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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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AI, Algorithms, and the Changes That Are Here to Stay

By Karen Harris | Feb 08, 2019 | Comments Off

Image credit: Center for Generational Kinetics

If you’re finding article after article and news story after news story referencing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and algorithms – you’re not alone! Sources tell us that AI is changing the landscape of how people do business, how markets shift, how we travel, purchase, sell, and how organizations map out the future.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Forbes columnist Bernard Marr shared five of his top predictions for 2019 in an insightful article that spells out how it can potentially affect politics, transparency, automation, jobs, and more. “AI points towards a future where machines not only do all of the physical work, as they have done since the industrial revolution but also the ‘thinking’ work – planning, strategizing and making decisions.” For some, that sounds scary, but for others, embracing change (always a good idea) and getting a handle on how AI is being integrated in almost every part of our lives and economy is just smart business.

Another recent article in Medium Magazine shared, “A recent McKinsey study estimates that the most advanced AI techniques may create between $3.5 trillion and $5.8 trillion in new value annually in 19 industries — from agriculture and automotive to banking and basic materials to travel and telecommunications.  AI is defined as the ability of a machine to perform cognitive functions we associate with human minds. And as human learning grows, so does AI. Scientists continually push the boundaries of what is possible with new techniques. As a result, it’s critical for leaders to understand not only the vision but also the reality of AI.”

With so much buzz – it’s no surprise that futurist and thought leader Mike Walsh made AI the focus of his new book, The Algorithmic Leader: How to Be Smart When Machines are Smarter than You.  In it, Mike brings together years of research and interviews with some of the world’s top business leaders, AI pioneers, and data scientists to share a set of 10 principles about what it takes to succeed in the algorithmic age. The Algorithmic Leader offers a hopeful and practical guide for leaders of all types, and organizations of all sizes, to survive and thrive in this era of unprecedented change.

What is an algorithmic leader? Someone who has successfully adapted their decision making, management style, and creative output to the complexities of the machine age. The world is changing, to be sure, and with it, our ability to communicate, adapt, and understand how technology will lead us into the future. To be successful, as a leader, a business professional, or even consumer – we must learn new ideas, new skill sets, and new ways of thinking.

They say the only constant in life is change. The keeping up with it part is up to us!

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