Digerati hosted their third webinar on “THE HUMAN ELEMENT THAT DRIVES THE INNOVATION MINDSET” on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM.
Replay of webinar available here:
Here is quick summary of Webinar:
Most of us don’t think about our journey to future in our day-to-day lives. However, with the exponential acceleration of technology and the changing mindset, the kind of lifestyles people are living has changed to a great extent. Take some minutes to think about what were you doing in 1997, that’s 20 years back. A lot of things changed in our environment whether professional or personal. Back then students use to take hand notes and the majority of the class had to either go to the computer lab or to the lecture hall to take notes whereas as today students have learnt to take notes from devices.The classrooms itself have the tone of technology where students can do their entire college online. In 20 years we have seen the change and the technology is accelerating the change even faster.
What the future looks like to you in about 20 years? It is not that simple to answer this question. There are so many aspects of our life that will be affected such as our lifestyle, work life, relationships, health, transportation, real estate, cities, water, food and energy. No one knows what the future would look like.
Remember The Jetsons! The Jetsons sci-fi cartoon was actually created in 1962. In 1962 people had come up with the idea of video phones, robotic assistants, smartwatches, drones, 3D printed foods, even jetpacks. And all these ideas are actually around today. They even had flying cars, which we do have prototypes, but they not there in the mass market. But it is only going to take a couple of 3 to 5 years before they become mainstream. Some other things in the Jetsons was, devices were all connected and used to talk to each other. Those all things a lot of companies are already working on and slowly it is becoming a part of our lives. The numbers are staggering, an estimated 30% of household own a connected device. By the end of this year there will be 5 billion connected devices worldwide and 25 billion by 2020. This represents $263 billion in spending according to Gartner.
What retail is doing to become relevant? They are engaging their consumer at an individual level. It is the human element. A lot of companies are building technologies to engage with customers at an individual level. They have already started to see innovation happen right now to build cities in the future. There are things that are built today that wouldn’t even come into the market or even be viable for another 20-30 years but people are working on them today. Something, that is a little bit more tangible to people that could develop in about 20 years is floating cities. An organization called Seasteading Institute have been working on this project from almost 10 years. They are building their first prototype in French Polynesia. It’s amazing to think about the idea of building cities on water. We also have technology that allows us to create underwater cities. These are the things people are working on today to create tomorrow.
Another technology that will really have an impact in the future is Nanotechnology. How nanotechnology can help individuals? This technology is beyond helping us at an individual level. Nanotechnology is going to interact with AI along with IoT and help people create items. It is going to learn itself and grow on its own and create things anybody can even phantom. The Chinese population is doing quite a bit of work in nanotechnology world and in the next 5 years, it is going to come into the media.
One of the simplest things that’s there in the media all the time is how advertising by medium has changed. Hotspot has created a great visualization of how advertising has changed. In the first 400 years all that we knew or saw was print, that was newspaper, magazine, billboards, and catalogues. In the last 20 years we have had advertising in marketing penetrate every digital channel, banner ads, mobile, blogs, websites, online articles. This brings up the topic of digital transformation.
What is the digital transformation?
A lot of companies feel that digital transformation means they need to bring in right technology to engage with their consumer on social and digital media. But, it is much beyond marketing and advertisement models. It is about bringing in the right technologies into a company so that the folks can also do the job more efficiently and use tools that can enhance their own results or KPIs.
When you put digital transformation into a company it creates a new ecosystem that establishes an identifying act upon technology and market trends. Ecosystem itself is adaptable to change and that’s digital transformation is all about. One challenge that lot of companies face is lack of leadership and understanding the need to make these changes. There are pressures from the KPI standpoint, revenue generation, profits or cost-cutting. Therefore, CEOs have to spend some time to understand what these technologies mean? How these technologies can help the company to interact with the consumers? How to create a right experience for the end users?
As per Forrester research in 2016, 60% companies believe that they are lacking behind in digital transformation and 20% of them are still not going to make any changes till 2018 as they do not want to spend money to put digital transformation to help their company. Those 20% of companies are going to perish as they would be too late in the game by the time they realize that they need to change. When we see the implications of digital transformation there are costs involved, and a lot of CEOs don’t have data backup. Also, high-level executives do not understand the technology. So, we need to create a system in place to be able to educate them.
Evolution Of A Cashless Society
This is the another current topic or process that is happening through technology. Countries like South Africa, have significantly adopted these cashless payments. 5 out of 10 British people under 25 have never written a check. Belgium at 93% cashless, India at 32% cashless and it’s moving more and more in those directions. In the long run having a cashless society where we are using mobile to pay for the items makes it more easier to do a cashless payment than to carry a lot of cash.
Right Natural Energy Sources
Another thing that is happening out in the world which technology is fighting very quickly to solve is working on finding the right natural energy sources. Today fossil fuel still makes up 80% of our current energy source and it will continue to be major energy source around the world. If we don’t do something in next 20 years, it going to become cost prohibitive for most people to afford it. We need people to break through some technology in solar and nuclear fusion. These are things that are going to affect us as an individual. If all of us are looking at technology or building technology, & if we do not have the energy sources in future then we are going to see a very different future which might take us into apocalypse.
