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Technology will make or break us

At the UNLEASH conference held in the heart of Paris, late October, one of the leading topics was disruption. The discussion addressed the desire for disruption versus fear of change. If we don’t move, we fall behind. We either go with the flow or we miss the flow. Opportunity and responsibility are key.

How good are we at picking up signals?

Peter Hinssen, Co-Founder & Partner at Nextworks, focused on the day after tomorrow, on the importance of being equipped with the right comprehension. There has never been a more exciting time to work within Human Resource, was the consensus at the conference, which brought together an international crowd of innovators, communicators, disrupters, and up-and-comers. Needless to say, adapting to a growth mindset, integrating new structures – if structure at all – embracing design thinking and letting go of old value systems and strategy formulas from our ancient schoolbooks encourages a healthy, transformative discussion.

Intelligent species 

We used to consider whether we were allowed to use our calculator in school. This is kind of where we were at.  “Digital platforms are the new economic reality and we are feeding them. First technology treats us nicely”, Peter Hinssen confesses, “and we are feeding the beasts”, he smiles. “In the beginning the beasts are nice and comfy, eventually, they register and then they become beasts. We are now at a cold war”, he continues. “If we torture the machines it is going to backfire” he adds with a smile. We need to keep up the pace.  

How good are we at collecting and turning data into useful information? How good are we at connecting with real people? 

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change

The ability for human species to adapt to change in the history of mankind forms a repetitive pattern. “We are extremely good at change, though the intelligence needed is crazy. Our visibility is constantly being challenged, biology is being disrupted, technology is changing society. We are privileged to witness it all”, Hinssen further emphasizes. “We are in a new era. What if we are only half way through the journey?” he questions.

We are at a cold war 

Technology is changing society, technology is disrupting social interaction, technology is disrupting the old concept of communication, technology is disrupting the economy – and artificial intelligence has not got to its full potential. You could say the new normal has become the never normal.

When addressing the issue of change, we need to consider the willingness to adapt to change, the ability to adapt to change, hence the intelligence to adapt to change. “We are standing on a crossroad and we are lucky bastards to be part of this”, Hinssen stresses, as if he was an excited schoolboy. “We are in the beginning of something really new, and we are still at a very early stage. The new gives us empowerment, and we are privileged to be part of this”, he continues in a powerful tone of voice. The models of strategy from our school books are outdated, “it is the shit of yesterday, we have to clean up”, Hinssen stresses sarcastically.

Not knowing is the only way of knowing 

“Not knowing is the thing you have to nurture. If you have no clue what you are doing, you are on the right track”, Hinssen further points out. “We have to start being comfortable doing what we have never done before and being comfortable doing what we don’t yet know. This is the digital era, it is an opportunity to re-innovate ourselves, by trying, failing and learning. This is the new form of value creation”, Hinssen suggests. 

I never fail, I either learn or win 

We need to evaluate both the skillset, the mindset as well as the heart-set. Technology is going to destroy jobs and we may decide whether this as a sign of scarcity or abundance. Technology is disruptive at its very core, and we have to nurture the sense of not knowing the next step. We need to feel at ease with the sense of not knowing. Today, believing we know is just arrogance and ignorance. Critically trust will be absolutely fundamental. 

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