Feed aggregator

Claim your seat at our upcoming webinar – Tomorrow’s World Today

TomorrowToday - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 15:42
Access TomorrowToday’s most requested keynote presentation when Graeme Codrington hosts our upcoming webinar and uncovers the disruptive forces shaping the world today. Learn how to respond in order to face the future with confidence.

This session looks at the future, and at the new attitudes and actions required from your people. The webinar focuses on how your people and leaders can respond, by understanding the nature of disruptive change, looking beyond the next horizon for these trends, getting the whole team involved, experimenting more and confronting limiting orthodoxies.

It’s both eye-opening and practical and will inspire your team to face the future with confidence and excitement. Space is limited and because this is one of our keynote presentations that we normally charge for, the replay will only be available in our Academy. You don’t want to miss this live webinar!

The post Claim your seat at our upcoming webinar – Tomorrow’s World Today appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

Getting Started in Digital Money

TomorrowToday - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 09:00

The next few years will see dramatic changes to the way we use money, transact, transfer value, bank and insure ourselves and our businesses. These changes are driven by Financial Technologies (FinTech) but will affect every business in the world. As the world changes, money changes.

Throughout history, our use of money has evolved, from barter to coins, from banknotes to credit cards. Each of these changes in money coincided with a significant shift in the economy and world history. We’re seeing such a shift again as we head into the digital age.

Getting started

There are two main Digital Money platforms gaining traction today. Ethereum with its associated cryptocurrency called Ether, and Blockchain with its associated currency called Bitcoin.

Bitcoin has moved into common language as a generic term for all cryptocurrencies (much like Google has become the synonym for Internet search regardless of the engine used) – but, there are many types of cryptocurrencies out there.

There are two main ways to invest in digital money, both with a few granular levels below them.

For both of these options you will need to download and activate a digital wallet. This will allow you to save and sell the coin you own. Most of the best wallets have facilities that will enable you to get a debit card linked to the wallet. This debit card will enable you to transact in the ‘real’ world using your coin at whatever the relevant exchange rate is at the moment of payment.

  1. Mine coin
  2. Buy coin

 

Mining Bitcoin

There are three common ways to do this.

  1. Buy your own machine which you physically keep
  2. Buy a machine that is hosted on your behalf in a server farm mine
  3. Buy a portion of processing power in a server farm mine without owning an actual device.

Options 2 and 3 are different forms of what is called Cloud Mining.

Option 1 – Buy your own machine

The safest and simplest way to mine Bitcoin, but also the most expensive and least profitable. You have the actual device so the only real risk is if your wallet is hacked or if your device is stolen.

You can buy mining hardware by going onto Amazon and ordering it – it is that simple.

Different performance parameters in the machines influence the price – those able to process more data and earn coin quicker are more expensive than slower ones. You can even buy a USB stick that will use your desktop or laptop to mine for you.

There are two catches here – mainly linked to energy consumption.

Catch 1 – Every 4 years it becomes exponentially more difficult to mine coin so the lower the specification of your machine the less possible it becomes to mine coin profitably.

Catch 2 – The cost of energy (and the heat and noise related to having a machine run 24/7) makes it less likely that you are going to be able to generate coin cheaper than the energy needed to run the machine doing the mining.

These two catches are directly connected to the value of coin, so it may be a losing equation today, but a highly profitable one tomorrow. This option is most affected by the fluctuations in coin value relative to energy cost.

Option 2 – Buy a machine hosted in a server farm

The intermediate option with regards to risk.

You own the actual device so you are able to log in remotely and track its progress and issue any instructions related to the coin you mine. But, it is not hosted in your physical presence and the risk of the hosts of the server farm mine absconding with your device is real.

Most of the server farms are physically hosted in cold climates like Alaska, Canada, Russia, or Northern Europe. They are also placed in environments where there is access to uninterrupted energy that is cheap. Both of these reasons is why there are few legitimate mines physically hosted on the African continent or the Asian sub-continent.

Option 3 – Rent processing power from a server farm

This is the cheapest way to mine coin as you don’t need to outlay any actual capital purchasing hardware. The hardware is owned by the host and you buy/rent processing power. When the rental expires you gain the coin earned while you “managed” the device but nothing else. Should you wish to earn more coin you need to rent more space.

The cost-effectiveness of this model is based on its fractional basis. In some cases, it is possible to even “sub-let” processing power with a number of others and to split the generated coin proportionally.

Most of the hosts will levy an administrative/hosting/leasing fee which will impact your profitability but is understandable at this budget/entry level where no hardware costs are incurred by you.

Cloud Mining Warning

There have been instances of websites being set up positioning themselves are cloud mining sites, but where they have run a little more like Ponzi schemes with no evidence that they ever actually mined coin.

At the beginning, people get paid out – generally from the fees paid by others…. providing an air of legitimacy. Then overnight the site goes dark, payments stop, and another site pops up looking eerily similar.

If you are going to rent space on any device that you cannot log into and access yourself (and even if this is the case but the device isn’t in your physical custody) make sure to do research beforehand to ensure the space is legitimate.

One of the awesome things about coin mining is that the returns are stable able to significantly outstrip traditional investment returns… so, don’t dismiss high returns – just make sure to benchmark them against the appropriate and relevant peers, not traditional investments.

Buying coin

If you just want to have cryptocurrencies as part of a diversified portfolio then it is probably not worthwhile going through the process of mining your own coin. In fact, mining will probably work against this objective as it will not allow sufficient diversification options, as you will be locked into one or two options.

There are several exchanges that will allow you to buy coin with real-world cash. It is on these exchanges where the miners move their coin and where the value of the coin is established. The value fluctuates as much as it does because it is driven by a 100% supply-demand dynamic.

If you want to just own coin then you are able to manage your risk profile here, in much the same way that you manage any other commodity, equity, or asset you may own.

For example – Ether has a significantly lower price than Bitcoin, but Ethereum as the underlying infrastructure that supports it has more users than Blockchain. But Blockchain has more large corporate entities looking at using it, where Ethereum is a platform that is populated by many smaller more entrepreneurial entities…

Then there is Billion coin, and other cryptocurrencies (and even one or two developing nations who have created a hybrid Digital currency that exists alongside their fiat currency, but which is not technically a cryptocurrency because it is tied to their local economy). Basically, the purchase and owning of cryptocurrencies as an asset class needs the same due diligence as any other investment within a diversified portfolio.

Of all of the options listed above purchasing coin has the lowest barrier to entry from a cost perspective, is the easiest from a risk management perspective, but potentially the least profitable (although there may be times when owning your own hardware onsite, or using your own PC to mine will be less profitable).

Network Marketing Model

The final way of getting into digital finance is via network marketing platforms. These may look and feel like pyramid schemes – and some of them are – but in many cases, these are vehicles that allow an individual to benefit from the investment and interest of others they are able to recruit.

