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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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)

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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?

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Ten Trends for the Airport of the Future

 5th February 2019 by gihan

Forget the endless queues and delays – the airport of the future will be a destination in itself. Airports around the world are reinventing themselves to cater to the new model of treating passengers as customers.

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To Attract Top Talent, Create a Shared Journey

 30th January 2019 by gihan

When a small, New York City-based organisation advertised for a graphic designer to join its 70-person staff, over 500 people applied. When they later advertised for a receptionist, they had almost twice as many applications.

This organisation wasn’t offering above-average salaries, lucrative stock options, or free food and massages for their employees. In fact, some employees were leaving those perks in other jobs to join the list of applicants here. That’s because they want to work for this non-profit organisation, charity: water, which builds wells around the world to provide clean and safe drinking water for those who need it most.

It’s not surprising an organisation with such a strong social purpose attracts like-minded employees. Founder Scott Harrison proudly claims people give up other benefits to do work that matters. Everybody there knows everything they do directly or indirectly helps families around the world.

But charity: water doesn’t just do good on the outside; it was also named one of Inc magazine’s 2018 Best Workplaces for how it operates on the inside. Their internal practices reflect the brand values of kindness and caring, and build a culture that attracts people who are also aligned with these values.

Here’s the Point

Stand for something that matters, and you will attract people who want to do work that matters.

The best people won’t tolerate a job that only gives them a simple exchange of time for money. They want a place where they can say they’re proud to work, and where their work has meaning. They know what “we” stand for, they value what we stand for, and they know they are making a difference in the world.

That sense of pride doesn’t only occur in a non-profit organisation like charity: water that reaches the entire world. It can occur in any organisation, small or large, in any industry, and in myriad ways.

An organisation like charity: water started with a higher-purpose goal, but that isn’t the case in many organisations. They start by solving more prosaic problems for their customers or helping them reach some small goal in their lives. That used to be enough to thrive, because solving problems kept the business alive, and employees were happy enough to work for that kind of business.

Solving customer problems is still important, but it’s now just the price of entry. Employees expect more, and want to work for an organisation with a strong mission, values, and purpose.

This is the difference between offering a salaried job and inviting people on a shared journey. If all other things are equal, they will choose the more compelling journey (Wouldn’t you?). And even if all other things aren’t equal, the best people will still choose that journey.

This is the real secret to employee engagement. Instead of investing time, money, and energy into employee engagement programs, offer work with meaning and your people are automatically engaged.

The research backs this up.

It’s easy to dismiss this as yet another touchy-feely, wishy-washy, feel-good initiative. But there’s plenty of hard evidence that backs this up. Here’s just a sample of recent research about what the best people want now from a workplace:

  • 64% of Generation Y won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong CSR values (Cone Communications)
  • 78% of employees are not convinced their leaders have a clear direction for the organisation (Gallup)
  • Companies “that stand for something bigger than what they sell, communicate their purpose and demonstrate commitment, are more likely to attract consumers and influence purchasing decisions.” (Accenture Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research)

Combine passion with purpose.

To create a shared journey, combine passion with purpose. Some people confuse these two concepts, but they are very different things. As Morten T Hansen says in his book, “Great at Work”, passion is “Do what you love”, while purpose is “Do what contributes”. In other words, passion is about how the world serves you, and purpose is about how you serve the world.

Your team members do meaningful work when they can apply their passion to your purpose.

On the one hand, you have passionate people, who are energised, excited, and enthusiastic about their work. It gives them joy and pleasure, they find true meaning in it, and they push through the tough times because they really, truly care. These are all good things, and they are exactly the people you want in your team and organisation.

At the same time, being aligned with your purpose means they channel that passion to create real value. They understand how their job fits in with other parts of the team, collaborate for a common cause, and measure their impact by external results rather than just internal motivation. This turns their passion into something meaningful (for them) and productive (for you).

Thinking Ahead

Here are three questions to ask yourself about creating a shared journey for your team – so you can attract and keep the best people:

  • How do you regularly connect the passion of your people with the purpose of your organisation?
  • How do you connect your passion with the purpose of your organisation?
  • What else can you do to provide more meaningful work for each person in your team?

Bonus Material: Top 10 Talent Trends for 2019

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The Skills for the Future: Leadership and Social Influence

 24th January 2019 by gihan

When the World Economic Forum identified key skills for the future, “leadership” was near the top of the list. But not just leadership! Specifically, the skill is called “leadership and social influence”. That’s because leadership now is about how well you can influence people in your team, your organisation, and your community.

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