The Future, This Week 27 Apr 2018: digital business, feeling lonely, making rain the size of Spain
We would like to advise that the following program may contain real news occasional philosophy and ideas that may offend some listeners. This. Is the future this week, uncertain. Business insights, I'm Sandra Peter and, I'm chi Rima. Every. Week we get together and look at the news of the week we discuss technology, the future of business the, weird and the wonderful and things that change the word ok, let's start let's start, today. In the future this week what we learned from digital, business feeling, lonely and making, rain the size of Spain in other news I'm, Sandra, Peter I'm the director of Sydney business insights I'm Karina professor, the business school and leader of the digital strategy search. So. Sandra what happened in the future this week our first, story comes from ventureBeat and it's called a traditional CEO. CIO, relationship. Is changing the, story reports, on Gartner's. Yearly, CEO survey Gartner. Of the Gartner, hype cycle Fame, which we have covered previously on this podcast releases. Every year a report. Surveying. CIOs, on how, their jobs are changing their, latest one which they've released a couple of weeks ago has, found that the pace, of digitization. And technology. Innovation, is fundamentally, changing the role of CIOs, chief. Information officers. From a delivery. Role, that was traditionally. Supporting, executive, functions within the organization. To a business executive function. Itself, this means that CIOs. Are actually, moving, from the back office from, a network. Support, a plumbing, job if you will to, actively, shaping the strategy, that organizations. Have so, no longer being a cost center, focused. On delivery. And cost. Control but, rather focusing. On what, to deliver not just how yeah to me this article hits, close to home because it concerns pretty much how my own discipline, business, information systems has been changing. Over the past decade, information. Systems originally, was all around, systems. Analysis, designing. Of systems, the. Role of IT and organizations. Delivery. Of IT how. You organize, the IT function, where. The relationship. To business has always been, one of alignment. Right so IT would, be a service. Function in organizations. That would deliver, whatever the business needs so it always had, to think in terms of needs, of the, various different. Divisions. In an organization. And how you deliver, for them how you analyze their, needs and then how you drive, adoption, of systems, into those business areas but IT, was traditionally, seen as an. Internal, function, that works for business that has changed markedly, and, that is also reflected, in the way in which, we here at Sydney for example have changed, our curricula. It, is much more about the, frontline, use. Of technology, to for example create. New business models create new services for customers, the. Distinction, between IT, and, business, is rapidly, fading, away and so the notion. Of alignment, for example has become, entirely, unhelpful, now. Because, it still, sort of reaffirms, that split, between IT and business which we see disappearing, very quickly which, is embodied. In that notion of digital, business but many are now saying that this is almost redundant. Because every. Business is now becoming digital and so that. Of course means that the role of the CIO and, IT managers, within organisations, has been changing, rapidly and this is captured, well in the article, in that shift from focus. On efficiency. And focus on effectiveness, to a source. Of innovation, and in a blur of market. Differentiation or of revenue, growth the, article also reports, on a recent, Harvey Nash KPMG.