These structures often generate two revenue streams for individuals. One stream is linked to the growth of the underlying currency asset and mining activity. The second revenue stream is more immediate and is linked to benefitting from the recruitment of others into the structure/company.

The network marketing model allows the individuals to effectively participate in a model where they are purchasing processing power rather than actual machines. But the fractional purchase is of a farm of machines that are the property of the actual company/network to which they belong rather than an unknown and anonymous website owner.

There are only certain types of individuals who resonate with this type of structure, and it should be entered into with open eyes, as members will be expected to recruit others into the company to enable it to buy more hardware and grow and expand over time. If you are going to get involved in this model it is about more than just mining, or buying coin, it is also about growing and building the company/network.

TomorrowToday Global is not a financial services company and we are not licensed to give financial advice so we cannot recommend any particular platforms, currencies, or processes.

This cheat sheet is a review of the options if you wish to get into the lucrative world of digital finance. Should you wish to get involved we have two simple pieces of advice.

  1. Use the internet to search for relevant and detailed information before you spend any money. DO YOUR RESEARCH.
  2. Contact your licensed financial advisor for their input and advice…. if they aren’t able to engage with you and speak knowledgeably about this area and how it integrates with the rest of your financial planning let them know that their ignorance is unacceptable and you expect them to get up to speed ASAP…. alternatively, change to a financial advisor who is able to assist you in managing your finances in the digital age.

The post Getting Started in Digital Money appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

I’m sick of corporate IT’s bullshit (what you should do about it if you are too)

TomorrowToday - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 11:12

I am not given to swearing, so I apologise for the language, but there is no other accurate enough description for this issue.

I am sick of corporate IT’s bullshit.

There are a few recent incidents that have sparked this reaction in me, although it’s been a long time in coming.

One of my clients needed a few videos from me. Too big to email, I can’t Dropbox or Wetransfer these as an FTP site is blocked to this client. I can’t send it on memory stick because all external ports are blocked on all machines. They just cannot get large files. They can get small email attachments, but nothing else. Do IT not know that virus files are tiny?

Another client used HDMI connectors in their auditorium. Nice and up to date. But HDMI does not allow you to control volume via your laptop (someone still has to explain that backwards step to me – but that would be a different rant). The volume was too high, so I made my way to the control room to turn it down. It was locked. Only IT had access. We called and someone from IT arrived. The digital control panel wasn’t working, so we looked for the manual volume control. This was inside a locked control box, which an outsourced IT company managed. No keys on site. They were called and sent three people to assist. At what cost and inconvenience do we have a locked control panel – and what benefits? No benefits that I can see.

Another client chatted to me about a computer system that was about to be launched. It was an internal HR system to be implemented across a multinational group with more than 50,000 staff. The system had taken more than five years to build, and the HR team felt it was now so out of date as to be almost useless, but they had to use it anyway because of the IT sunk costs. Any piece of software that takes 5 years to build in today’s fast-paced world is by definition useless.

Over the years, I’ve seen this sort of thing over and over. Companies that are trying to make their way into the digital world of social media, but cannot access any social sites because IT has blocked them all. This includes HR not having access to YouTube or TED talks for education, or marketing not having access to a social platform that they might want to advertise on.

And don’t get me started on hotels that charge for wifi access, and/or absolutely rip off their own customers with extortionate data price packages. Enough already.

I could go on, but I hope the point is made. There are so many ways IT makes the average day at the office worse, not better:

  • Bad wifi.
  • Crazy hoops for visitors to jump through to get access to wifi in your buildings.
  • Lack of remote access to systems.
  • No BYOD.
  • Outdated software.
  • Restrictive access controls.
  • Blocked web access.
  • Presentation rooms not working at all. The worst is when they’ve set up Apple TV or a wifi-enabled connection, but the lag is so slow, watching videos is practically impossible.
  • Most IT departments treat their business colleagues worse than bad parents treat delinquent children.
  • Do you have any examples – add in the comments below.

So, this is a wide-ranging rant. But it points to one key point: the way most organisations do IT is broken. IT itself is broken (with a few notable exceptions), but it’s more than that. It’s the whole approach and all the underlying assumptions and values around IT that need urgent updating.

If you’re in the IT department, I can hear you shouting from here: “It’s not our fault”. That may or may not be true. But I do hear you. Most IT problems are the result of poor decisions made by non-IT senior managers. In this day and age, if companies have rubbish IT, then the company itself is failing. It isn’t just the fault of the IT department. It’s the fault of the senior management who frequently neither understand nor involve IT in the business. The biggest proof that it’s the whole system that is broken is how people inside corporates just accept IT’s bullshit. If I worked in any of these companies I would become IT’s worst nightmare, demanding changes. But most people I know just accept what IT says and does with a resigned shrug. That’s not acceptable. It’s not good enough from IT and not good enough from everyone else. And senior leadership is so non-tech-enabled they don’t even know. The whole system is stuffed up.

Before I suggest some responses, here’s a fun advert from SportsCenter on this topic

So, with the rant out of the way, the question is what we should do about all this.

If you’re in corporate IT, I say simply: don’t get defensive. Read what has been said above (and maybe in the comments below), and realise that this is the perception of your function in the business. If you think this doesn’t apply to you in your organisation, I ask you simply how you can be sure. If you are sure, and your IT department is awesome, then well done. If not, there are a few simple (well, conceptually anyway) solutions for you:

  • Stop saying “no” and start finding ways to say “yes”. Stop being the compliance police and start looking for ways to enable the rest of the business.
  • Think of your colleagues as customers. And treat them as such.
  • Many of the issues highlighted above are a direct result of management/business policies, and IT often feels it’s out of their hands. It’s not. It’s most likely a symptom of corporate cost-cutting and leaders who view IT as a liability rather than an asset and then refuse to invest in IT. I know it can be tiring for those in IT, but you obviously need to do a better job of explaining your value to the decision makers in your business so they stop seeing IT as a drain on their costs and instead need to embrace what IT can do to move them forward.
  • The sooner businesses move to the cloud and start outsourcing IT elements that are not key to their business, the better. The reason cloud is the future is not just the technology, it’s because it frees you up to be faster, more responsive and agile.
  • Stop hiring only IT techies for your IT team. IT is becoming more and more about the user experience, and that means you need designers, artists, copywriters, journalists, process engineers and people with similar skills. IT people tend to only hire IT people for their teams, though.

