, or even how we make decisions as leaders - the ability to effectively leverage AI, automation, and algorithms will be at the heart of any 21st-century business.
While many fear imminent change, a bigger opportunity awaits. The question is not whether AI will eliminate jobs, but rather: how will it change them? The leaders of the future need to embrace an entirely new set of skills, capabilities, and mindsets in order to be successful.
The real question is: how do we make sure the future of work fits the world we want to live in?
Futurist and best-selling author of The Algorithmic Leader, Mike Walsh explains that there are three things leaders need to know about automation:
1. Automation redefines the capabilities of your workforce
Rather than replacing people, automation offers the chance to reimagine work roles. When a lawyer uses AI to read trust documents and contracts, or a financial advisor leverages an algorithm to create a personalized financial plan - they haven't made themselves obsolete. Quite the contrary. They have merely shifted the boundary of what human-shaped work should be. Enhancing capabilities through better tools rather than squeezing more effort out of your workforce - is the most sustainable way of achieving productivity gains.
2. There is a difference between complexity and ambiguity
Organizations are decision-making machines, but not all decisions are born equal. Some decisions are complex but inherently suitable for automation because they follow well-defined rules. Other decisions may appear simple but involve a high degree of ambiguity that requires human judgment. In this video, I discuss the difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd order decisions - and the role that AI and automation can play in each.
3. Automation is the start, not the endpoint of your journey
Deterministic automation is a powerful tool in getting your digital transformation started. The exercise of mapping your processes, linking your enterprise systems, and unlocking more insights about your operations will not only increase your internal clock speed, it will provide contextual data for more sophisticated machine learning tools to optimize and enhance your business. By all means, go for the quick wins offered by automation, but don't stop short of the real prize that comes with reinventing yourself as an AI-powered organization.