Fast Forward To 2025: The Future Of Disruptive Technology

By: Meet in Place content team

“2020 is a write-off”, says Charlie Oliver, Founder and CEO of Tech 2025 and Served Fresh Media, as she urges us to educate our employees and make them more data-literate

If you’ve been living under a rock these last few months, here is a newsflash: the world is going through a major disruption. And we mean major. It may appear frightening and too intense to handle, but here is also where the opportunity lies. Just ask Charlie Oliver, Founder and CEO of Tech 2025 and Served Fresh Media, a digital media marketing agency. “Tech 2025 events focus around the idea that we are not prepared for major disruption”, says Oliver, who leads this community and platform for professionals to learn and discuss the next wave of disruptive and emerging technologies and their effect on society. “We have to prepare for this, because the changes are going to be massive. People need to understand and feel like they can participate in the upcoming change as well as make money from it and succeed. Most organizations have been lagging about digital transformation and really getting people to participate in the discussion and the change, they can’t do that anymore”.

The global pandemic has accelerated the transformation that Oliver and her colleagues have been gearing up for. Now that the majority of the workforce is at home, it is becoming clear that technologies like AI, machine learning and automation are more relevant than ever.

Is this the disruption you have been anticipating?

“The disruption has already been happening but we have been distracted and haven’t been paying attention. When we’re working and making money, doing whatever we want to do, we can ignore a lot and double down on the behaviours that have made us not as prepared for this as we should have been. Companies whose initiative is preparing themselves for the future have been hearing about this for a while. But we still have an opportunity to get it right, we’ve been given a time out”.

“Focus on the new future, because the old future doesn't exist any more. It’s hard to let go of the past but the quicker that a company, or executives, acknowledge that the old future doesn't exist any more, the more they will be in a position to define the new future and the strategy that they need.”

How can companies quickly adapt and survive?

“The definition of innovation should be ‘letting go of the past’. You can’t innovate if you can’t let go of the past that’s hindering you from seeing the real potential in front of you. Focus on the new future, because the old future doesn’t exist anymore. Companies based their strategies, digital transformations, automation, on the reports from a year, or even three months ago, that told them what the forecast for the future should be. That is gone. It’s hard to let go of the past but the quicker that a company, or executives, acknowledge that the old future doesn’t exist anymore, the more they will be in a position to define the new future and the strategy that they need.”

What is the best way for organisations to implement changes and new technologies?

“Technology means nothing if you don’t have employees who understand how to think through a crisis, to figure out the correct use of these technologies, to anticipate problems with them and even when to pull the plug on them when needed. You’ve got to do bottom up innovation as well as top down, you need to make sure that everyone is participating in understanding these technologies and talking about them. Employees are the beginning and the end of every business, not the technology. This is the time to educate your employees. 2020 is a write-off. For 2020 the entire goal should be to get your employees up to speed. Not just with technologies, or learning how to code, but how to solve problems. You could have an employee sitting at home right now who knows how to code, but that’s not enough, you need them to know how to identify problems and think through them.  Make sure that every single employee is data-literate. There is going to be so much data coming out of this about Covid-19, social data, employees need to understand how data works, how to analyze it, visualise it, and critique it, and employers need to help them get there.”
“Technology means nothing if you don’t have employees who understand how to think through a crisis, to figure out the correct use of these technologies, to anticipate problems with them and even when to pull the plug on them.”

It seems difficult to make such drastic changes right now.

“There is a lot of underestimating and under-utilising of human potential. Everybody has to be pushed out of their comfort zone. The challenge right now is to create a culture of innovation and creativity that will match what is coming. Management needs to have a real conversation on how much they can allow themselves to change, and give employees the freedom to change as well. They need to give employees more autonomy to explore who they are, and then support them through that. Give them challenges that they can realistically meet but that also asks more of them than they have in the past.”

Finally, how will these changes affect the way we consider face-to-face meetings?

“Wherever we find ourselves, it will be better. This is temporary, even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it. We have to look at what’s happening now as a necessity in order for us to understand our limitations and define our value beyond what we traditionally had, face-to-face meetings. The limited contact that we have right now will force us to think and use other faculties that were dormant for too long. We took the idea of coming together for granted, and now we’re figuring out these remote tools in a way that we never have. I do believe that when we do meet again it will be more efficient, more concise, this can help free up space and time, even make entrepreneurs out of people who might have not seen themselves in an entrepreneurial way.”

About the Author:

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