Here’s another fun video from the Little Britain comedy series. It’s where “Computer says NO” comes from as a phrase:

If you’re not from IT but are frustrated by the IT department in your organisation, here’s what I recommend (note, these might not all be career-advancing options, and might not fit your personality – follow this advice at your own risk):

  • Take back your systems, move to the cloud and look for outsourced solutions for your department. This is especially true for HR and Finance. This might be a crazy step for you to consider, but at least talk about it with your team: just don’t use corporate IT.
  • A less drastic step would be to shift some of what your team does to the cloud. Use Dropbox, Yammer, Slack, Google business tools (sheets, docs, hangouts, etc) and other systems that allow you to bypass your corporate systems.
  • You could also try and move IT into your department, rather than having them separate. If this is not possible, at least make one of your team the “key account manager” for the relationship between your team and IT. Make this relationship a priority and work on it. Think of IT as one of your key clients.
  • The IT department ultimately reports to the Executive leadership and beyond them to the Board. Just escalate your concerns up the chain, and have the Exec team fight this out as senior leaders. IT should not be allowed to impose their rules on the organisation – they should serve it. Take this analogy: let’s say HR decided to say “we’re not going to employ black people in our organisation.” They would not be allowed to get away with this, regardless of what data and arguments they used to back up their decision. The organisation would overrule them. The same needs to happen in the technology space.
  • Develop your and your team’s IT abilities – learn some of the language, understand the systems, and know how to speak to and about IT. I think IT has been able to get away with the BS for a long time because most senior leaders have been clueless and ill-informed about technology.

Additional Reading:

Jan Joubert, Your Business is on Crack

 

The post I’m sick of corporate IT’s bullshit (what you should do about it if you are too) appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

The 80 billion dollar reason for joining a remarkable movement powering business as a force for good

TomorrowToday - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 17:46

Join now and make a meaningful difference

Here are some headlines from this story

– $5 billion in illegal payments

– 80 Brazillian politicians under investigation including current and former presidents

– 16 countries on 4 continents caught up

– Petrobras shares lost $80bn

– Odebrecht fined $2.6bn by the US Dept for Justice and their CEO serving 19 year ail sentence

– Compounded Brazil’s worst recession on record

– 13.5 million people unemployed

– Brazil’s GDP 9% below pre-recession peak

Operation Car Wash is considered the biggest corporate scandal in history.

This maddening story along with similar one including VW emission scandal and BP’s Deep Water Horizon have inspired me on a quest to encourage people to use the profit motive to solve a multitude of societal problems.

The growing evidence shows that organisations can do well, by doing good.

Skeptical? I would be, you can’t open a newspaper without discovering how some business leader or politician has f&^ked-up!

Imagine the value that could have been generated by Petrobras if it’s leaders had focused on creating meaningful value in the world they touched rather than bribing and keeping a few people rich and eroding over $80bn dollars of value?

Imagine where that value could have been better directed to create more value that collectively benefited more.

Capitalism is not the bad guy or gal

Here’s my belief: Capitalism gets a bad rap but maybe it’s not the system, maybe it’s the people in the system with the wrong mindset who are at fault.

By creating more enlightened leaders to use the power of business positively, we can change the world.

Spedan John Lewis, a leader who I greatly admire. He spoke about the perversions of the proper workings of capitalism. The perversions come from the people running the system badly not the system itself. Capitalism when working properly, has raised millions of people out of poverty. It has increased health and wealth around the world. capitalism when working properly is a force for good.

What is needed is the remodelling of a new type of leader. With the WEF coining the term the Fourth Industrial Revolution, what is now needed to make the future remarkable is the Leader 4.0

Leaders need to unlearn what leaders have been taught in the past to be successful and relearn that profit and social enhancement can and should go hand in hand. When they do a virtuous circle of meaningful value accrues and the value destruction created by corporation scandals like The Car Wash will become a thing of the past.

The good news is there are a number of progressive leaders thinking this way, they just need movements like the Achieve Remarkable Things to spearhead the change.

So here is your opportunity: Join a positive force for change in the new world of work

What is the ART-Movement?

The ART-Movement is an exciting vibrant and growing group energised by people passionate about the power of business (be they big or small) to achieve remarkable things.

This group is above the mundane or the minutiae. It’s for big dreamers big hearts and crazy moon shots.

This group is certainly not beige. It is a vibrant watering hole for gaining knowledge and sharing inspiration.

The group uses Facebook as a watering hole to discover remarkable stories, share ideas and gain inspiration for their own very remarkable personal adventures and business initiatives.

This groups is for those who believe that putting Planet, People and Profit first makes sense. Even if we do not know quiet yet how to do it.

This group is for asking great questions and forging awesome solutions.

This group is for people who recognise that if this is going to be a remarkable century for ourselves and the next generations then we have to create it. It will not just happen.

This group is for anyone who believes that they can make a difference because, sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.

What will this group look like, what will it achieve what will we discuss and share? That is for you to decide.

Join now and make a meaningful difference. 

 

The post The 80 billion dollar reason for joining a remarkable movement powering business as a force for good appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

Why Agility is Not What Your Organisation Needs

TomorrowToday - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 12:21

We live in a world of uncertainty and disruptions. To survive in this world, organisations should be agile. The word agility is now everywhere. This would be the miracle solution, the antidote to a lack of innovation. But this is not the case. Agility is not what your organisation needs. Let’s see why.

The principle of agility is fairly simple: Since we are incapable of predicting the future, and finally admit it, we are therefore equally incapable of influencing it. Rather we shall let the course of things develop, and when something happens, we will react.

The role of adaptive leadership is therefore to organise, respond quickly to rapid changes in our environment. The ability to know what to do when you don’t know what to do.

Sounds nice!

The current importance given to agility clearly reflects a fantasy about startups by large organisations more entangled than ever in their bureaucratic glaze and desperately looking for a miracle solution. It also reflects the perception of a rapidly changing world, which calls for a very rapid reaction.

But it’s wrong. On the one hand, the changes are not that fast. At least not for the astute leaders who keep an eye on the opportunities emerging from disruptive forces.

For example: Artificial intelligence has exploded in recent years, but its first works began … in the 50s. On the other hand the development of new products and their commercialisation, including and especially when they are disruptive, often take very long. For instance it took Nestlé took 21 years to develop Nespresso successfully! 21 years before the project could break even. It took three launches to succeed. The first two launches were memorable flops before the third could succeed so spectacularly.

The problem of Nestlé was not a lack of agility during all these years! On the contrary, it was to maintain the course, to persist in modifying what had to be changed, by changing the nature of the project. Originally designed for restaurants, the project was reoriented towards business buyers before finally targeting the general public.

More fundamentally, agility is based on a paradigm of adaptation. The idea is that because we are not able to know where our environment is going, we have to be able to adapt very quickly to its fluctuations. This poses several problems: First, adapting takes time. By the time the organisation becomes aware of the change in the environment, competitors may have already taken the right places. There is much talk about organisational awareness. In the companies with which I work, I am always able to find someone who is aware of a disruption in progress, but that does not mean that this individual awareness is transferred to the level of general management!

Secondly, the organisation must be able to react quickly. It is here that all efforts are being made: to organise to react quickly. But here we are dealing with a contradiction inherent in the large organisation; it succeeds because it brings a notion of scale to its activity. One can not develop economies of scale and agility at the same time.