AI vs Human
We have a lot of media talk about AI going to bring the singularity. They are going to be more smarter than humans and even going to control humans. When we look at the media, technology, marketing, advertising, and people wanting to sell more things and build more products, there’s lot of noise out there. There are companies creating intelligent agents meeting AI to help them get away from the noise. This is going to put a big dent in company’s finances. As 1% of the US population will spend about 24 billion in the next 10 years to join the AI revolution and get themselves away from the noise. It’s essential to consider why are we creating such noise and understand the relevancy. So, 2018 will be the starting point where intelligent agents are going to influence consumers and pressure lot of brands to engage through the power of conversions.
What is being created today is being created by the human. We take the decision and have ideas what to build and where we want to go? Consumer are expecting more from companies, which requires companies to move forward in technology, customer services, building experience, knowing the customer and so on. So, how do we assume in sort of priorities what’s important? How does a company allow their people to create the future in an environment that’s motivating them and helps them open their mind?
There are 3 critical aspects that are important as you start inculcating a culture of creating tomorrow, today in your businesses through the human element.
Collaboration: It has two aspects, internal and external collaboration. One is you hire the right people and you give them the ability to work together with their diverse mindset. They will come up with ideas beyond their own thinking. When you look at collaborating internally, it’s about collaborating just beyond the business unit. For example, a call center has an agent working with the calls and if the organization creates an AI agent that would help the agent to become better at responding to calls, the agent will have an opportunity to work with other designers who are good at understanding human psychology and then work with tech folks who understand how the technology needs to be built. This needs be a collaborative process around business units. Externally, many companies are having people who are not from the industry, who have different experiences, who are innovators on their own and they come almost on every advisory board, this is collaboration outside. And, it is really important because when we talk about digital transformation into businesses, executives may not have enough data to understand what is expected from them to do. However, if they look beyond their companies they will find other companies who have taken the risks and who are able to give them the data. Even though it’s not their company, this will help that human element of taking the risks to implement new things. So, collaboration is highly needed in today’s world.
The environment is created by leaders. Many of you are leaders and many of you need to understand how the technology affects your business, your employees and also how it affects you. A lot of companies, might have created a lot of separate innovation teams, years ago. However, it doesn’t work. It creates silo within the company and people who are working on innovation are not necessarily get motivated to truly create innovation. So that’s where it becomes important to create an environment where collaboration can happen, where folks have innovation mindset across business units. It also means leaders need to be educated on the impact of not changing but at the same time on the other side of the coin is how do we educate our leaders to understand the benefits of the change being implemented through technologies.
Environment is also created through conversations with HR. HR in many organizations is just an administrations head. However, just like we look at our customers and we want to be customer-centric with them, HR needs to have a personalized experience and engagement with the employees also. The work can be enhanced if we can bring the human elements of our daily lives into our work. This could mean that HR needs to get focus more on family time, healthcare, flexible work schedules and even more than that, HR and leaders have to bring about trust and understanding that each person has some value to add into the work environment with 100% involvement. According to Forrester, “In 2018, 30% of companies are going to see decline in their customer service performance and this is because companies are not able to keep up what customer wants. And part of that is because we don’t let our employees be a customer inside our own environment.”
Hiring the right people:
It’s not necessary that everyone can suggest ideas, but everyone must have a mindset that they can find solutions, or can look into what they are working on and understand where they are leading to. One of the biggest challenges that we are having in the technology sector is finding enough folks that have the right technical skills to do, what needs to be done to create the future. With healthcare changing and us living longer, healthier and smarter life, maybe a part of it can be utilised to re-educate folks who are already in the workforce, who just need to be retrained to get technical skill sets. This allows companies to have loyal people in their business and give them the opportunity to continue to have the income coming in, have a lifestyle and be able to benefit the company. If we could have HR come in and work with people and re-educate them with the technology then we might be able to let people continue to drive us forward. All the ideas cannot be created unless we have people creating them. The technology is not going to create itself.
So, this is the future state at very macro level where there would be millions of threat that may come with the future, whether its building new technology, different lifestyle, new cities or different mindsets. There are so many different pieces that would go into building cities on mars or floating cities or making nanotechnology actually integrate with us and work with us in making the health system get better and eradicate diseases. There are still things that are going to be there in the next 20 years that we have not even thought about. This is just the tip of the iceberg, & there are so much more out there that people are working day-in and day-out. Bringing human element, as it’s all human who are coming up with these ideas of how they can make our life and earth better and change how we think about life. Lastly the micro element of the human aspects that consists of collaboration, the environment and the most importantly people, are creating the future.
About Webinar Host:
Urvi Bhandari is passionate about changing the paradigm of how we live, work and play by connecting people, places and projects across the world. She is a transformational leader, connecting four key pillars, through her network and global experience. Through her consultancy, Radical Roamer, she utilizes her 20 years as a corporate executive to support the interaction between corporations, startups and the rest of the community by driving the innovation mindset within executives. Prior to this role, Urvi has played senior roles with Walmart’s Emerging Technology organization, lead Membership Innovation at Sam’s Club and she has been the Chief of Staff for SVP of Brand Marketing at AT&T