Navigation

People and Machines: Better Together – Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace

 26th March 2019 by gihan

There’s a lot of talk now about Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace. But as much as we hear about “robots coming for your jobs”, the reality is that the best workplaces will have people and machines working together.

Employer demand for AI in the workplace has more than doubled over the last three years, and the majority of leaders expect their employees and machines to work as “integrated teams” in the next few years.

The most innovative organisations are combining the unique skills of people and machines to create better workplaces, deliver superior customer experiences, and stay ahead of the game in a fast-changing world.

Choose your level of engagement.

None of us can predict the exact impact of AI in the workplace (or in life in general, for that matter). But, as you see new AI capabilities, decide how to integrate it into your organisation.

Broadly, you can imagine its impact at four levels:

  1. Replace: It completely replaces something you do in your organisation, and makes that function obsolete.
  2. Assist: It helps you improve the way you perform that function, so you can be more efficient or effective.
  3. Elevate: It frees you up from performing that function, so you can do more important things instead.
  4. Leverage: It creates completely new opportunities for you, not just in the functions you already perform, but with completely new products and services.

Don’t automatically go to the “replace” scenario, where AI will replace jobs or make you obsolete. Instead, think of ways it could assist or elevate your current offerings, and consider how you can leverage it even more in the future.

For example, this video shows 10 ways AI will help the people in your organisation:

  1. AI chatbots answer questions instantly in sales, customer service, and internal support.
  2. AI helps HR and recruiters find suitable candidates and identify potential people problems.
  3. AI manages simple, repetitive tasks like scheduling meetings and answering common questions.
  4. AI and IoT devices constantly monitor the workplace to create safer, more productive, and more effective work environments.
  5. AI handles complex repetitive tasks, such as reading and interpreting contracts.
  6. AI records meetings and transcribes conversations to simplify search and retrieval.
  7. AI monitors physical assets and inventory levels to optimise maintenance, ordering stock, and employee workloads.
  8. AI analyses user sentiment on social media and other communication channels.
  9. AI listens to sales calls in real time, and offers coaching tips to salespeople to improve their future calls.
  10. AI integrates with online learning tools to guide employees to improve their learning.

How can AI help YOU?

Consider both the positives and negatives – that is, the opportunities and the threats. The threats might be the long-term effects of this replacing you, and it’s responsible to consider these threats. But also explore the opportunities for it to assist and elevate your organisation, and consider how to leverage it to create entirely new products and services.

Thinking Ahead

To assess the impact of AI in your workplace, ask these three questions:

  1. What AI have you seen that’s seemingly unrelated to your industry but could have an impact?
  2. Do you automatically go to the most limited “replace” scenario, or do you consider “assist” and “elevate” scenarios?
  3. What AI could you leverage into offering something completely different to your customers?

Filed Under

Tagged With ,

Are You Flexible Enough for Flexible Work?

 19th March 2019 by gihan

The best people want more flexibility in their working hours – as research shows:

  • 81% of employees want to be trusted when, where and how they work (Sage People)
  • 35% of people are choosing freelance work (Forbes)
  • 47% of Australian workers would accept a pay cut for more flexible working hours (Robert Half)

So what are YOU doing to provide more flexible work? Here are 10 ideas …

  1. Find out what flexibility your people really want – It might be easier than you think to provide it
  2. Measure their results, not their effort
  3. Move information into the Cloud for access anywhere at any time
  4. Have fewer meetings
  5. Pay for membership of co-working spaces for people who want to work there
  6. Don’t discriminate against people who don’t work in the office
  7. Offer the same opportunities to everybody – not just parents with family responsibilities
  8. Help them build their judgement, so they can work independently and autonomously
  9. Think of it as a strategic advantage, not just an employee perk
  10. Start planning for it now, so you can offer it before people start demanding it

Also read my Smart Company article here.

Filed Under

Tagged With ,

Understand the Future Customer Journey

 14th March 2019 by gihan

A few weeks ago, I was in Brisbane speaking to the CEOs of private hospitals in Queensland about the future of healthcare. These are smart, savvy, experienced people who know healthcare is changing, know they need to change as well, but don’t know exactly what to do.

But I know some of them were taken aback when I said:

“The future of healthcare is not in hospitals.”

Even if you’re open to change (and these CEOs are), that’s still a confronting statement if most of your role involves building and leading a successful hospital!

Next week, I’ll be saying something similar to leaders at a banking conference:

“The future of banking is not in banks.”