Third, agility assumes that we can adapt… to every possible case! For example, a car manufacturer does not know if its customers will want a red, green or blue colour. Rather than making a batch of each, and risk ending up with unsold units, it will configure its production tool so that the colour is determined when the customer places his/her order. Being able to react to the customer’s unpredictable demand means it no longer needs to predict it. However, we can see the limits: the choice of colours, and some other options, represents a relatively small set of possibilities. The tool can therefore be configured on this basis.

But beyond a small number of options, the complexity becomes too large and the cost too high. The manufacturer can not design a car on demand. In other words, agility works in a risk situation, where anticipation involves a number of possibilities that is small and, above all, known beforehand; it does not work in uncertainty, where the number of possibilities is infinite and not known in advance.

Fourth, agility is a form of passivity with respect to the environment. Yet, research, especially around the concept of effectuation, has shown that this is not the way entrepreneurs and innovators think. They do not seek to adapt to the world, but rather to transform it.

The world to which Starbucks should have adapted was a world in which coffee consumption had been declining for 20 years. The world to which Swatch should have adapted was a world in which 90% of the world’s watches were produced by low-cost Japanese manufacturers; there remained only the top of the range for a Swiss manufacturer. The world to which Zara would have had to adapt was a world in which it was obvious that no European textile manufacturer could survive except in the very high end.

Instead of adapting to this world by being ‘agile’, these three pioneers – Starbucks, Swatch and Zara – questioned these falsely evident assumptions. They transformed their environment, they did not adapt to it. They had nothing nimble.

The obsession with agility is like prescribing a drug before making the diagnosis. This is unfortunately a frequent habit of management and consultants; who jump from one fad to another.

Failing to apply a thorough diagnosis of the causes of lack of innovation, one jumps to the first fad (or rather the 200th). Sure, it’s good for the consultants, but does it solve the problem? Surely not.

So, what is the real reason why your company does not innovate?

I have often referred to it on this blog; it is the innovator’s dilemma, a term coined by innovation expert Clayton Christensen. In essence, an organisation is reluctant to bet on the future because it wants to protect its legacy activity. It is caught in a conflict between this activity and the future: if it bets everything on the future, it risks sacrificing its legacy activity, without any guarantee of succeeding in the future activity (which can be a flash in the pan). If it seeks to protect its legacy activity, it risks missing the future opportunity. Christensen shows that if the legacy is doing well, the organisation will be reluctant to undermine it and, hence, will tend to miss disruptive opportunities (think Kodak). What the innovator’s dilemma shows is that the advantage of startups is not so much their agility as the fact that they have no legacy activity to protect. They are not hampered by their financial, intellectual and emotional investment in this activity.

Of course agility is necessary; most large organizations show pachydermic heaviness: the slightest initiative requires 200 powerpoint slides and 27 meetings, but it has limits. The cat, which falls back on its feet even when falling head down, is a model of adaptation. But even its abilities have limits: if it falls from the top of a 20-storey building, it will adapt perfectly for most of the journey, but will die at the very end.

Agility is therefore not sufficient because it does not solve the main difficulty – A lack of innovation –  Not to solve this difficulty is to expose oneself, as with so many other previous managerial modes, agility too will disappoint when disruption eventually hurts.

More on the Innovator’s dilemma: Five mistakes to avoid when managing a disruptive project. More on the conflict of commitment and how it explains the lack of innovation: Immunity to change: these rational commitments that prevent innovation. More on the Nespresso project’s amazingly story: Nespresso: when the simplicity of the product hides the complexity of the innovation process.

 

This article was first published on Philippe Silberzahn and is published here with his kind permission. Philippe  is a fellow Professor along with with Dean van Leeuwen at CEDEP He is a recognised expert in innovation and entrepreneurship and an Associate Professor at EMLYON Business School in France; a Research Fellow at the Ecole Polytechnique and a visiting lecturer at HEC Paris, EPFL/HEC Lausanne, and Solvay Brussels School of Business and Economics. He was previously a Research Associate at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.

 

The post Why Agility is Not What Your Organisation Needs appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

Tuesday Tip: What is this hype around Bitcoin? Should I care?

TomorrowToday - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 09:00

Bitcoin seems to be being spoken of everywhere and by almost everyone…. and most of the people speaking about it have no clue what to make of it, so most conversations end up becoming a pooling of ignorance, rather than a useful growth experience.

This Tuesday Tip is not focussing on explaining what Bitcoin and Blockchain are. For some useful insight and understanding have a look at this simple introduction Ray wrote recently http://www.tomorrowtodayglobal.com/2017/08/17/cutting-bitcoin-blockchain-hype/

What we want to help with in this article is some basics to consider when engaging with, or responding to, offers to enter the fray.

Yes, the hype is real, and it making some people VERY rich

If you read the linked article above you will have a better understanding of how these cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are being created, and the legitimacy of the value they are creating. While they are unorthodox developments and fly in the face of historic financial logic, they are very real artifacts of the modern digitisation of money. Early adopters are making a lot of money, and even people getting into them today are too…. in time, they will form the base of a borderless digital global financial system. So, don’t write them off because you don’t understand them. Instead, commit to spending some time and effort to find out how and why they work, and you too may be part of the select group who make money while it is still maturing.

There is more than just one option

The media has focused on the largest of the cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, but there are a number of other options. Ether, Bitcoin cash, Litecoin, and others are all cryptocurrencies that use underlying distributed ledger technology (again, see the linked article if you need to understand what this is) like Blockchain to create coins for their user and developer communities. At the moment Bitcoin is the largest of the cryptocurrencies by value, but the others have additional value propositions that may make them better choices for some investors, e.g. Ethereum has more users than Bitcoin / Blockchain even though the price per coin is currently lower.

The growth is astronomical

If you held 10,000 Bitcoin in 2010 you could buy 2 pizzas with it, If you held the same number in Sept 2017 it would’ve been worth in excess of $40 million. There are few other assets or investment vehicles that come close to delivering that type of growth and return over a similar period. All indications are that the price will continue to go up for the foreseeable future. While the creation of cryptocurrencies is driven by the “mining” of the distributed ledger (see linked article above) the value of the coin once it is created is driven by supply/demand dynamics in the market. As long as there are more people wanting to buy/hold cryptocurrencies than there is new coin created, the prices will continue to rise. Every ledger has a built-in algorithm that will increase the scarcity of the coins as more people use the ledger…. thereby continuing to drive the price up (in theory).

