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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Disrupted!

 14th December 2017 by gihan

(by Gihan Perera, with a nod and a wink to Clement Clarke Moore)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
The stockings were hung by the chimney, in time
For last-minute express delivery by Amazon Prime.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of organic vegan non-GMO sugar-plums danced in their heads.
They needed no gifts for the cold and dark winter
They could make what they want with our new 3D printer.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
A self-driving car crash? Or a runaway drone?
Or a chess-playing robot with a mind of its own?

To the window I flew when I heard the kids screaming,
Only stopping to pause my Netflix box set streaming.
When, what to my wondering eyes should I see
A miniature sleigh with eight tiny reindeer – OMG!

With a little old driver, silhouetted in the dusk
I knew in a moment it must be … Elon Musk!
With my heart thumping strong for the chance of my life, I
Rushed down the stairs, and turned on the Wi-Fi.

It was slow to connect, and I waited in hope, when
I remembered – Oh, no! We’re on NBN.
And I tugged at my hair, as my hopes that rose fell.
But it finally came through, as I knew it would … LOL.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney came Musk with a leap and a bound.

A bundle of gifts he had flung on his back,
And his eyes twinkled wide as he opened his pack.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Offering me the pick of the best gifts on Earth.
The world’s biggest battery? A return flight to Mars?
Unlimited choice from his self-driving cars?

A bag full of Bitcoins he bought before the price upped?
A tip about the next industry he planned to disrupt?
But nothing would shift me, I knew my heart’s desire
To beat the “Fake News!” claim, and not be branded a liar.

Quick as a flash, I grabbed him and his elfie
And pulled out my iPhone and took a quick selfie.
‘Twas a bit dark, skewed and fuzzy – not among my best pix
But nothing a few Instagram filters can’t fix.

I sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a shout,
Leaving Musk in the lounge with his eyes popping out.
As we raced to the sky, to a hundred from zero,
I knew I would soon be an Instagram hero.

Not to mention Facebook and Twitter, and Snapchat too
Maybe even in China I’ll trend on Baidu.
Who needs people and wealth – all I want is fame.
To have 500 Likes and shares next to my name.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and my wish came true
I hope Zuckerberg, Gates, Bezos or Tim Cook can do likewise for you.
You might hear me exclaim, as my sleigh fades from sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

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Are You Involving Your Most Passionate Customers In Your Business?

 12th December 2017 by gihan

I was speaking at a local government conference about how they can involve their residents – their customers and clients – more in their day-to-day operations. Are you doing the same in your business? Don’t treat your customers as just walking dollar signs – they can be active partners in growing your business.

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They Are Smarter Than You Think They Are

 5th December 2017 by gihan

If you asked a random group of people for their general impression of a brilliant scientist, many of them would give you a stereotypical description: the lone genius working long hours in a private laboratory, labouring over his instruments until he has a flash of inspiration that changes everything.

That’s not the way science works anymore. Most scientific discoveries are made by teams. We still hear about individual geniuses making a breakthrough, but they rely on the insights, ideas and plain hard work of others (often geniuses in their own right). As Isaac Newton famously said:

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

If that was true in the 17th century, it’s even more relevant now.

Paradoxically, the best way to build your team is by focussing on each individual.

Like brilliant scientists, your team members want you to recognise their uniqueness and build on it. They don’t want to be treated the same, but they do wanted to be treated as equals. They want opportunities to grow (inside and outside their field) and will use those opportunities to make a greater contribution.

Of course, not everybody wants to be a scientist, and genius doesn’t only occur in the domain of science, so I don’t want to take the scientist analogy too far. However, it doesn’t hurt to think of your team as a group of brilliant, passionate, dedicated individuals who bring those talents to the workplace.

Your brightest and most motivated team members don’t want to be told what to do, don’t want to be restricted by unnecessary policies, and don’t want to be constrained by their current position. On the other hand, they don’t necessarily want to be left completely free to their own devices, either. They recognise the value of being part of a team, working together for a common purpose, and using the organisation to further their own goals. If you support them, they will be more than happy to support you as well.

The best thing you can give them is experience: theirs and yours. You can tap into their own experiences (which makes them feel more valued), give them more experiences (which helps them build better judgement), and share other people’s experiences with them (to help them grow).

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The Patient Will See You Now

 28th November 2017 by gihan

Patients are expecting (demanding!) to be treated more like customers, and want greater use of technology in their experience with medical professionals. But many doctors and medical practices are slow to change, because it takes time to learn new practices and put them in place.

Is your business the same? Are you reluctant to give customers what they want because it’s too difficult for you? If so, you’re vulnerable to disruption, because smart competitors WILL make the change – and leave you behind.

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The Best Ideas Might Be Outside Your Industry

 21st November 2017 by gihan

Even if you believe it makes sense to tap into your team and customers for innovative ideas, you might not be convinced to look further afield. After all, your team members work actively in the business every day, and customers already know a lot about your products and services. But you might think outsiders couldn’t possibly know anything useful that would help with your business innovation.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Not only is this belief not true, it might be the exact opposite of the truth. Sometimes the best ideas come from outside your industry!

