Peter Hinssen shares concrete advice on how organizations must adapt to survive, how leaders need to focus on organizational culture and how schools need to inspire learning.
Peter Hinssen is an entrepreneur, technologist and one of the most sought-after thought leaders on the impact of digital on business and society. He is the author of the best-seller, The Day After Tomorrow.
According to Hinssen, we are at a major crossroads of change where technology is colliding with politics, economy, geopolitics, society and changing everything we know. Core technologies have become the battlefield of a new geopolitical scene where these technologies will play out. China, for example, has been creating incredible waves of innovation that shows that the future will be miraculous. The HIV-resistant twins born in China promises a future free of HIV. He states, "It is a privilege to live in this age of change.”
"Change is happening so fast that we don’t remember what happened in the past, yesterday, today or tomorrow. We need a better lens to examine and adapt for change as the visibility getting smaller and smaller."
Everyone talks about change, disruption and digitization - it’s becoming boring. Digital was the norm but in a world that is constantly changing, the new normal is never normal.
Digital is Over, We Are at the Beginning of Cognitive
Reinvention is the key to adapting to the change and when the world is moving at increasingly faster rates, linear thinking does not work. Corporate myopia is getting shorter as unknowns are increasing. Hinssen says that very few companies can become a unicorn - they should aim to become a phoenix.
Companies should be reinventing themselves in the face of change to emerge stronger. Hinssen warns that the timing of reinvention is key and that organizations must reinvent while they are still growing and before they reach their peak.
Once we see what information and intelligence can do when automated, it is an exciting but cautious time ahead. The cognitive era will see how information is turned into intelligence and this intelligence will be the main force of change. However, he says, there is also a huge gap between the potential and the reality, where we are both overhyping technology and underestimating it.
What is the Day After Tomorrow?
Hinssen is interested in the amount of time corporate leaders spend on today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Today includes the number of unread emails in our inbox, tomorrow is the budget. The day after tomorrow is new ideas and new technologies that can change the rules of the game - which is the most crucial.
“Don’t forget the shit of yesterday. This is what creates negative value. Consider the balance between the day after tomorrow and the things that happened yesterday.
How You Can Prepare For the Day After Tomorrow
Hinssen asserts that it is important to be customer-centric rather than focusing solely on the product – and he also recommends companies to run more like platforms. Additionally, he focuses on encouraging the disruptive aspect in a work culture where positive trouble makers and frustrated enthusiasts add value by pushing for change and fight the bureaucracy.
There is a fundamental transition, if traditional companies want to survive from a static structured world into the age of fluidity, it is important to look at work organization. He cautioned that employees don’t want to be treated as just parts of an HR chain, they want to be part of an engaging network where purpose is more important than the paycheck.
"If companies want to keep engaging the next generation of talent, the focus needs to be not only on the skill or mindset but also the heart set."
Who Should Take Responsibility?
That the social implications of technology will be one of the big debates in our future, he is certain. While many technologies will destroy jobs, they will also create jobs. The challenge will be the gap between existing and required skills. He feels that organizations and leaders will have to step up and take responsibility for re-skilling. This corporate-led function will only be possible if companies come together as a network.
Hinssen concludes his presentation by stressing the importance of focusing on the slowest moving part of society: education. Kids of today are the talent of the next generation, they need to be inspired. Unfortunately, there is a huge and growing gap between technology and education. In an age where technology and society are being reborn every day, we must switch from simple schooling to inspirational learning to raise innovators and forward-thinkers.
Interested in learning more from Peter Hinssen? Tune in to the Future Forecast podcast with Isabelle Ringnes and Peter Hinssen:
Text: Mahreen Durrani // Photo: Kjetil Fredriksen