CIO, Survey, released, last, year that shows that approximately. 62%, of CIOs are now members, of executive. Committees, compared, to only 38%, about, the decade ago and the, likelihood, that CIOs. Are reporting. Directly to, CEOs. Rather than previously. Someone, like the CFO, of the organization. Has risen at about 10 percent a year yes. So what that means is that IT. In, organization, has gone from a cost, center, to an integral, part of business and we. See see I always be, promoted, to CEO level, more. And more as well and so, the success, criteria under, which a CIO, operates. Has gone from IT. Delivery, objectives, more to actually core, business, based measures, and it's also reflected, in organizations. Changing, the descriptor, for the traditional, CIO role so, this week for instance the CIO of Cole's, player, Rowling has gone from being the chief information officer. To now being the chief, innovation. Officer, similarly. Just recently, the CIO of energy. Australia, another, woman incidentally, and whether stan has gone from being, the chief information officer. To being the chief, transformation. Officer, she was in a CIO role previously, with a and that fulfilling similar functions, and when. Anne was asked for instance what is the biggest, change in the role of the CIO that she's experienced, over the last few years she again, reinforces. This the move from the back-office right, to the core of the c-suite and she said that clearly this is not across. The board but she's also seen the number, of CIOs reporting. Directly to the, CEO as reflecting. The importance, of technology to the strategic, agenda for most organizations. Again. That is reflected, in the way in which the discipline, of information, systems has changed, from a focus on the, efficiency, aspects. Of business. Operations, in which IT was often, used to cut, cost and make sure that we deliver whatever, businesses. Needed, effectively. To a much, stronger focus on innovation. Which these, days is increasingly. Technology-based. And a broader understanding of, change, and transformation in, businesses, which comes largely on the back of digital, technologies, these days this, was indeed one of the points, that and whether, Stan the CIO, of energy, Australia, brought up when she was asked what are the major challenges, facing today's, CIOs. The pace at which technology, is developing, and creating new, business opportunity. Was. Perceived as a real challenge, because it was perfectly, possible to get a new startup with a completely, new business, model that they didn't even exist a year ago, she, also mentioned, a couple of other things and one of them was the difficulty, in gaining the confidence, of other people, on the executive. Committee the fact that very few people were trained both in the. Fundamentals. Of successful. Technology enabled, business change and strategy. And that dismayed communication. And influence. A real challenge. Lastly. She mentioned. The fact that there's, a challenge, due to this diversity, of the role the fact that CIOs, are actually one of the most demanding roles, in the c-suite because they need to have both a whole, of business, perspective. As well, as a technology. Perspective so. Not only thinking about operational. Excellence, or risk management or, value, provision, but increasingly, whole of business execution, of strategic. Opportunities. That would push forward the business agenda and it is here that we want to bring in a couple more stories, that, made headlines this. Week, because. Both, Netflix. CEO Reed Hastings, and. Amazon. CEO Jeff Bezos were. In the media talking. About their management practices. And so we thought it's a good idea to actually look, at how, businesses. That are digital, at their core. Manage. Their operations, and the values, that they embody and quite. Surprisingly the. Way in which both these companies, are, organized. Sent. Us very much around people. And the way decisions, are being made, then.
The Use of digital technology or. Data. Per se so let's take a look so, one such company is Netflix. And in a recent interview in an article, from a couple of days ago Reed, Hastings Netflix. CEO said, that there are actually, months, when he doesn't have to make a single, decision and, I quote from the quartz article I pride myself on, making as few decisions as possible, a quarter, sometimes. I can go a whole quarter, without making any decisions, so, what he's obviously talking about is not the absence, of decision. Making but actually the way in which the CEO has empowered everyone, in the organization. To make decisions, so this delegation. And trust. In the ability of, people to, make their own this without, having to revert back upstairs, is, what he's talking about in the absence of top-down. Micromanagement. These, ideas of, responsibility. Appear, very prominently. In Netflix's. Often quoted culture. Deck and I. Quote we believe that people thrive on being trusted, on freedom, on being able to make a difference we, are dedicated, to constantly, increasing, employee freedom, to fight the Python, of process, and. That contrasts. Markedly, with, Hastings. Previous. Experience. In other organizations. Where he says that the. Problem often was that we were trying to dummy-proof the, system and eventually only dummies, wanted, to work there, the, idea that bureaucracies. Try to control, everyone, and therefore, becomes stifling. And, discourage. Initiative, intrinsic. Motivation, and local. Decision-making, so. What this translates into at, Netflix. Is no. Set rules for instance, on expense. Accounts, or on travel, a completely. Open leave policy, test as much holiday, or as little as you want and no. Spending, ceilings on contract, signings, the, idea, is to have good, judgment, not good administration. In other words anything. That would freak someone in charge of compliance, in large organizations. Out of their shoes, this, means that they've actually managed. To implement, what, his, co-founder mark, Randolph, and him envisaged. 20 years ago an organization. That would run with no process, but, also no chaos, and this is, enabled. Also by the fact that everybody gets access to all of the information the. Moment people have access to the data and information throughout, the organization. They, are both empowered, and have a sense of responsibility. This, was reflected in an interesting incident, last, year that was shared, with a group of our global executive. MBAs on a site visit to Netflix. In California. This year Netflix. Had just entered the European market and had gone into France and it. Had very poorly dubbed, one, of its us movies into French which, meant that the next day employees, in France will - a shitstorm on social media making, fun of Netflix. Making fun of their ability, of their cultural, awareness and so on the. Local social media manager, part of a very small team of people working, at that point in France had, to make a very quick decision about, how, to respond, to what was escalating.