A crash may be on the horizon

The technology has several checks and balances in place to continue to push the prices up, but the dynamics that may cause a correction are more than likely external to the cryptocurrency system. Innovation theory indicates that the next phase of development for this market/innovation is “The Innovator’s Chasm” or “The Trough of Disillusionment”. These are necessary correction mechanisms to move an innovation beyond the bloated expectations and hype of early adopters toward a more mature technology that influences the life of mainstream people. For those getting into cryptocurrency investment or mining right now, this means that it is wise to flag this activity as riskier than other investment options. It will also be important to view these as assets that need to be actively managed rather than passively invested. There is money to be made before the bubble bursts or the crash happens, but a disengaged investor stands a significantly high chance of losing their investment if they don’t track and manage it actively. Most engaged in the market should do so with a view to exiting it temporarily when it crashes and consolidates toward a more mainstream development.

Watch out for charlatans and network marketers

There are many individuals and fly-by-night organisations taking advantage of the hype and interest in these innovations, but also relying on the relatively low levels of education and understanding. Some companies are offering platforms, wallets, and investment vehicles that will not last or that are specifically designed to take your money and disappear. There are also a lot of network marketing or pyramid-type schemes that have developed offering you the opportunity to get into the market by pooling your money with others…. and then encouraging you to recruit others who will join your “team”. These are the same types of schemes that have tried to rope you into selling homeware and cleaning products, makeup, or costume jewellery…. the only difference is that in this case, the product they are using to hook you into the network is Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency. It is not necessary to buy through these networks, if you want to invest you can do so directly without a middleman/network. If they are trying to make it sound confusing, and that they are the experts you need to support your activity they are very likely not the people you need to be working through. Like every other space in which you may invest or part with your hard earned cash – make sure to do your research and due diligence before giving anyone a cent…. and if you have questions don’t move until those questions have been answered in a simple and understandable manner. Despite the unorthodoxy of these new technologies, they are not difficult to understand and come to grips with.

The hype around Bitcoin is real and deserved, it (and it’s sister currencies) are changing the way in which we think about money. There is still space for risk-aware early adopters to enter the market and make money. But, the window is closing, and in the short-term, the risk of investing will increase not decrease and a savvy individual will factor that into their financial planning and investment activity.

The final thing to be aware of is that these technologies are merely the vanguard of a much more extensive shakeup and digital disruption of money, banking, and financial services as a whole…. hold onto your hats, there is more to come.

The post Tuesday Tip: What is this hype around Bitcoin? Should I care? appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

How will your office’s tech stand up to the demands of the employee of 2025?

TomorrowToday - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 21:57
As part of my work as a futurist for Talk Talk Business, we published this article on ITProPortal:

How will your office’s tech stand up to the demands of the employee of 2025?

By Graeme Codrington

To remain competitive, organisations must begin to prepare for how work will change as a result of emerging technologies.

As a futurist, it’s my business to look into the future and think about how it’s going to affect the way that we live our lives, the way that we work at our offices, and the way that society functions. However, I also realise that for most people, peering this far ahead just doesn’t happen. It takes enough to just focus on the present or perhaps the week ahead in our increasingly hectic lives.

For businesses though, it certainly isn’t too soon to start thinking about the future. For IT leaders, the foundations for the services that businesses need in 2025 are being laid right now. Preparations need to start now if businesses are to think big and get the most from their networks. That’s because employees are expecting more from the technology that they use. You can already see the growing divergence between the technology that people are used to using in their homes to communicate with their friends, do their shopping, and watch TV, and those that they use during the working day.

It’s perhaps no surprise then that when we surveyed employees across the UK, we found that just 3% described their workplace as ‘leading edge’. By this, we meant that they had high specification computers, laptops, and software, as well as super-fast and reliable internet connectivity and the use of cloud-based software and collaboration tools. Currently businesses are failing to lead the way with the technology that their employees are accustomed to using, and that they know they will need as the ways of collaborating and working become more technologically complex.

By 2025, most businesses will have a new generation of employees that expect even more from their workplace technology. They’ll also be working in a world where teams are more diverse and geographically dispersed. Some may also find themselves working alongside robots and early forms of artificial intelligence. All of these things require stable infrastructure and reliable internet connections.

However, you don’t need to look to 2025 to see how important reliable and stable technology is to be able to use the latest tech in the workplace. Damningly, 47% of employees aged between 18 to 24 years old said that slow computers and laptops were keeping them from doing their jobs. Meanwhile, 48% said that unreliable internet connections were impacting their ability to work. When networks are unreliable, they can’t be integrated into usual working processes. So it comes as no surprise then that just 7% of the employees that we surveyed said that they regularly use video conferencing at work. Meanwhile, just 17% use business grade instant messaging tools.

This demonstrates just how primitive the workplace is compared to how you live the rest of your life. Most of us wouldn’t think twice before FaceTime-ing our family in Australia, or sending a Whatsapp to your best friend arranging next week’s drinks night. The disconnect between the way that we communicate in the office, and the way we do the rest of the time, has become so vast that people now just naturally lower their expectations.

Amongst those teenagers on the cusp of joining the workforce, a more visual form of communication is the norm. As Snapchat has become the main platform for communication, teenagers have become accustomed to written messages being accompanied by the human touch of seeing someone’s face. Yet they face entering offices where faceless and expressionless email is still the primary method of communication. In fact, 45% of UK workers believe that over the next five years, email will continue to be their primary form of communication.

Some businesses might be wondering why all of this matters? After all, email isn’t broken, and you can always phone someone to speak to them. While it is true that these technologies are not going to disappear overnight, they will only be a part of a much greater suite of services that businesses need to offer their employees to work and communicate effectively.

Each new generation entering the workforce is demanding more from their employers and are fighting internally to try and catch up with the way that they’re used to using technology. For many kids today, if they want an answer to a question, they don’t sit down at a computer and Google it, but instead they ask Alexa. How long will it be until this is expected in the office?

If businesses don’t keep pace with the way that new workers use technology, it could become a serious problem for attracting and retaining the best talent. After all, why work for a company where you’ll be constantly fighting out-dated technology when you can work somewhere that seamlessly integrates into how you were already living your life?

Of course, businesses need to ensure that they’re separating out the passing fads from those technologies that will deliver a tangible impact for years to come. However, most business professionals agree that communication and collaboration is crucial, and that not enough happens in the workplace of today.

The year 2025 is closer than you might imagine. Knowing what your employees might need is no mystery. After all, your new cohort of graduate employees in 2025 are the young teenagers of today. Meanwhile, the latest developments in consumer technology give us a window into their business applications, whether it’s VR video conference rooms, or company chatbots to fulfil basic HR functions like booking holiday.

To support these services, the preparation needs to begin now. Otherwise, existing infrastructure risks being totally overwhelmed. Preparing for that future now is not just vital to remain competitive, it’s also critical to survive.

Graeme Codrington, Futurist to TalkTalk Business

Source: ITProPortal, 17 October 2017

The post How will your office’s tech stand up to the demands of the employee of 2025? appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

Tuesday Tip: In praise of randomness: Thinking out the box

TomorrowToday - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:00

The Problem:

We are facing a couple of challenges but my team is just not ‘thinking out the box’. We seem to be regurgitating the same old ‘solutions’ and I whilst I know we need to be more creative in how we think, I am just not sure how best to help my team to do this?

