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The New Rules for a Tech Driven World Post-Pandemic by Mike Walsh

By Mike Walsh | Oct 28, 2021 | Comments Off

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"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.

 

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The Digital Chrysalis by Mike Walsh

By Mike Walsh | Sep 01, 2021 | Comments Off

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. 

 

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The Future Workplace by Mike Walsh

By Mike Walsh | Jul 12, 2021 | Comments Off

"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.
 

 

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Three Things Leaders Must Know about Automation by Mike Walsh

By Mike Walsh | Jun 14, 2021 | Comments Off

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.

READ FULL ARTICLE 

 

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10 New Rules For A New World by Mike Walsh

By Mike Walsh | May 04, 2021 | Comments Off

The Real Question is This: What is Possible in an Age of AI that was Not Possible Before?

The biggest danger in any crisis is anticipating a return to normal. As vaccine programs roll out worldwide, organizations and governments are preparing for economic recovery, a return to offices and corporate travel, and a resumption of business as usual.

The COVID-19 crisis, however, was not a pendulum now on the return swing to normal; it was a portal from the world we knew, to a radical new future that we are yet to fully understand.

While for many of us working from home has been a new and unexpected challenge - that is just the start of a much bigger transformation set to reshape the nature of business itself. In order to survive, every organization will have to virtualize.

Whether it be serving customers through digital channels or leveraging AI, algorithms and automation to ensure business continuity - we are likely to experience in the next twelve months, a decade's worth of change. Not every business will make it, but those that do will never be the same again. And for leaders, now more than ever, is a time to upgrade their capabilities, embrace new technologies, and reimagine what they do.

Becoming future-proof is more than just about getting through the current crisis - it is about being ready for the new world that awaits us on the other side.

Rule #1: Digital Disruption is Now Just Digital Delivery

We are all disruptors now. Being digital is nothing special, it is just the price of staying in business. The real question is this: what is possible in an age of AI that was not possible before?

Rule #2: There is No Remote Work, Only Work

Remote work is just the beginning of a much bigger transformation that is set to transform the nature of work itself. The true future of work will be shaped by five forces: mobility, autonomy, memory, objectivity and velocity.

Rule #3: Robots are Not Coming for Our Jobs, They are Here to Change Them

AI will not destroy jobs, but it will change them. A new world needs new kinds of capabilities - and that means that we need to evolve and upgrade, just as our machines do.

Rule #4: Experiences Matter more than Transactions

What did we learn about the future of retail, when the world’s stores had to close? Whether it be an app or a showroom, engaging experiential design is what really counts.

Rule #5: The Best Way to Lead is to be Data-led

Being a leader in the Algorithmic Age requires a very different approach. We all like to claim to be ‘data-driven’, but in truth, what we really need to be is ‘data-led’.

Rule #6: There is no New Normal

What if the new normal, is not normal at all? Thanks to COVID-19, we are now living in a radically different reality - robotics, VR, automation, protests, surveillance, fake news. The first step to survival is acknowledging that there is no going back from this.

Rule #7: XR is the New Reality

XR or virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality are all on the brink of becoming mainstream technologies that will transform how we live and work. Now is the time to reimagine the way we interact with our customers and create radically new experiences not possible before.

Rule #8: Social distancing is Here to Stay

Social distancing is more than a pandemic response, it is a preview of an AI-powered world in which we deliver products and services using automation and machines with minimal or no human contact.

Rule #9: The Future of AI is Personal

We are fast accelerating to a future in which we will interact with applications with our voices rather than screens, but before we get there, we need a new, more personal approach to AI - virtual assistants that are a digital extension of ourselves.

Rule #10: The Future Favors the Bold

This is no time to settle for survival as a second prize to success. After the chaos of 2020, we need bigger dreams than just recovery. What matters now is reinvention, nothing less.

 

 

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THE SEARCH FOR DIGITAL REINVENTION - Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | Feb 24, 2017 | Comments Off

NoImageFor many companies the Cloud has changed the way they use software. For a fortunate few, it has completely changed the way they do business.

In the last quarter of 2016, Amazon made $3.53 billion in revenue from its Cloud business, up 47 percent from the same time last year. That division now accounts for more than 71 percent of Amazon’s $1.3 billion in operating income, confirming what was long suspected: retail and logistics may be just a sideshow compared to the profit potential of digital infrastructure. That was not always the case.

I remember the Internet as a kid. I was an early enthusiast: accessing bulletin boards with an acoustic coupler modem so slow that it loaded pictures one line of pixels at a time. From that perspective, it was inconceivable that one day we would be using the same infrastructure to stream high definition entertainment. Stranger still, that it would be the platform that ran the world.

It is easy to forget how quickly things have changed. Fast forward past AOL's startup disks, Netscape's list of cool web links and MySpace - we rapidly reached a point when we stopped thinking about the Internet as pipes, routers, and computer servers – and instead as a collection of digital services.

The Internet today is really an operating system, that powers a relatively small number of master platforms that in turn run much of the world’s applications, from performing complex calculations on demand to providing storage for both our personal and enterprise content.

All of that adds up to one thing: what it meant to be digital ten years ago, means something very different today.

If it was once enough to ensure that your business could be found online, now the real question is whether your business has been designed to be digital from the ground up.

Consider sales as an example.

In the old days, big enterprise software companies hired account executives to take prospects out to lunch, golf and even on vacation - to try and win big sales orders. Now, with self-service and subscription models, software companies won't even call you until you reach a certain number of active users. And even then, you probably won't get that free lunch.

Amazon may be the classic example of a company that constantly transforms itself, but it is not the only one.

John Deere is no longer just a tractor company, its predictive maintenance models means that it is also a company that sells data about tractors. Rolls Royce doesn't sell jet engines, it uses digital technology and sensors, to sell performance and uptime. Even Netflix, the wunderkind of 21st century entertainment, is a company in a state of constant reinvention. Not so long ago, after all, they made their money sending out DVDs in little red envelopes.

For leaders, the real priority when it comes to technology, is figuring out what is strategic and what is generic.

Generic technology is no more a source of advantage than running water or electricity – it is a utility. Being strategic means leveraging technology to design new experiences for customers and partners, as well as pushing the boundaries of how employees work, communicate and collaborate.

Even this late in the game, it is still not too late to reimagine how you do things. Digital reinvention, after all, is not something that great companies ever stop searching for.

More from Mike!

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