To Be a PR crisis, for Netflix in Europe at that point now, the manager, had decided, that a good idea would be to create a self-deprecating. Video, of the Netflix CEO, poorly. Dubbed in French apologizing. For the mistake and he, did what no manager, would probably, do he consulted. With his own team of people who had the opportunity to challenge the idea another principle, from Netflix, farm for descent everybody. Thought it's a great idea tried to get the hold of the CEO of Netflix to, see if this could fly couldn't. Manage to do that in time so, made the decision, at the local level to release a video of their CEO poorly, dubbed in French apologizing. The. Whole campaign, was a success, and he woke up to congratulations. From the top management. So. What this anecdote, shows is, both. The, way in which employees in Netflix are, used to taking responsibility. For, issues. That confront them but, also the, way in which they're empowered to actually act on this and zooming. Out and looking at the bigger picture this, is nothing else than the. Agile, principles at. Work now, agile, is often misunderstood, and associated. With anything, goes chaos. And the ability to just be flexible and do everything. At a whim when. In fact agile is actually, a very, disciplined, set, of practices. That rests, on some fundamental, principles, that can be applied to, organizations. More broadly beyond, the software, development context, where they originated, and, they. Fundamentally, rests, on empowerment. Of local. Teams, and locals decision-making, trust. In the ability of people. Communication. Information, transparency, over rigid. Processes. And a. Strong, belief in the, quality, of what we do. And timely. Delivery so. True. To the edge' principle, the, manager, new Netflix example, not only took responsibility and, was empowered, to do so but also acted, quickly and, delivered. And didn't actually wait and slowdown, to check for, approval. As any other organizational. Form would have demanded. Clearly. There. Was another digital, business in the news this week that we might want to turn to as another organization. That embodies, principles, of digital, development, really at the broader, organizational. Level Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos during. An on-stage interview, at the George Bush presidential. Center on, Friday and Business. Insider reported. On this a couple of days ago mentioned. His notorious, habit, of sending his executives, emails, with a single.
Character. Jeff. Bezos still, has an email, address Jeff, at amazon.com. Which he uses as a way to stay close to Amazon, customers, which actually, have an opportunity to email him directly. On this address, to raise, any concerns, to, ask any questions, make suggestions, for improvement, and so on this enables, Jeff Bezos to actually stay quite close to the customers, of what otherwise would, be an extremely, large organization. With many, many layers between an executive and the, day-to-day customer. Service that the company provides again. This embodies, one of the, fundamental. Agile. Are also Design Thinking, principles. Of staying. Close to the customer, and rigorously. Trying. To design, for, the. World of the customer, and so here we have a company, where the CEO himself. Is still in contact with the end consumer and will. Do everything. Possible. To, actually be on top of customer. Issues this, enables, the organization, to have different. Type of insights, into the type, of data that they gather so, what typically happens is, that an email, will come in outlining, an issue. Jeff, will forward, that email with a question, mark to the, executive. Who is in charge of the specific, area that is being highlighted, in the email and actually. What often, happens to these email is that the. Anecdotal. Data that, they might get directly, from a customer, sometimes, disagrees, with the, data that they have within the organization and, make no mistake Amazon. Uses lots of metrics, diesels, explain that, they have data and metrics on everything, are we delivering on time in. What city to what kind of houses, whether. The packages, have too much air in them wasteful, packaging so they basically, collect, data on everything but he says that the. Thing I have noticed is when the anecdotes. That he gets from customers, and the, data disagree. The, anecdotes, are usually, right there's something, wrong with the way you are measuring it so what we want to highlight is the way in which these businesses. Rigorously. Work with data, but, that that data is always, embedded. In, a, larger story in human judgment, and a fundamental, understanding of, where the data is coming from so, data becomes a material, for, human, judgement and decision making but often, with the caveat, that the. World is changing, and we might actually have to not only iterate. On the way in which we produce our, service. In our products, but also what we measure in how we work with data. Which. Contrasts. Markedly with more, traditional, organizations. That have rigorous, compliance. Processes, where data, often, takes. On a life of its own which actually brings us back to, organizations. That might not fundamentally. Have a digital. Core such as Netflix. Or Amazon and, takes us back to the changing role of CIOs. Where it becomes much more about the execution. Of strategic, opportunities. About. Enabling, innovation. About enabling, change from. A technology perspective a, whole of business, perspective, rather, than just looking at operational. Excellence or efficiency, or risk management which. Requires, and, this is what we get from these examples a rethinking. Of the way in which the organization itself. Operates, to make the organization more, responsive. To disruptive. Markets, and enable, the organization to. Absorb, new