The Solution:

‘Connecting the (random) dots’ is essentially the work that futurists do. It is about developing the capacity to see the implications and meaning of change. However, ‘connecting the dots’ assumes that we ‘see the dots’ in much the same way that ‘thinking out the box’ assumes that we are first ‘thinking in the box!’. The ‘dots’ we tend to see are the most obvious and very often this produces a linear type of thinking that fails to deliver any meaningful creativity. So, rather than finding links between the obvious, try connecting random objects as a means of unlocking creative thinking and ultimately solutions.

Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that he tried to ‘mix the unmixable’. Connecting random dots (items) is about ‘mixing the ‘unmixable’. Swedish author Fredrik Haren suggests that we need to be able to ‘see context where there is not one’. Breakthrough discoveries from Morse code to fire alarms have been made by observing seemingly unrelated events or objects. Doing this work might at first seem random and somewhat silly but it is a proven pathway to creative problem solving rather than following the well-worn traditional linear thinking type approach.

What are we talking about here? Well, think of random objects (an egg, a washing machine, a turnstile, a mobile/cell phone, a toothbrush, a toaster…anything and then find a link between that object and the problem you are trying to solve. Finding that pathway can open new ideas and perspectives and although it might seem a little ‘crazy’ (and helping your team to see the value of this might also require some persuasion!) it works! You simply have to try it…and keep trying it.

Notes:

  • It might help to have actual pictures of the ‘random items’ on the desk and even a variety of representations of the same item.
  • Go with the flow and don’t give in when it might seem that things are getting ‘crazy’ or ‘off-course’. Trust in the process and those present!
  • It might help to make use of a whiteboard or flipchart as a visual graphic of things as they unfold. ‘Seeing’ some the connections helps the process. (Think of the pinboard connecting people, events, and bits of evidence that we often see in movies that are used by detectives in trying to solve a crime or mystery)

The post Tuesday Tip: In praise of randomness: Thinking out the box appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

Graphene: The super-duper wonder material of the future

TomorrowToday - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 21:32
You need to know about graphene. It’s an absolute wonder material – the founders of which were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010. Once we work out how to make it cheaper, we’ll be using it in every building, device and vehicle in the world. You need to know about graphene. Here’s a great infographic developed by Visual Capitalist:

Source: Visual Capitalist

The post Graphene: The super-duper wonder material of the future appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

Tuesday Tip: Building Self-Awareness

TomorrowToday - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 06:02
“The problem is not what she does it’s how she does it!” (Sigh) an annoyed colleague reflected to another as she complained about their new manager, Grace. Regretfully, Grace was within earshot and stood frozen as she tried to make sense of what she just heard.”

This comment and comments like this are what I hear almost weekly. It refers to someone’s general lack of awareness in knowing how they come across to others, either in their body language or communication or attitudes. Very often it can be the differentiator in a critical situation, job selection or even job survival. 

Self-awareness is, in many ways, the baseline or foundation of emotional intelligence. It’s the ground spring from which our actions and behaviours stem. How we act or communicate is so ‘normal’ to us that we don’t consider it at all. We operate unconsciously and pay little regard to how our individual styles may differ from another’s and in doing so may be the cause of potential conflict, or perhaps the reason we are in a conflictual situation in the first place. 

It’s the “why can’t everyone be normal… ‘just like me’ ” mindset, where we expect others to think, act and communicate ‘just like me’. But they don’t. And here’s why – we are all wired differently, we all have core personality drives that motivate our behaviour according to several factors that all began in our early childhood. Congruent with developmental psychology, the thinking on personality is that it develops most significantly between the formative years of 0-7, with the ages 0-2 years being critical for attachment and how we build relationships. This means, that depending on what was going on in your world, your community, your family, and your relationships during those early years has fundamentally moulded your personality and the person you are today. It laid down the blueprint of how you understand the world and operate within it. 

Knowing your personality at an in-depth level is essential to building emotional intelligence as self-awareness leads to self-regulation which allows for better emphatic regard, increased social skills and finally- better relationship management #LeadershipPotential. 

How do I build my self-awareness?

Getting you know yourself isn’t always easy, or comfortable. There are parts of ourselves we proud of and there are development areas, sometimes these are known and other times we completely unaware we have them. A helpful way to start building your self-awareness is to 1. Spend time unpacking some reflective questions 2. Solicit 360-degree feedback from others and 3. Explore your personality through a personality framework that will help you to leverage the strengths of your personality. 


Self-Reflection: 8 questions to ask yourself as you start this journey:

  1. What am I good at and how do I know I am good at it?
  2. What is it that I ‘bring to the table’ eg. Enthusiasm, organization, diplomacy etc, and does this differ between my work life and my home life?
  3. What energizes me?
  4. What or who frustrates me the most and why?
  5. How do I react when I’m frustrated?
  6. In what 3 ways to I upset/ frustrate others?
  7. Am I able to accurately articulate my feelings in response to situations or events, when they happen?
  8. If I could change 2 things about myself what would they be and why?


HINT: if you answered none/nothing to any of the above you have failed. Start again. 

Engagement: Gain a 360 degree perspective

Consider the different areas of your life across both work and personal spaces, the customers you serve, family, friends, people you lead, colleagues, your manager, groups you a part of. Select one person who knows you well in each area, and asks them to answer questions 1-6 of the reflection questions above. Ask them to be honest, telling you that you flawless is probably nice to hear, but not helpful. 

Theory: Use a framework

There are several different personality profiling tools or strength and weakness tools one can use online. The Enneagram is a particularly helpful framework in understanding personality across 9 different profiles and can be used individually and done with teams. The framework allows you to understand the values that drive your behaviour, your communication style, your trigger points and how these culminate into a leadership style that is different to other leadership styles of those you come into contact with. The Enneagram is incredibly helpful in helping teams think through how can we be different ‘for’ one another rather than ‘from’ one another. 

“Grace decided that some work needed to be done. She reorganized her desk, sharpened her pencils then went down to her favourite store – the stationary shop. Grace bought a new journal, titled it ‘Self-development’ and immediately wrote down the 8 self-reflective questions.


She emailed HR and asked them to contact TomorrowToday to inquire more about the Enneagram team building workshop for her new team who clearly were not as embracing of her as she thought. 

She then took a deep breath and called up her old colleague from her former job, her mother, and her fiancé and asked if they would be willing to answer some of the questions as well to help her see the blind spots in her own behaviour and thinking…phew, here we go! She thought with a degree of apprehension.”

