Exceptional Magazine : 2017 Exceptional Magazine
54 Exceptional Australia 2017 Megatrends: remaking fundamental human roles Digital disruption empowering consumers “The future is here — it’s just not evenly distributed,” says Alex Tapscott of Northwest Passage Ventures, quoting futurist William Gibson. Digital technology and related business model disruptions have democratised data, lowered entry barriers and expanded access, empowering individuals to participate in the resulting value creation. But they have also created new haves and have-nots. Continuing digital disruptions could bridge this gap, as falling technology costs and new payment models put digital technology in the hands of billions more people. Sharing economy adviser April Rinne points out that 90% of the world’s population over the age of six is expected to have a mobile phone by 2020 — altering expectations and democratising access to everything from government to data as the world becomes massively more connected. Meanwhile, Blockchain — the distributed database technology invented by Bitcoin — is democratising transactions. The internet has made large organisations more powerful by creating intermediaries and gatekeepers. Blockchain could change all that and put more power back into the hands of the consumer. Its secure central ledger could create trust and transparency, and track transactions between individuals, eliminating the need for today’s powerful middlemen. “Imagine an Airbnb without Airbnb or an Uber without Uber,” says Tapscott. Blockchain has emerged as the new “internet of value”, argues Stephan Dolezalek of Resourcient. Dolezalek also highlights how digital disruption is democratising energy, as mobile did with telecommunications. With energy assets becoming increasingly distributed and customer-owned, utilities will have to forge new customer relationships and focus on delivering dynamic services rather than just energy. Power is shifting to customers. How will you respond? Reinventing workers AI and robotics are transforming production, and the resulting disruption will be challenging. Stowe Boyd of Gigaom, pointing out that half of all current jobs will likely be “ephemeralised”, asks, “What are people for in a world that no longer values our labour?” Still, “[the disruption of work] is going to happen”, notes Dolezalek. “The question is how we embrace it.” And the disruption brings potential upsides. Technology will free up people to do what they do best, says John Sotos of Intel. Doctors, for instance, are already inundated with growing volumes of patient data; machines could use AI to assist, by processing information and adding much-needed context. Stefan Heck, founder of Nauto, argues for separating tasks suited for AI, such as monotonous long distance driving, from those suited for humans, such as navigating a chaotic construction site. When machines become workers, what will we do? In light of these developments, Rebecca Kantar, Entrepreneur in Residence at professional learning network GLG, calls for a radically different model for education and competency development. “Creativity is not fixed, and neither is intelligence,” she says. “But we’ve been developing people the same way forever. We need to instead teach them to think like entrepreneurs.” Kantar recommends discarding the notion that people need to be busy all the time. Rather, she says, give them the slack they need to innovate and create. The upside of disruption: megatrends shaping 2016 and beyond Disruption is everywhere and it affects everyone. How your organisation approaches disruption and its impacts could mean the difference between achieving unprecedented success and struggling to survive. Our new report, The upside of disruption: megatrends shaping 2016 and beyond, deals with the transformative forces unleashed by disruption. It reveals the primary causes of disruption and how these give rise to eight megatrends that are shaping our future. This report asks the key questions that every organisation needs to think about today and shares actionable insights to help you seize the upside of disruption. Key takeaways • The upsides of digital disruption are rapidly globalising. The resulting democratisation of data, transactions and energy is empowering individual consumers in relation to suppliers, governments and each other. • It is important to embrace the inevitable disruptions coming to the workplace as a result of the adoption of AI and robotics. The key is to use technology to free up people to do what they do best. • New modes of education and development that focus on entrepreneurship and creativity are needed to help individuals realise the upside of workplace disruption. See full report The accelerating adoption of digital technology and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) profoundly affects people’s roles as consumers and producers. We are at a critical turning point in the way we interact with the world and the workplace.
2016 Exceptional Magazine