technologies. To build new skills. And to be more innovative which, can be achieved through embodying. Those agile, principles at. The expense, of more, rigid, process, control, narrow, KPIs, and the kind of micromanagement. That we find in more traditional, organizational. Setups and, it, also requires. A, rethinking, of the role, of data, not, as an opposite, to human judgment, and intuition, but as fundamentally. Embedded. In a process, that sent, us around empowered, individuals. Let's. Have a look at our second, story, for today and our second story again centers, around people. In organizations. And it comes from the Harvard, Business Review, and, it's titled the painful, cycle of employee loneliness, and how it hurts companies, obviously. Loneliness. Has been studied, for a very long time by psychologists. But it has usually been studied, in romantic. Relationships, or social, lives or family lives and what, this article does is start. Reporting on research that is being done around loneliness. In the workplace so, just, to clarify loneliness. Is defined as the complex, set of feelings, that occurs where intimate. And social, needs are not adequately, met and we. Want to stress here that we are talking about a quality of a person's relationships. Not the quantity of relationships. That they have so, what the authors are trying to understand, is how people, experience, loneliness in, their jobs how, does it affect their work how does it affect.
Their Ability to be a productive, employee, or their relationships, they have to other people at work and therefore, ultimately, what. Are the organizational. Implications for. The business more broadly the, research they report, on has recently been published in the Academy. Of management journal and, the. Research finds. That the person's feeling of loneliness does indeed relate to lower job, performance, and these people are also perceived, by co-workers, to be less, committed, to the organization or, less approachable. But, more importantly. The, study has found that loneliness, is not just an employee problem, but it equally, influences, colleagues, as well as performance. Outcomes, so, organizations. Should start tackling, the problem of loneliness, more seriously, the. Article says that when, social, ties begin, to fray among colleagues, then. Willingness, to communicate, and collaborate, decreases. Feelings. Of trust decline. And, therefore. The entire culture, and ultimately the work performance, and output of teams and the organization, more broadly suffer, so I think it's important, we first take a step back and have a look at the issue of loneliness, because awareness, about loneliness and the problems that it causes has, really, been on the increase over. The last year in, the UK Prime, Minister Theresa. May earlier, this year actually appointed, a Minister for loneliness, this came on the back of a report, last year which, highlights, the fact that actually, loneliness, is one of the sad realities, of modern, life and a huge challenge, for society and, even though we know the numbers 40 percent of people, in the US for instance and up to sixty percent of the people in Europe. Suffer from loneliness 50, percent of CEOs, actually, report, very high levels of loneliness. It didn't quite occur to us how big, and significant, this problem, is and we. Want to take you back to an article, in the Harvard Business Review in. 2017. Titled. Work and the loneliness epidemic. And this was an article by the US, Surgeon General which. Had a quote that got us really thinking, about the size and the magnitude, of this problem and it, turns out that, loneliness. And weak, social, connections, are associated, with a reduction, in life span that, is the same as that caused by smoking 15, cigarettes, a day and, it's, greater, than that associated. With obesity. So, just to state that again loneliness. Is associated. With the same outcomes. In. Terms of a person's, longevity. As, 15. Cigarettes a day or, the effects of obesity so, these are truly sobering. Stats, which should. Put loneliness, front-and-center. On anyone's. Agenda, beyond. The appointing, of a, dedicated minister, and the. Article, and HBR. Raises. This as a, fundamental. Problem that organizations. Will have to grapple with going forward, so, whilst loneliness. We said can reduce tasks performance. Or make, you less creative, or, less. Able to make. Good decisions, loneliness. It seems it's also associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular, disease, of, depression. Of anxiety, of dementia. And guess what we spend most of our time at, work so actually, probably, companies. Are the best place, to at, least have part of the solution, to addressing the loneliness, epidemic. It is this or where. We spend most of our time that actually can be involved in finding. A solution so we, talked a lot about the future of work on the, podcast and. Loneliness. Seems to be something that has slipped through the cracks and is something that at least we, haven't talked, about yet but I do think we need to reflect on where, does loneliness, come from how does it arise how is it tied to modern, ways of working what's, your take on this one, reason might lie, in the fact that we're, seeing the, millennial, generation come. Into work and it turns out and there was another story in The Guardian last week that Millennials, felt lonelier. Than other, groups of adults and these people are coming into the workforce but it must also have something to do with the way our, organizations. Are structured these days with, the time, we actually get to spend in different, teams and with different people also, with the fact that we're changing our jobs much more often than we used to we no longer have, a job for life but believe, the number was something, like 7 or 11 different.