The post Tuesday Tip: Building Self-Awareness appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

Live Webinar: Future-Focused Leader’s Toolkit

TomorrowToday - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:48
Discover the 6 new skills and habits that future-focused leaders need

Webinar: 6-7pm UK / 7-8pm SA time, Tues, 3 October

Your host: Graeme Codrington

There are six key new skills and habits that future-focused leaders need to develop if they’re going to be successful in a world of exponential change. This one hour webinar will present the results of TomorrowToday Global’s research into these skills and habits, highlighting the importance of each and providing practical guidelines for how to develop them.

The toolkit is:

  • Switch on your radar – learn how to look beyond the horizon, track disruptive forces and emerging trends and discover what happens after what comes next
  • Be more curious – ask better questions, and develop the ability to lead by asking instead of telling
  • Experiment more – learn to fail fast, fail cheap and fail loud, and see why this is the most important shift needed in organisations today
  • Embrace difference – listen to more voices and opinions
  • Leverage technology, don’t just digitise
  • Deal with your limiting orthodoxies
Click here to Register

Invite your friends and colleagues.

The session will be recorded but will only be available to view later for all FOWA members. The live webinar is open to the public.

The post Live Webinar: Future-Focused Leader’s Toolkit appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

How To Leave Your Job

Gunter Richter - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 23:53

It feels great thinking you’re an entrepreneur. Let’s be honest though – how close are your side-hustle earnings to those of your full-time corporate career? Does this mean you’re a wantrepreneur? (Voluntarily) leaving a well-paid corporate career is difficult, yet it remains a constant thought to many. Pros versus cons, money, security, and sometimes even 

Continue Reading...

The post How To Leave Your Job appeared first on gunterrichter.com.

Categories: Our Associates

Bill Gates says the world is getting better not worse. Should you believe him?

TomorrowToday - Wed, 09/27/2017 - 18:00
“I woke up this morning,”  writes Bill Gate “and, like most days, I read the news. It’s grim. Hurricanes in the Americas have killed dozens of people and displaced far more. Mexico is recovering from its most powerful earthquake in a century. North Korea is threatening its neighbors. The civil war in Syria seems to have no end. These days, a lot of people look at the headlines and think: The world is falling apart. 

I have a different view. I think the world is far from falling apart. In fact, it has never been better—more peaceful, prosperous, safe, or just. And I’m on a mission to prove it.’

“Believing the world is getting better is not some Pollyanna view. It doesn’t mean you get complacent or ignore the world’s problems. It means you do what former President Bill Clinton calls “looking beyond the headlines for the trend lines.” Armed with an understanding of how many challenges humanity has overcome so far, you’re inspired to do whatever you can to help solve today’s problems and prevent tomorrow’s.

MOBILE USERS To view the virtual reality film below, click here to open in YouTube. NOTE: This is a virtual reality film that you can view using a VR headset, or in your browser as a 360° video. Learn more →

 

Bill Gates is echoing what I wrote in the white paper Achieve Remarkable Things Here is an excerpt:

“Perspective is what enables each of us to transform the sum of our days into an epic journey. And it’s what improves our chances of together making the twenty-first century humanity’s best.” says Ian Goldin, professor of global development at Oxford, and what he says we “lack, and so urgently need, is perspective.”

Lesley Stahl was born on 16th December 1941, at a time when Europe shuddered under the might of the Nazi jackboot. She became a celebrated journalist whose prominence grew after covering the Watergate affair. While recently interviewing Donald Trump and Mike Pence on 60-minutes, a newsmagazine television programme, Stahl said: “I don’t remember the last time we’ve seen a world in this much chaos.” Naturally the interviewees nodded and concurred, her view reinforcing theirs. But put this into perspective: Stahl has lived through a world war, a cold war, the collapse of communism, 9/11, the Great Recession and let us not forget that crazy media moment of the OJ Simpson car chase.

The world is crazy. But is now really the most chaotic time?

Management consultants, politicians and the ilk will have us believing it is, for this is how they wield and manipulate power. We live in a VUCA world they wax lyrically, but the world has always been Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. VUCA is not new, nor should it be news. As Ta-Nehisi Coates, a journalist for The Atlantic, puts it: “The violence is not new; it’s the cameras that are.”

Social media amplifies in real time, and live on our screens, every heinous act – and populism rises and strengthens on the back of doom-and-gloom. We all feel anxious about our world. What is going on, we ask? Something must have gone wrong, who is to blame? The Asians, the Mexicans, the Elites, the Immigrants, the Obamas, the EU; it has to be Globalisation.

It was Leonardo da Vinci who said: “Perspective is the guide and the gateway, and without it nothing can be done well.” If our perception is wrong and things are not that crazy, then according to da Vinci we are going to get lots of things wrong at a time when getting it right would elevate humankind to new remarkable levels. Twenty years from now things could be so much better, but equally they could be a lot worse. So let us challenge our prevailing perception. Sure, a lot of horrible stuff is going on, but Mrs Stahl and all the negative VUCAists maybe, just maybe things are not really that bad.

WE HAD IT TOUGH

May Webster was a petite 5ft3 pocket rocket of energy who, in her nineties, had brilliantly silver, wavy hair. It was her vigour and vibrancy that propelled her to within two years of a centenary, which was pretty remarkable, being that she was born in 1890, at a time when average life expectancy was around forty years. May was a survivor: of migration, siege warfare, poverty, famine and plagues. She was a remarkable woman who lived during one of the most remarkable periods in human history – the incredible period between 1870 and 1970 known as the Golden Age of Innovation.

When May was born things were terribly difficult. There’s always the penchant for older generations to say they lived during the hardest times and that the youth of today have it too easy, and of course each generation’s stories grow. But May’s story was a big story to begin with, she knew first-hand what it meant to live in a VUCA world.

At the age of three she lost her mother during a childbirth that went horribly wrong. Look back just a hundred years. Out of 100,000 child births about 1,000 ended with the death of the mother. This meant that for every one-hundred births a mother lost her life, an astonishingly high number. And, since women gave birth much more often then than they do today – May’s mother bore twelve children over a period of twenty-years – sadly the death of a mother was a common tragedy. Today, globally, this figure is miraculously as low as seven per 100,000, except there has been no miracle – just human ingenuity doing remarkable things.

Perhaps even more staggering, by today’s standards, only three of her twelve siblings reached adulthood and, of those, only two made it into their thirties. In comparison, because of the exponential advances in medical science, healthcare and hygiene we now live in a world where more people die from old age than infectious diseases.

By the age of ten, May was dodging exploding artillery shells during the Siege of Kimberly, as Boer Commandos – the Afrikaans-Dutch rebel army – battled, at the turn of the twentieth century, against the might of the British Empire, for the future of South Africa’s gold and diamonds. May’s parents were British immigrants who had settled in the Cape Colony diamond mining town of Kimberley. During an initial skirmish, her farm was raided by the Boer rebels. All the cattle were stolen and everything that couldn’t be carted away was broken or burned. May’s family were left with only the clothes they stood in and no option but to seek sanctuary in the town. Warned to remove themselves from the war zone, but too poor to travel, they were caught and trapped. May wrote how, during the siege: “With shells exploding across Kimberley, the terrified girls at the school were forced to take shelter in the ash pits where waste was dumped. Because of the creepy crawlies, including lice, the girls all had their hair cut short for obvious reasons.” Her stoicism is endearing, in the face of death – the biggest issues were lice and short hair!

