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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Whats in the future for all us Business leaders



I always get a buzz from reading some of the futurists ideas, I have helped a few with their research in the past, this article is a snap shot of some of the thoughts from a leading thinker in this space Ray Kurzweil, a lot of it is not to far off. Enjoy the read the original article was from Future Winners International Ltd, it has a proven track record of providing senior executives with the ability to continuously re-engineer their enterprises with a supporting organisation structure and culture which is nimble and adaptable.


Adapt or Die


I seldom recommend a book in this newsletter – especially one published as far back as 2005! I however recommend unreservedly that you should get your hands onto ‘The Singularity is Near’ by Ray Kurzweil even if only to read the first two chapters.
Ray is possibly the world’s most famous serious futurist. In these two chapters he combines fifteen studies of the evolution of life from the big bang until the present. These studies were compiled by highly respected academics and organisations including The American Museum of Natural History, Encyclopedia Britannica, Scientific American, the biochemist Paul D. Boyer who won the Nobel physics prize in 1997, Carl Sagan and Phillip Tobias the world famous paleoanthropologist.
He discovered an absolute fit of the milestones in evolution in each of the studies to a single exponential curve. This is shown below:



Note that in a logarithmic plot an exponential curve appears, as above, as a straight line.
Kurzweil claims that the exponential curve has already reached the critical trigger point whereafter the development of all biological and human created technology will accelerate explosively transforming everything we do with ever increasing speed.
Just to emphasise this point, within 2 – 5 years you should be able to
· Make presentations to your clients or watch high definition TV with the image projected onto a wall with stereo sound from your cell phone
· Speak to prospective clients and work colleagues in their home language whether Cantonese, Russian or Arabic using simultaneous language translation. This also means Chinese, Russian and Arab competitors will be able to converse with your customers in English. Frightening!
· Utilise your computer to manage a myriad of gadgets around your home and office. The days of missing keys will soon be over!
· Speak directly to your computer and receive a reasoned reply.
· Get your computer to do research on the internet for you
Request your computer to undertake a great deal of the routine work that currently takes up a great deal of your time
· Attend virtual meetings without leaving your office
· Provide your clients with face to face communications when they phone in. At last we will be able to see those anonymous faces of the people at call centres. And they will be able to see just how fed up we are!
While all this happens, customer and employee expectations, aspirations and values will change so much as to be virtually unrecognisable.
What does this mean for you and your business?
Basically that Ray Kurzweil has got it right. The acceleration has set in. We have passed the ‘trigger point’ on the exponential curve .Technological knowledge, like interest on returns reinvested, increases at compound or exponential rates. Blast off is already well underway.
Whether you are a one person business or the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation reading this Future Report, you will have to continually transform yourself and your business if you are to survive.
Executives need an entirely new tool bag now in order to develop successful strategic plans and take their employees and customers with them as unrelenting change accelerates.
Yet, the truth is that the business strategy most of us currently use is to adapt to changes as they come along. This might have served us well up to the present, but will become a recipe for disaster in the near term simply for two reasons.
Firstly, most of our organisations were designed to be winners in the Industrial age and, despite some tinkering, are still what they were designed to be. Your clients and employees, especially the millennium generation, have very different aspirations and expectations both of employers and as customers. The risk of conducting a business alien to clients and employees is self evident.
Secondly, we all know that if you don’t plan to be the market leader, you can plan to be a successful follower.
In the past the follower was often able to copy innovative products and produce them cheaper or with more appealing features than the innovator. The difference in future will be that the innovator will have moved on to new cheaper and/or more advanced products and services even before the follower catches up.
The future winners will have a flexible corporate strategy which is capable of fast, innovative movement and a supporting organisation structure and culture which is nimble and adaptable.
The remorseless and ever accelerating speed of change will compel CEOs to abandon redundant strategic planning techniques and leadership models designed for the industrial age. They will have develop new strategies and methods to plan for the future, companies like FWI can help there.
Slainte
Gordon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read Fantastic Voyage, The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity is Near, and they changed my life. I even found some of his lectures on Itunes and I find myself impatiently awaiting his next book.

Recently read another incredible book that I can't recommend highly enough, especially to all of you who also love Ray Kurzweil's work. The book is ""My Stroke of Insight"" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. I had heard Dr Taylor's talk on the TED dot com site and I have to say, it changed my world. It's spreading virally all over the internet and the book is now a NYTimes Bestseller, so I'm not the only one, but it is the most amazing talk, and the most impactful book I've read in years. (Dr T also was named to Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People and Oprah had her on her Soul Series last month and I hear they're making a movie about her story so you may already have heard of her)
If you haven't heard Dr Taylor's TEDTalk, that's an absolute must. The book is more and deeper and better, but start with the video (it's 18 minutes). Basically, her story is that she was a 37 yr old Harvard brain scientist who had a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. Because of her knowledge of how the brain works, and thanks to her amazingly loving and kind mother, she eventually fully recovered (and that part of the book detailing how she did it is inspirational).

There's a lot of learning and magic in the book, but the reason I so highly recommend My Stroke of Insight to this discussion, is because we have powerfully intelligent left brains that are rational, logical, sequential and grounded in detail and time, and then we have our kinesthetic right brains, where we experience intuition and peace and euphoria. Now that Kurzweil has got us taking all those vitamins and living our best ""Fantastic Voyage"" , the absolute necessity is that we read My Stroke of Insight and learn from Dr Taylor how to achieve balance between our right and left brains. Enjoy!