Digital Transformation – What’s next ?

Another cornerstone event for The Partnership and our clients.

At an exclusive, invitation-only event, organised by The Bayard Partnership, Belgium, an audience of industry leaders and independent professionals from a wide variety of domains, explored together their personal views of the future with regards ‘Digital Transformation’, not only looking at the technological aspects but also the human and organisational aspects that are so often under played or even ignored.  Apart from the speakers giving their best tips to start preparing for the new world, perhaps the most surprising and interesting aspect of the evening was the results of some of the interactive opinion polling that was fed back by the delegates during the evening.

Harley Lovegrove, The Chairman of The Bayard Partnership opened the session by looking back in history and in doing so, found that at all times when seriously disruptive technology change takes place it has typically taken around 30 years for them to become generic (think of trains, telephones, smartphones, internet etc.)  and therefore, according to his calculations, we should still have approximately another 18 years to get our organisations ready for the major impacts that digitization and self–learning computers are inevitably going to bring about. 63% of the audience agreed.  This should not be seen as complacency but an awakening to the fact that by the time most of our existing management teams have retired, the world as we see it from a business point of view is going to look very different indeed.

The specific proposition Harley challenged the audience with was:

“I believe that because history repeats itself and man has a natural resistance to change, we have 18 digital transition years left to run before self-learning computers bring about exponential change for us and the planet.”

This should give us sufficient time to re-invent our businesses, if we start now!

Harley left the audience with the following tips:

  • Ensure you have sufficient diversity in your business. You need: Thinkers & Pragmatists, Women & Men, Young & Old, People from the East & West & North & South.
  • Empower our people to come together and to look for unification possibilities in everything that surrounds them!
  • The companies that will survive will be those that are able to turn their ideas into reality, quicker and more efficiently than their competitors, therefore: Build outstanding project management teams to make it happen!

“Data is not the new gold, it’s your gold”, Carlo Van Stichelan Associate Shareholder of The Bayard Partnership and an expert in the field of big data focused his presentation on the latest trends on data ownership, especially considering Europe’s new GDPR regulations that come into effect in May of this year, 2018.

Carlo challenged his audience with his view that by 2025 one third of the adult population will have actively reclaimed their data, meaning that they would have some kind of control over it and be earning revenues from its usage.  To this proposition, surprisingly, only 35% of our business audience were in agreement with him. One of the audience putting the low score down to

“against rational logic, most people are lazy when it comes to their own personal data, somehow they don’t really value it and even if they see the possibility of revenue generation it probably will always be too time consuming and complex for them to monetise it, leaving only a minor percentage bothering to do so. We see this in the public’s attitude to switching their energy suppliers to get better deals – most simply do not bother to do so.”

Another delegate suggested that global organisations and governments will most likely lobby the EU and any other international regulatory bodies to remain in the data driving seat.”

Carlo’s proposition:

“I believe that by 2025 one third of the adult population will have actively reclaimed their data, making it their gold and not yours!”

Some comments on Carlo’s presentation:

‘There is so much going on that most people will switch off.  Sharing data will be a background noise’ Versus ‘It will be more than one third and there will be a demand for digital anonymity products and digital footprint cleansing.‘

Carlo left the audience with these two pieces of advice:

  • Think about your data, are you using it correctly? Your clients and employees are trusting you with it.
  • The rules are changing, when it comes to personal data, think of it as C2B and not B2C! So check your business model to avoid losing your gold!

“Turning ideas into products and services”, The highlight of the evening, for many, was the global launch of the latest book from Jürgen Van Gorp’s Phd, Associate Shareholder, The Bayard Partnership Entitled ‘Chagwa’, it is his masterwork where a completely new project methodology that is designed especially for meeting the need for ever increasing speed in turning our business ideas into finished, products or services. Chagwa allows the combined usage of Agile, Waterfall and Change control project methodologies through a new integration layer. Coming with a full set of open source templates and tools.

But more than this, Jürgen explained his theory of ‘Distrans’, a calculatable distance between people and the products or services their company produces or delivers and the issues that increased distance inherently gives.. Simply put, a baker has a Distrans of 1 when he puts the pre-cooked loaf of bread in the oven and his customer a Distrans of Zero when they eat the bread.  While an employee working in the accounts department of the baker may have a Distrans of 10 or more.  The importance being, that for every step we are further from zero, the more complex projects become to manage and the increasing of likelihood of them not having the desired result on the business. A fascinating topic, especiazlly when Jürgen shows how distrans impacts on business and how things can be significantly improved by taking the appropriate steps.

Caption: How ‘Distrans’ impacts on the success of our projects.

Jürgen challenged his audience with the following proposition:

“I believe that the management level in many companies will need to be reorganized, to bring them closer to their company’s products or services.”

Clearly there was an overwhelming percentage of the audience that agreed with him!  Reason for change enough, one presumes?

Some comments on Jürgen’s presentation:

‘How far is product centricity from customer satisfaction and why don t we talk about a customer dynamic project methodology?’

‘I agree. Management needs to get closer to their products but first close to their customers!’.

‘I am so eager to read the book’

Jürgen ended his presentation by sharing the following tip:

While you are moving towards Digital Transformation, you also need to consider changing your organisation. A good approach is by re-organising with the Product in mind. This is especially the case for your project management organisation. I believe that Chagwa can help in achieving that Product focus.