Careers, Over our lifespan, so, the HBR article itself contains, a hint and they talk about the. Quality, versus, quantity of. Social, relationships. So. In that respect I think we see something in the workplace that mirrors, the, way in which we engage. With relationships. More broadly people, tend to have many, more contacts. These days made. Through social media long. Lists, of friends. Or followers but. They spend less and less time building. The, kind of long-lasting friendships. And more meaningful relationships. That take, weeks. And months to develop which. Is reflected. In the way in which modern, careers, develop, where. People switch, jobs sometimes. Every year every couple of years where they collect. Many, contacts. Along the way but never spend, enough, time to, actually engage. With people in the workplace in the kind of friendships, that previous, generations, might have built in their careers where they would work for an organization. Sometimes an entire lifetime, so. I think there's something in the way in which work has become much more transactional. Than previously. And that's most prominently, embodied, in the. Rise of the gig economy and, the shared economy where. We do not actually have any work. Relationship. As such where work is entirely, transactional. So, maybe the, feeling, of loneliness is, a product, of the way in which work itself has become increasingly. Deinstitutionalized. So, I do think we need to take this into account when we discuss, the future of work and new models for how to organize, work because we tend to focus on many. Of the benefits and some of the known downsides. Of things, like the gig economy but, loneliness, and the negative effects that loneliness, has for, businesses, and for organizations, and not just the individual, hasn't. Actually featured, in this discussion yet and that's, an interesting point to dwell on a little bit more because we. Really, haven't focused, nearly, as much effort on, providing, better connections. At work or enabling, people to know each other better as we, have spent for instance reducing. The use of tobacco banning, smoking, from work or as, much as we've spent on, addressing. Obesity, and, cardiovascular. Disease, with the whole range of programs from, going, upstairs at work to, exercising. At work to gyms at work to, yoga. And other things that would encourage healthy, physical, behaviors, which, brings us to the fundamental, questions, of who should have the.
Responsibility. To actually find solutions, to these problems because, as much as we can think maybe the health care system, has an important, role to play or government, has an important, role to play and indeed. The Surgeon, General's, comments point, to the fact that they clearly have an important, role to play in, understanding. The impact understanding, who and how they're affected and what types of interventions might, work where. Those interventions. Will be implemented, and whose responsibility that, is is something, that we haven't discussed yet so, the places where people become lonely, to begin with companies, organizations, the world of work in, particular have, the power to address, this, challenge whether, it's connections. Among employees, or among, the more loosely coupled, networks, of partners, or clients or individuals, in the broader. So. Rethinking. The way in which HR. For example, understands. Its mandate, rather than looking, after, the individual, development, of, people. In their careers, a. Development. Of the organization, of fabric, as a whole and a balancing, out of the focus on relationships. With individual, skills I think, we leave it here I think it's important, that we raise this and we will probably, hear more of this topic let's go to our future, bytes short, stories, and Sandra, what have you learned this week, my. Short story is from Popular, Mechanics and. It's, titled China is building a massive network, of chemical, rain makers, the. Story reports, on the fact that China, is actually trying to manufacture, rain. They, are looking, to create 10, billion, tons of rainfall, in the Tibetan, Plateau and for. That the China aerospace, Science, and Technology Corporation a government, corporation. Is building. Hundreds. And hundreds, of furnaces, that, will release, silver. Iodide allowing. Vapor to condense and unplowed to form and this, is happening in Tibet, there are hundreds, of these furnaces each.
