On the 24th the YADA team headed down to the beautiful British Academy to visit this year’s Enterprise Digital Summit. A one-day conference on all things ‘digital transformation’, the idea of embracing technology into all aspects of modern life from wearable technology to a wifi-enabled washing machine.
The conference focused around changing the mind set of corporate business away from traditional top down structures as we enter into the world of digital 4.0 or the Digital Enterprise Wave. Research at the event highlighted that almost half the UK’s business leaders think their business model will cease to exist within 5 years. Digital disruption is real and happening now. However, as we learnt, this extends to all areas of business regardless of size and our personal lives. So, here’s a recap of a couple of our favourite talks from the day just in case you didn’t manage to make it down to the British Academy.
Dr David Wilkinson: Agile Leadership as Next Generation Management Paradigm
Dr Wilkinson’s (Oxford University lecturer) talk focused around the idea of an agile mindset. In his presentation he worked through two real-life examples, a plane crash on the Potomac river and America’s starting of the Vietnam War, to illustrate the importance of on an agile mindset and trying to create an emotional resilience to allow for proper decision making. For example, the plane crash on the Potomac had 7 points before the plane had taken off where the flight should have been cancelled. Therefore, in stressful situations there is a need for emotional resilience so proper decisions can be made. Or, decision making should be moved away from a sole individual in to a collaborative process.
This change in mindset from the hierarchical structure of a traditional corporate business is going to be necessary in the newly digital world. So, next time you find yourself in a moment of fight or flight, remember to not just be agile, but think AGILE.
Chris Fussell: Guiding Principles for the Digital 21c Organisation
In a similar vein, Chris’ talk focused on his experience as an ex-US Navy SEAL and aide de camp to the General of Special Forces. He explained the challenge of modern warfare now being fought between non-state actors, rather than nation states. The spread of information needed to change. A system of the top brass holding all info and spreading it thinly to specific groups couldn’t work against an enemy whose cover was to hide as civilians. This forced the military to be far more open with their information. This required change is much like the change that is going to be required by big businesses as the world changes under digital pressure. Information is to be shared to the masses not hoarded by the few.
Neil Usher: Going all the Way towards People Centric Work Environments at Sky
Finally, Neil’s talk brought the idea of this newly digital world in to a physical sense through his work as the designer of Sky’s new office work spaces and campus. All areas of the campuses were designed to have social interaction at heart with different aesthetics for each department. Surrounded by bespoke cafés and restaurants on site. All spaces are geared toward collaborative work rather than hierarchy. This culminates in the Sky News studio being cantilevered over the middle of the main building and being visible from everywhere. The forward thinking of valuing all employees on an equal playing field is crucial in having a business which can react on a far smaller time scale, thinking of sixty or ninety day plans rather than the classic five years.
All these talks focus around collaboration as key the factor. Especially with other talks throughout the day giving lots of attention given to collaboration tools like Slack and the upcoming introduction of Microsoft teams. The biggest piece of technology showcased was the use of IBM’s Watson, which is an AI being used to help automate areas of business (you can find out more at http://ibm.co/2g1O51k). Overall it was interesting day focusing on the abstract and philosophical future of business in our rapidly evolving world and shows how desperately we need to change our mindset. The solution? Maybe we’ll find out next year.
Do you think collaboration is key for the future of business?
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