But I firmly believe it’s true!

The future of healthcare is not in hospitals.
And the future of banking is not in banks.
Just as the future of education is not in schools.
And the future of retail is not in shops.

To understand the future of healthcare, banking, education, or retail, don’t start with hospitals, banks, schools, and shops. Those are just the way those industries served their industries in the past. The future might include them, but not necessarily.

The future of healthcare is in patients.
The future of banking is in customers.
The future of education is in students.
The future of retail is in shoppers.

In other words, the future is understanding the people you serve: patients, customers, students, clients, shoppers, whoever.

It’s too easy to fall in love with your products, services, systems, processes, and solutions. But remember these should all be solving problems for your customers. If they aren’t, you’ll soon be obsolete.

Understand your future customer’s journey.

You don’t know exactly how customers will behave in the future, but you can map your current customer’s journey, and then consider the impact of technology, trends, and other external changes at each step.

Here’s the healthcare example I shared with those CEOs …

Imagine a cardiologist who treats patients who suffer a heart attack. Her customer’s journey might start (literally) from the time the ambulance receives the emergency call and rushes the patient to the emergency room. She then performs the surgery, the patient leaves hospital, and constant monitoring happens over time.

Imagine how this customer journey might change in the future:

  • A self-driving ambulance collects the patient. Because all traffic is self-driving, other vehicles automatically stop to let the emergency vehicle through.
  • The patient’s wearables transmit data wirelessly to artificial intelligence software that combines this data from that of thousands of other patients to make a diagnosis.
  • A 3D printer in the ambulance prints a stent for the operation, customised for this patient.
  • Medical supplies are delivered by an autonomous drone, so the hospital doesn’t have to store and manage inventory.
  • After surgery, the patient uses an ECG app on their phone to take regular ECGs, which alert the cardiologist to any potential problems.

All this technology exists now, even if it’s not connected in this way – yet.

A forward-thinking cardiologist, hospital CEO, and anybody else involved in the current version of this journey would consider the impact of these technologies on their “customer’s” journey. Even if some of them are further away than others, they are worth including in the mix now, and then deciding whether you need to address them immediately.

This exercise doesn’t guarantee you will fully anticipate everything in the future customer’s journey, but it’s a good start.

Thinking Ahead

Ask these three questions to help you get fit for the future:

  1. Are you already mapping your customer’s journey, so you can identify how to enhance their experience?
  2. What new technology or trends could have a significant impact on the steps in your future customer’s journey?
  3. What seemingly-impossible things could so radically transform the customer’s journey that they could make you, your organisation, or your industry obsolete?

Disruption By Design

 12th March 2019 by gihan

20 years ago, Clay Christensen wrote a groundbreaking article about “disruptive innovation”, and that brought the term “disruption” into everyday business use. Hardly a week goes by without hearing about a business – or even an entire industry – being disrupted, so it’s not surprising many business leaders are worried. But we’re all talking about disruption, and forgetting the second part of his phrase: innovation! The real secret to success now is to disrupt yourself, so you can stay ahead of the game and lead the way in your industry.

Listen To the Episode

More Resources

The Fit for the Future Podcast brings you regular ideas, interviews and insights about how you, your teams and your organisation can become fit for the future.

More ways to engage with me:

What Will the City of the Future Look Like?

 5th March 2019 by gihan

By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities.
What will the city of the future look like?

Here are 10 things we’ll see in the not-too-distant future …

  1. Most buildings source their power from renewable energy sources.
  2. Vertical farming uses land efficiently to feed larger, more dense, populations.
  3. Self-driving (autonomous) vehicles are the norm.
  4. Demographic changes create demand for new housing options and infrastructure.
  5. Offices are replaced by more flexible workplaces – such as co-working hubs.
  6. New housing options and “smart” infrastructure help older people age in place.
  7. Cities learn how to better manage environmental issues such as air quality and waste disposal.
  8. Eating habits shift towards healthier, protein-rich diets – even new cuisine like insects!
  9. WiFi is reliable and ubiquitous – as good as water and electricity.
  10. The city adapts to its residents with smart lighting, traffic shaping, and greater personalisation.

Filed Under

Tagged With ,

Talent Magnet: 4 Trends To Future-Proof Your Workplace in 2019

 28th February 2019 by gihan

As a futurist, I’m always looking at the trends affecting workplaces and organisations, and I’ve noticed an interesting trend over the last 8-10 years.