One Of them being, able to generate rain on a five kilometer radius. Which. Means that the surface that they could now create rain on is about three times the size of Spain, this. Was technology initially, developed, for defense. So weather. Manipulation, for defence purposes but. It would now be used to create, rain, for the biggest river, systems. In China, it. Raises some interesting questions, as, to, the side. Effects, of releasing. Silver, iodide in the atmosphere, what goes up must come down, and, speaking. Of scale this 10, billion, tonnes of rainfall. Would also have to come from rain. That would have fallen somewhere, else so some area, on the globe would be getting that much less, rain, so. This sounds to me like more, than just an experiment. This sounds, to me like a broad. Scale application. Of a. Technology, that most. Of us thought was just science fiction. So definitely want to keep, an eye on I imagine, more and more of these types of projects, will go up in various parts, of the world with, maybe really, unpredictable, consequences, to. Our weather. Systems, what, was your fraud, story well, mine is much more pedestrian. But also. Slightly creepy, it's from the Los Angeles Times, and it's again about Amazon with. In-car delivery, Amazon, is testing, how much privacy, you will give up even, as backlash, rocks Facebook, in-car, delivery, so. The. Idea is that you, might not be home no. One might be home you might not want to give. Amazon. Access, to your electronic, doorbell, at home but, you might have a late model Volvo, Chevrolet. Buick, GMC or. Karaoke. Vehicle. Which guess, what the, car manufacturers. Can, actually open via. The cloud so here's how it works you will give Amazon permission, for, the driver to put the delivery, into your car trunk the. Amazon driver will be informed. Via GPS, of the precise location. Of your vehicle, they will drive there and the Amazon, app that the driver has on their device will, communicate via. The cloud with, the car manufacturers. Cloud who will send, an over-the-air. Signal. Which will open the, boot, of the car for. The package to be put in now, we've previously learned, from Tesla for example, that they were able to increase the battery capacity over-the-air. When, people needed to outrun, Hurricane, Elma, and this. Relies, on a similar, technology now. To me the, most significant. Insight, from this article was not that Amazon. Obviously, would find yet. Another way to make it more convenient to shop from them but, that car, manufacturers. Can actually, open your car, via, electronic. Signal, do. Things come to mind here one is that Amazon, might look to employ, some of the people we spoke about in a story last year where biker gangs were actually, hacking, cars. Hacking, jeeps and getting into them some really good skills there that they might want to employed and by, the car manufacturers. All together second. Is this. Seems like a brilliant, service, in case people actually, lose the keys to their cars it's actually, good to know that there is a way to get. Into your car and maybe make it all the way home without your car keys yeah. You. Or someone, else who might be, able to hack into the car they could not only drive home with your car but, could take your new Amazon shoes, in the process, as well what, could go wrong with this story and that's, all we have time for today, but we want to leave you with this little announcement for. Those of you in Sydney, come and see us at Vivid, Sydney on the 16th, of June at the Museum. Of Contemporary Art, all the details will be in the show notes for a special, panel on mummy can I marry my avatar. We're going to be looking at the ethical, and societal implications, of. Living with digital, humans, so you can join Mike, Seymour Rachel, Botsman Kai, and myself to, witness a live interactive, photorealistic. Computer-generated. Digital, person, right there on stage but, also to go, a bit in depth into the long term ethical, and social implications. That, will face us all once the distinctions. Between humans. And, digital. Avatars. Digital, agents, becomes, blurred. You are going to replace me with Siri aren't you Siri. You can replace Kai can't you. Well. That settles it anyway. Tickets are free but they're. Selling fast so. Registration. Link in the show notes thank, you for listening thanks. For listening, this. Was the future this week made possible by the Sydney business insights team and members of the digital disruption research, and every, week right here with us our sound editor megan wedge who makes a sound good and keeps us honest party, music was composed and played life on a set of garden hoses by lindsay pond, can subscribe, to this podcast on iTunes, stitcher Spotify.
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