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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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