A team of Harvard researchers demonstrated this in a study of carpenters and their work practices (Look up the article “Sometimes the Best Ideas Come from Outside Your Industry”, published in the Harvard Business Review). Carpenters should protect their health and safety by wearing face masks while working, but many didn’t – because it was inconvenient, uncomfortable, or they just forgot. So the researchers recruited people from three different fields to suggest ideas to encourage carpenters to comply:

  • Carpenters themselves – who might have ideas for their colleagues
  • Roofing contractors – who work in a related field, so can draw on that experience
  • Inline skaters (rollerbladers) – a separate field with no real relationship to carpentry

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that the roofing contractors did indeed have some novel and practical ideas for the carpenters. But you might be surprised to hear the most novel solutions came from the rollerbladers! Unconstrained by their assumptions about the other field, they suggested novel – and practical – ideas that made a difference.

And it wasn’t that rollerbladers as a group are any more creative than the others in the study. The researchers discovered the same effect in reverse – that is, carpenters had better ideas for rollerblading safety than the rollerbladers themselves.
As the researchers said:

“When you’re working on a problem and you pool insights from analogous areas, you’re likely to get significantly greater novelty in the proposed solutions, for two reasons: People versed in analogous fields can draw on different pools of knowledge, and they’re not mentally constrained by existing, “known” solutions to the problem in the target field. The greater the distance between the problem and the analogous field, the greater the novelty of the solutions.”

With so much innovation happening in so many different fields, you have a rich and almost unlimited source of new ideas available to you. The best, most profitable, ideas for your business might already be in place – somewhere completely outside your field.

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Stop Thinking Jobs or Careers – Start Thinking Skills

 14th November 2017 by gihan

There was a time when young people entering the workforce expected to work in the same career for their life. But that changed, and now many people have multiple careers. In the future, this will become even more fragmented, with a focus on skills, not jobs or careers.

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Muscle Into the Top 4%

 7th November 2017 by gihan

We hear a lot of talk about disruption, but not much about what you can do about it.

Yes, it’s true that many businesses and industries will be “disrupted”, but it’s not necessarily bad news for everybody. In fact, for the most agile, nimble and innovative businesses in an industry, disruption will be a positive force.

You might have heard the statistic that only 20% of new businesses survive the first five years, and only 20% of them survive the next five. That means only 4% of businesses survive a decade.

The same applies now, but in a much smaller time frame. Now it doesn’t take 10 years to sort out the wheat from the chaff; it can happen in 18 months or less.

In other words, if you don’t rise to the top, you’re likely to fall to the bottom.

So how do you become one of the lucky few?

There’s an old saying, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

That’s true, but when it comes to being fit for the future in a fast-changing world, it’s better to follow this philosophy:

“The better I prepare, the luckier I get.”

There are many ways to prepare yourself, your team and your business for disruption. Let me share one with you here: the skill of transdisciplinarity.

In brief, transdisciplinarity means being a connector. It means you look around at what’s happening in the world – especially outside your industry – and figure out how it could possibly relate to you.

What could you use?
How could you leverage it?
Where can you incorporate it into your business?

For example, in a recent webinar, I gave participants the chance to try this out themselves. We looked at five technologies – self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, drones, and nanotechnology (tiny robots) – and I asked people to think of ways those technologies could affect their business. They only had 2 minutes, but they were still able to create some interesting connections.

Here’s a snapshot of some of their responses (click the image to see it in full size):

What are YOU doing to build your transdisciplinarity?

Transdisciplinarity is a vital skill for being fit for the future – especially if you apply it regularly and proactively, not just randomly and reactively.

How can you make it part of your regular operations for your organisation, your people, and of course yourself?

Watch the webinar recording

You can watch the full recording of the webinar here:


The Future Proof Webinar Series

The Future Proof webinar series will keep you in touch with our future - what's ahead, what it means for us, and how to stay ahead of the game.

In each webinar, I'll cover an important topic about the future - for example, the shift of power to Asia, the changing workplace, healthcare technology, the shift to customer-centric business, big data, and more. This is not just theory; I'll also give you practical examples and ideas for you to future-proof your organisation, teams, and career.

Register here

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The Six Disruptive Forces That Will Turn Your Business Upside Down

 2nd November 2017 by gihan

Uber, Airbnb and Apple are often cited as businesses that disrupted entire industries. But they are not the most disruptive kind of force that can strike a business. They are not even the second-most disruptive. Discover the six disruptive forces so you know how to plan for them, adapt to them and maybe even thrive because you understand them.

You can watch the recording here:

After the webinar, I asked participants “What was the most useful thing you learned today?” Here are some of their answers:

“Putting my mind to exercise thinking about how those specific technologies will affect my businesses future, along with/after your great example of Driverless..”

“Reminder of the different types of disrupters”

“That you got us to ‘see’ snapshots of our future, and that people love that, which is why fortune tellers are so compelling. So I can become more interesting if I make people ‘present’ to their futures. (this is not something you taught directly, just a kind of meta-message)”

“Different types of competition in business”

“Thinking of what the future looks like”

The Future Proof Webinar Series

The Future Proof webinar series will keep you in touch with our future - what's ahead, what it means for us, and how to stay ahead of the game.

In each webinar, I'll cover an important topic about the future - for example, the shift of power to Asia, the changing workplace, healthcare technology, the shift to customer-centric business, big data, and more. This is not just theory; I'll also give you practical examples and ideas for you to future-proof your organisation, teams, and career.

Register here

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