A decade ago, we were in the early stages of the technology explosion – with social media, smartphones, and the first discussions around practical uses for AI and robotics. Everybody was excited about the technology, its opportunities and threats, and its impact on their products and services.

Then the conversation shifted from technology to skills – in other words, how we will cope, navigate, and lead in this brave new world that technology will create for us.

Now, the conversation has shifted again. We know there are people – smart, savvy, talented people – with the skills for the future. Because of their skills, they are in high demand. So the question now is: Will they want to work for you?

If you think there’s been a war for talent in the past, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Research by XpertHR says finding high-quality talent will be the top challenge for HR leaders in 2019.

So what do you need to do to create the sort of workplace that will attract, reward, motivate, and inspire these people?

Here are four key trends to help you future-proof your workplace.

1. Prepare for AI in the workplace

This is clearly the 600-pound gorilla in the room. There’s a lot of talk now about AI in the workplace. The report “Australia’s Future Workforce” suggests 40% of jobs in Australia are likely to be automated in the next 10-15 years. So yes, it’s a significant concern for many people.

But as much as we hear about “robots coming for your jobs”, the reality is that the best workplaces will have people and machines working together.

Employer demand for AI in the workplace has more than doubled over the last three years, but (according to Dell research) the majority of leaders expect their employees and machines to work as “integrated teams” in the next few years.

So, work diligently at enabling more AI in your workplace – but in a way that it augments, not replaces, your best people.

2. Offer a more flexible work environment.

The days of in-office, 9-to-5, Monday to Friday, work are dead … or, at least, dying – and technology allows you to provide more flexibility.

The best people want more flexibility in how, when, and where they work. When a 2018 Robert Half survey asked Australian workers what they would be willing to accept a pay cut for, 47% wanted flexible working hours and 40% wanted to work from home sometimes.

This doesn’t mean you have to provide a free-for-all when it comes to flexibility. In many cases, some flexibility will be enough to accommodate a more diverse workforce – for example, people with families, partners moving for their careers, hiring global talent, using freelancers and contractors, and so on.

Speaking of diversity and inclusion …

3. Embrace diversity as a strategic advantage.

No longer do the most senior people have the best expertise, experience, and wisdom to lead your organisation into the future.

According to the recent DCA-Suncorp “Inclusion@Work Index 2018”, employees in diverse and inclusive teams are:

  • 9 times more likely to innovate
  • 10 times more likely to be highly effective
  • 4 times more likely to stay
  • 19 times more likely to be very satisfied with their job

A diverse workforce is not just a “feel good” initiative – it’s a competitive advantage for future-proofing your organisation.

4. Stand for something that matters.

Finally, offer more than a pay cheque and a clean office. The best people today want work that’s meaningful, not just menial; and in a place where they can say they feel proud to work.

In fact, research by Cone Communications says 64% of Generation Y employees won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong CSR (corporate social responsibility) values. And this is no longer just a sideline initiative, it needs to be front and centre in the organisation’s mission.

What are YOU doing to be a talent magnet?

Which of these four initiatives can you implement – or enhance – in your workplace to turn your organisation into a talent magnet? I’m not saying they are easy, but the most important things rarely are. But they are essential, because the best workplaces on Earth are doing these things. So, if you’re not doing them, you’ll fall behind.

Want to know more?

I recently conducted a webcast for my clients about the top talent trends for 2019. I covered the four trends above and shared some ideas for you to implement them in your organisation.

The recording is available here:

Filed Under

The Future of Private Hospitals and Private Healthcare in Australia

 19th February 2019 by gihan

  1. Young people are deserting private hospital insurance – with 49,000 fewer Generation Z’s and Generation Y’s with private insurance than in 2017 (APRA)
  2. Health insurance reform will start taking effect from April 2019 with premium rises and falls for different categories (Deloitte)
  3. Digitisation of the healthcare system has pros and cons (Deloitte). It will lead to greater efficiency, more collaboration, and new opportunities. But it also requires large investment in people, processes, and technology
  4. “Within 10 to 15 years it won’t be a partnership – the consumer will be completely dominant in the relationship.” – Dr Richard Ashby, eHealth Queensland
  5. Most (75%) healthcare providers recognise the need for culture change and workforce optimisation (Australian Health Week)
  6. “Modern unified communications can empower medical staff to provide the best patient experience possible any time and any place.” – Brendan Maree, 8×8 Asia-Pacific
  7. AI and machine learning should augment, not replace, clinicians (Dr John Halamka, Harvard Medical School)
  8. The global market for wearable medical devices and remote patient monitoring systems will reach US$612 billion in 2022 (Deloitte)
  9. “We want to move the health system to a future state that uses cloud-based medical systems and consumer-friendly apps.” – Dr Kevin Cheng, Osana
  10. Australia’s healthcare system is not adapting fast enough to technological change, an ageing population, and rapid urbanisation (KPMG/CEDA)
  11. Consumer healthcare technology is moving services away from hospitals and into patients’ homes (Grattan Institute)
  12. The number of hospital admissions is on the decline. Japan aims to move from 8500 to 7000 hospitals within 15 years (International Journal for Quality in Health Care)

