We live in challenging times. What used to work is not effective
today. It is difficult to develop new process and procedures
while we are still evaluating how the old ones work.
The tools and skills weve developed over the last century
inadequately address imminent challenges. Were caught
between two paradigms: a collapsing industrial platform and
an uncertain new one.
| The Future of Work:
5 Skills for the Robotic Age
The challenges of 21st-century workrapid innovation, unrelenting
change and unprecedented uncertaintyhave created a stress pandemic.
Depending on your disposition, you may view the future as ripe for
a spectacular explosion of creativity or poised on the brink of self-destruction.
Either way, theres no going back.
The tools and skills weve developed over the last century inadequately
address imminent challenges. Were caught between two paradigms:
a collapsing industrial platform and an uncertain new one.
In February 2011, the IBM computer "
Watson" trounced two
Jeopardy! champions over a 3-day competition. Watsons
cognitive-reasoning skills were far superior, with access to 200 million
pages of structured and unstructured content (4 terabytes of disk
storage, including the full text of Wikipedia).
Even before Alex Trebek finished reading a clue, Watsons 2,880
parallel processor cores began to divvy up the workload. At 33 billion
operations per second, they could search 500 gigabytes of data (roughly
1 million books) in the blink of an eye. Watson could also hit the
buzzer in less than 8 milliseconds.
During the 3 seconds Watson took to deliver a correct response, various
algorithms worked across multiple processors to return hundreds of
hypothetical answers. Watson was programmed to hit the buzzer only
after reaching a 50% confidence level. By the end of the game, Watson
had surpassed previous champions winnings by almost 200%, easily
becoming the first nonhuman Jeopardy! champion.
In February 2013, IBM announced that Watsons first commercial
software application would be used for utilization management decisions
at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Ninety percent of nurses
who use Watson now follow its guidance.
This is an example of how robots, machines and computers will ultimately
take our jobs. We must harness our creative energy in new ways to
stay ahead of the robot curve.
| Help! A Robot Ate My Job!
If you havent yet heard this complaint, you will. Todays
widespread unemployment is not a jobs crisis; its a talent crisis.
Technology is taking every job that doesnt require a high degree
of creativity, humanity or leadership.
In times of rapid change, success favors those who can make big leaps
of imagination, courage and effort. The call for new ways to work
will become even more pressing.
| 10 Areas Ripe for Innovation
Group, a Chicago think tank, has identified 10 areas where
innovation can deliver competitive advantages:
Think of problems as opportunities to find worthy and inspiring solutions.
Metaskills: 5 Talents for the Robotic Age, business adviser
Marty Neumeier encourages leaders to use the following
questions as inspiration points:
- The business model: how a company makes money
- Networking: including organizational structure, value
- Enabling processes: the capabilities a company buys
- Core processes: proprietary methods that add value
- Product performance: including features and functionality
- Product systems: extended systems that support the
- Service: how a company treats customers
- Channels: how companies connect offerings to customers
- Branding: how a company builds its reputation
- Customer experience: including the touchpoints where
customers encounter the brand
- Whats the either/or thats obscuring
- In which areas do the usual methods no longer achieve predicted
- Whats the cant-do that you can turn
into a can-do?
- Which problems are so big that they can no longer be seen?
- Which categories or sectors exhibit the most uneven rates of
- In which area is there a great deal of interest, but very few
- Where can you find too little or too much order?
- Which of your talents can be upscaled in some surprising way?
- Where can your passion take you?
|5 Skills for the Robotic Age
We need to stay on top of the robot curvethe constant waterfall
of obsolescence and opportunity fed by competition and innovation.
Neumeier presents five metaskills thatso farrobots cannot
- Feeling encompasses intuition, empathy and social
intelligence. Humans draw on emotion for intuition, aesthetics
and empathyskills that are becoming more vital as we enter
the robotic age.
- Seeing is the ability to think whole thoughts (also
known as system thinking). We understand parts of
a system when we appreciate their relationship to each other,
rather than in isolation. Before tinkering with a system, we
need to ask:
a. What will happen if I do nothing?
b. What may be improved?
c. What may be diminished?
d. What will be replaced?
e. Will it expand future options?
f. What are the ethical considerations?
g. Will it simplify or complicate the system?
h. Are my basic assumptions correct?
i. What has to be true to make this possible?
j. Are events likely to unfold this way?
k. If so, will the system really react this way?
l. What are the factors behind the events?
m. What are the long-term costs and benefits?
- Dreaming requires you to apply your imagination. Innovators
transform their dreams into practical solutions. You dream by
disassociating your thoughts from all that is linear and the
logical. Like most things, dreaming improves with practice.
- Making involves mastering the design process, including
skills for devising prototypes. Creativity is nothing without
craft. The act of making something turns imagination into brilliant
products, services and successful businesses.
- Learning is an ongoing process. We must continually
master skills to adapt. We then apply our newfound knowledge
in innovative ways. Learning is enhanced through good moods,
action and emotional experiences. We become masterful through
Do not stop looking for better ways
to do things. If you would like some help I would be happy to
ask some good questions that hopefully will stimulate some good
thinking. The better the thinking, the better the ideas.
Enjoy the rest of the summer and have a GREAT month.
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