The Age Of Resilience

In an online leadership course developed in 2016, I stressed the need for resilience and adaptability. The course, titled A Journey Through the Looking Glass, focused on an emerging world of complexity, uncertainty, and the unknown. We rarely heard the words resilience and adaptability spoken back then, but along came a pandemic to force them into our vocabulary. While our short-term focus obstructed our view, cracks were forming and accumulating in ways that were likely to put a premium on these two traits.

One of those cracks is described in detail in a new book titled The Age of Resilience. Author Jeremy Rifkin was an early influence on my thinking. In his book published in 2014, The Zero Marginal Cost society, he took a fascinating look at economic history. That look backward provided a window into possible economic futures. Now, eight years later, Rifkin positions a transformative vision for how our species will thrive on an unpredictable Earth. Through an organizational lens, I viewed resilience as the primary trait on a strategic foundation of automation and intelligence. Rifkin views it through the lens of the biosphere.

Continue reading

Living In Uncertain Times

The title of an upcoming presentation I will deliver next week is “Adapting to Uncertainty.” It should be very clear by now that we live in extremely uncertain times. I maintain that the world has not been this uncertain since a series of twentieth century catalysts established our modern day. The reason lies in the similarities between our current times and that period decades ago. The world back then experienced uncertainty across multiple domains: science, technology, society, geopolitics, economics, and business. The breadth of change occurring across those domains made the period one of the most turbulent in human history. The uncertainty of our current world did not just emerge, it has been years in the making. As it did in that earlier period, the convergence of multiple forces created the current environment. In studying those forces, our ability to adapt became a central tenet of my thinking, alongside seeing the future and continually rehearsing it.

Continue reading

Disrupting The Way We Travel

Put bluntly: The infrastructure we have in one era isn’t the infrastructure we’ll need in the next.

Devin Liddell – A futurist predicts the 3 biggest disruptions to how we’ll travel

That quote from a recent article can be applied to anything. For example, the institutions created in one era are not suited for the next. In the article, Futurist Devin Liddell looks at what he believes are the three biggest disruptions coming to travel. He begins by looking at the transformative changes existing infrastructure will struggle to support. First, as mentioned in an earlier post on urbanization, seventy percent of the human population is projected to live in cities by 2050. Second, climate change is poised to wreak havoc on cities, ninety percent of which are coastal. Lastly, the phenomenon of blurring boundaries takes the world of physical infrastructure and merges it with the digital domain.

Continue reading

The Journey: Living In Times Of Transition

In the wrap-up to my series titled “A Journey through the Looking Glass”, I will cover why this story is so important to me personally. As was described throughout the series, we live in a time of considerable change. A period that in my view only has a few historical precedents. I could be completely wrong, as I am not a believer in prediction – but the risk is too high to ignore. Through the years, as I have told versions of this story, I sensed that my audience felt no compelling reason to act. They had low levels of urgency when compared to challenges they faced day-to-day. It was that lack of urgency that pushed me towards more effective storytelling to change perception.

Continue reading

Thoughts On Adaptability And Resilience

As mentioned in my recent posts, it was 2017 when I participated in a discussion with TCS CTO Ananth Krishnan and CIO extraordinaire Hassan El Bouhali. An animated video was produced to capture a dialog that was initiated as part of an online leadership course focused on the future. The first post launched segment one, which focused on Seeing the Future. The second described the need to relentlessly Rehearse the Future. Given the number of shifts likely to occur, and the pace at which they arise, our ability to adapt is of utmost importance. Here is the abstract for this series followed by the final segment focused on adaptability and resilience.

ABSTRACT: Perspectives on the Journey

A key message in the Reimagining the Future body of work is that our rapidly emerging future challenges every aspect of how we do business, how we govern and how we live. It will drive significant strategic, tactical and structural changes and fundamentally alter our long-standing beliefs, success strategies and institutional constructs. We’re already seeing it. Just look at companies like Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, Tencent, Google, Alibaba and Facebook. They are rewriting the rules and redefining how value is created and captured, using digitally-centered platforms and ecosystem-enabled business models.

As complexity and pace continue to intensify, uncertainty increases and volatility comes to the forefront. Our daily challenges do not disappear however, making the balance between pragmatism and future thinking critical. I invited two business leaders to share their insights and perspectives on the complexity of this transformative journey and the leadership challenges that emerge.

Resilience Is Top Of Mind These Days

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. That word is suddenly in everyone’s vocabulary. Whether it is individual or organizational, resilience helps us withstand adversity and bounce back. The pandemic can be credited for our heightened awareness, but it was just a matter of time before we all got here. The factors described in my Post yesterday describe why: complexity, pace, volatility, unpredictability, and the unexpected. These factors have always been there, but during specific transformative eras throughout human history, they combined in ways that challenged the existing order.

Continue reading

Digital Learning And Resilient Supply Chains

The final polls from our virtual roundtable hosted by C-Level are included below. You can view a video of the virtual roundtable Here. I posted the results of polls One, Two, Three, and Four earlier. You can participate in those polls by visiting the posts. The fifth and sixth polls launched during the session probed the questions of digital learning and the resilience of supply chains.

Continue reading