Filed Under

Tagged With , ,

An Important Lesson For Us All From The Royal Commission

 12th February 2019 by gihan

Last week, Kenneth Haynes, commissioner of Australia’s Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, handed in his final report, which included 76 recommendations for reform.

It’s a wide-ranging report, affecting many businesses offering financial services, and it has caused much debate and discussion over the last two weeks. I don’t want to discuss the report in detail here, but it’s worth looking at one aspect of it, because it’s a warning sign for every business in every industry.

Let’s talk about one group that claims to have been unwittingly caught in the crossfire: mortgage brokers.

The mortgage broking industry is facing massive disruption.

One of the report’s recommendations is to change the way mortgage brokers charge fees. In a nutshell, instead of the current system of a broker charging the bank for bringing them the business, the Haynes report recommends they charge the customer instead. The idea is that this would eliminate any perceived conflict of interest, because brokers wouldn’t be influenced by the commissions they receive from the banks.

But many brokers claim this would destroy their business, because many customers simply wouldn’t pay a fee for this service (which they are currently getting for nothing).

I think they are probably right, and I have a lot of sympathy for their point of view. I have an excellent mortgage broker myself, and I know she has saved me thousands of dollars in fees and interest through her expertise. So I understand their point of view.

But the warning signs have been there for years.

I’ll explain …

This is one of the six kinds of disruption.

Broadly, there are six kinds of disruptive forces that could turn your business upside down:

  • Competitors: The traditional companies you’re currently fighting head to head for market share
  • Dominators: The “big guys in town” whose influence affects the entire industry
  • Start-ups: The new players in your industry, who operate with a lean, nimble, and agile approach
  • Upstarts: The start-ups who not only take on your industry, but aren’t bound by the same rules and regulations as everybody else
  • Randoms: Somebody from another industry entirely who disrupts your business without even trying to compete
  • Terminators: Businesses from a different industry who make your entire industry obsolete

This is an example of a Dominator.

A Royal Commission is an example of a Dominator because it affects everybody in an industry.

Sometimes the disruptions appears out of the blue, but more often the signs are there – if you’re willing to look for them.

For example, for the mortgage broking industry, it might look like these changes have come from nowhere as a result of the Royal Commission. But I wrote about precisely these changes in a blog post almost two years ago: What You Don’t Know WILL Hurt You – Disruption in the Mortgage Broking Industry. I wrote it because of another report released at the time – the Sedgwick Report – which recommended some of the very same changes the Royal Commission is recommending now.

Here’s an extract of what I wrote at the time:

“The dominators in the industry are the regulators and other government forces. They don’t compete directly with you, but they change the way you run your business – in ways that are generally outside your control …. The Sedgwick Report recommends changes to the way financial products are sold and offered – for example, replacing value-related commissions with a fee-for-service model … Last year, as part of the Financial System Inquiry (FSI), ASIC’s Review of Mortgage Broker Remuneration proposed other changes to the way brokers are remunerated – all in the name of increasing competition and improving consumer outcomes.”

As I said, the warning signs were there!

I’m not making any judgement here about whether the proposed changes are “fair”. As I said, I have a lot of sympathy for the broking industry’s point of view. But it doesn’t really matter what I think about it – these businesses probably will be disrupted.

It’s not easy for anybody to imagine major disruptive changes to their life – especially changes that fundamentally underpin their current business model. But it’s an important position to take – especially if you’re a leader in a fast-changing world.

Most importantly, look for the warning signs. It’s surprising how often they are there – if only you’re willing to look for them.

Thinking Ahead

Here are three questions you can ask to help you adopt this mindset:

  1. Which “assets” in your organisation could be liabilities because they are blinding you from other opportunities?
  2. What would happen if some fundamental part of your business model became illegal tomorrow?
  3. If a smart start-up company wanted to move into your industry, what would they do differently?

Filed Under