“Decision making in 2030”. Agnese Di Paolo’s, Associate shareholder of The Bayard Partnership focused her key message on the topic that “Over the next decade, Artificial Intelligence won’t replace CEOs, but CEOs who use AI will replace those who don’t!” Taking the audience on a journey through how successful leaders make decisions and the ways that AI will help them to make much better ones.

Agnese challenged her audience with the following challenging proposition:

“I believe that only the companies that will invest as much on Artificial Intelligence as on Human Intelligence will survive the next 20 years.”

62% of the audience agreed with her, with seventeen neutral, it makes one feel that maybe she’s right, after all there is enough evidence to show that us Homo-Sapiens are vulnerable when it comes to making consistently good decisions. “There is always a balance between the Ego and the Soul” says Agnese.

The audience’s reactions and comments were particularly interesting, varying from: ‘Can a machine replace accountability?’ and ‘And now we have A US President who depends on his gut instinct, and look how that is working out…’ to ‘How will Ai deal with EGO and SOUL when not even human beings can do that’ and ‘AI will help us to steer our decisions based on multiple inputs. But it will never create abstract insights like James Maxwell’s laws.’

The voting on Agnese’s proposition:

Agnese ended her presentation with the following advice:

Explore the use of new collective intelligence techniques, such as Mastermind groups, before making big decisions! If you need any guidance as to exactly what this involves – feel free to reach out!

Organizational structures in 2030 and beyond!” given by Katherina SwingsAssociate Shareholder of The Bayard Partnership suggested that more and more people are resisting being put into organizational boxes. Katherina maintained that the future will be circular, in as much that our personal networks will be the driving forces of our earning power. The emphasis being on what you are doing (how you make a difference) and even more importantly ‘with whom you are making a difference’ rather than the traditional question ‘for whom are you working?’

Stating “I believe that by 2030, we will organise ourselves  in over lapping and connected circles, as a result, only 20% of the working population in Europe will have a permanent contract with 1 employerThis challenging vision of our corporations, just 12 years away, polled very mixed reactions from the audience with only a slim majority of 59% agreeing with her.

Some reactions:

‘The circle working style is correct for the tech industry. Other industries are far more conservative’

‘Maybe not that soon but it will happen. Disruption is around the corner.’

‘I agree for service jobs but less for production and physical labour… many people still perfer stability above personal dev.’

‘Circles should be also used in physical world. For instance what about circular team tables rather than rectangular tables…?’

Katherina left her audience with this tip:

Be aware of your own circles, build upon them, nurture them: connect, share and participate!

“How to prepare for this brave new world?” Katrien Lenaerts, Associate of The Bayard Partnership  took on the concept that as employees are replaced by machines and AI technology those that remain will become ever more valuable, that the basic skills that humans are great at will always be their advantage, such as: creativity, people management, service orientation and cognitive flexibility to name but a few.

Her challenging proposition was: ‘“I believe that digital transformation is more about human and organizational transformation than about technology.”  And here she found a significant percentage of the audience agreeing with her at over 64%

Audience comments included:

‘Ray Kurzweil indicated that with all previous revolutions obsolete jobs were replaced by as many new jobs’

‘After 3 industrial revolutions, we are even more struggling with our workload than before. What is different this time?’

‘Humanity has reached his maximum commitment now it’s time for machines to takeover. Probablly they will do better than us!’

Katrien left us with the following piece of advice:

Look at digital transformation holistically.  Build a program that involves your entire enterprise. Identify tasks to do and make them concrete!

The evening was rounded off by a fun presentation by Oliver TulettManaging Partner, Bayard UK who maintained that by working with artificial intelligence, not us for it, nor it for us, our new combined super human intelligence will solve many of the global economic, environmental, political and financial problems that we have today.

Oliver challenge the audience with the following proposition:

“I believe that by working with artificial intelligence, Not us for it, nor it for us, our new combined super human intelligence will solve many of the global economic, environmental, political and financial problems that we have today.”

On this occasion, the audience was completely in the balance, with just 39% actively in agreement with him.

Audience reactions included:

‘‘I love AI and VR but onthe other hand can someone explain me why humans need it. Still after thousands of years of evolution we only need to eat and drink to survive. So what are we exactly chasing for?

‘I hope so but voted neutral’

‘Hug a robot today….’

Oliver left the audience with a smile and a cautionary but upbeat note:

Get used to the idea that robots are coming, learn to feel comfortable with it. There are lots of them already, all around you, and they’re looking for friends…

The speakers

  • Harley Lovegrove, Author, inspirational speaker and Interim manager
  • Carlo Van Stichel, Interim manager / program manager and CRM, data and data privacy expert
  • Jürgen Van Gorp, PhD, Academic, author and ‘hands-on’ program & project manager
  • Agnese Di Paolo, Innovation leader in high-tech with a strong view on product development and decision making
  • Katrien Lenaerts, Interim manager, organizational coach with operational leadership expertise
  • Katherina Swings, HR expert, change manager with a strong focus on people and organizational dynamics
  • Oliver Tulett, People and data security expert with a strong focus and PMO and people and getting things done

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