Following the end of the Anglo-Boer War and the liberation of Kimberley by the British Army, May’s family went back to work restocking their farm with cattle. Things were going well until all the cattle had to be slaughtered and their carcasses burned as they had contracted Rinderpest, a dreadful bovine disease.  Following this came awful annual visits from plagues of locust which settled on everyone and everything, devouring every last green and living plant. Then May’s family hit rock-bottom when her big brother, Sydney died in the Spanish flu epidemic. It was 1918, just a century ago.

Then, like now, the new century was in its infancy and the world seemed to be going crazy. “History does not neatly repeat itself but, oh, there are so often echoes and rhymes,” says Margaret MacMillan, a historian.

There were positives too. May witnessed technological advances that were nothing less than stratospheric, which propelled humankind forward like never before. We think we live in a fast technological age but consider this: By her thirteenth birthday, flight – an impossibility until 1903 – became possible as the Wright Brothers soared for twelve seconds, twenty feet above a wind-swept beach in North Carolina, covering a distance of one-hundred-and-twenty feet. May would witness flight sky-rocketing from propeller, to jet, to supersonic luxury passenger travel, to humans visiting the moon and all in under seventy years.

Household electricity, an array of electrical appliances from handheld power-tools to washing machines, indoor plumbing, penicillin, the pill, the production line; all would revolutionise lives. Cars for the “great multitude” and the innovation of Motorways opened up new markets and connected communities, suddenly goods could be transported easily and quickly across vast distances. May’s generation experienced change and meaningful innovation that took society to higher and higher levels, the likes of which humanity had never experienced before or since. And, all this happened, metaphorically speaking, in a blink of an evolutionary eye.

Such were the remarkable advances during the years known as the golden age of innovation that, were May a ten-year old girl today, she’d delight to discover that her risk of experiencing war is lower now than for any generation in human history. This is a massive shift. Throughout civilisation humans have taken war for granted, in ancient societies war caused about 15% of deaths. In 2015, 28,328 people died from terrorist-related activities, mainly in developing nations. To put this into perspective, last year 500,000 people died as a result of violent crime alone, and 1.5 million died from diabetes –  sugar is now more perilous than gunpowder. For the average person, Coca-Cola and Pepsi pose a far greater threat than ISIS –  3 million died as a result of obesity and 1.25 million died in automobile accidents.

Yet, migrants and ISIS formed the mainstay of Brexit and Trump-populist campaigns. Statistics clearly indicate that we are fighting the wrong battles, and taking precious resources away from where the most remarkable work could be done. If we stopped global military spending for just one week, we could provide all the world’s youth with high quality education for 20 years, for free.

Let’s return to May’s story. Today, she’d also be thrilled to know that she’d be guaranteed a place at school and, most likely, live in a democracy where women and LGBT people have individual rights and protection from rape, abuse and slavery.  She’d be happy to discover that, even if she cohabited the poorest country in the world, the probability of her experiencing poverty would have reduced from ninety per cent to ten per cent.  She’d also discover that she’d have better access to nutrition than a girl living in the richest country a hundred years ago. The risk of her siblings dying from flu, tuberculosis, cholera, measles or smallpox or during childbirth would be close to zero – Smallpox, recorded in the human history for over 3,000 years is unique in that it has been completely eradicated. The last natural case of smallpox occurred in Somalia in 1977. And, rinderpest, the disease that ravaged May’s family farm and drove them into poverty, was announced eradicated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization on 28 June 2011.

This is the story of my great nan, May, and we’re sure if you went digging around the annals of your family history you too would find stories of remarkable relatives who demonstrated great resilience and endurance during times that were far tougher than anything our generation have ever experienced. Humankind has achieved so much, there is still a lot to do but we are now building off such a strong base that the odds are certainly stacked in our favour.

As May’s story demonstrates because of technological advances and within the short space of a 100-years, for the most part when measured against nearly any indicator you care to, we live lives better than anyone, anywhere at any time in history.

Why then are we not feeling inspired to continue building on the great innovations and accomplishments of the past? We need to “Make America Great Again” Donald Trump yells and tweets to the world. But America, even the world, has never been greater.

Perhaps we take for granted most of these great innovations, and lack the perspective and memory of how bad things can really be. Perhaps it is because the benefits of globalisation are so poorly and unevenly distributed across the world. Even within countries, there are huge discrepancies, and the growing inequality between the top 1% and the rest is a worrying concern: Today the eighty-five richest people own the same wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest people. These levels of inequality were last witnessed during the French Revolution.

Most likely though, it’s because we recognise the advances society has made, but fear that the grip we have over the future is fragile. This stirs a collective and deeply primal societal anxiety that things could go, oh, so very, very wrong. This fear is not unfounded, but neither are we helpless victims.

Our world feels on the edge, not because it is VUCA, but because so much is at stake. We have so much to gain and equally so much to lose. This fear grips us and, like a deer in headlights, we freeze when we should act. Where we should extend ourselves with more generosity, we turn inwards and retreat towards protectionism, becoming more nativist and afraid. When we should be inspired by hope and possibility, we allow concern to tether us. In an age when society desperately needs people to courageously venture into the unknown, we prevaricate.

By looking backwards at May’s and others’ stories, though, we can recognise how fortunate we are to live today.  We can gain the perspective and humility needed to understand the complexities of our future challenges, and navigate them with the hope and conviction required to endure the epic journeys that the 21st century will require.

The most important perspective we can gain is to identify that turning inwards, seeking protection, alienating others who are different from us will do the exact opposite of what is required to make this a remarkable century. We need to boldly embrace the uncomfortableness of this age, because this is where the creativity and intuition will be stirred, awakening humankind’s spirited desire to innovate and make better what is wrong.

Our ability to dream big dreams is by far humankind’s most powerful attribute. Each organisation, each leader, each one of us needs to nurture, support and set it free.

If you would like to read more you can download  the white paper here.

So the world is better but that does not guarantee us a better future. We live in a remarkable world but a remarkable future will not just happen, we have to create it.

You can start by clicking here and joining a vibrant community that believes in the power of business to achieve remarkable things. Because here is the thing. The greatest risk of the 21st Century is that we fall short, failing to think big enough to make this century great for everyone.

Bill Gates is right. This is not a VUCA world. The world has always been VUCA, that is not new or news.  What is news is we live in a world that is better for everyone, but there is still a lot to do. We are not living happy, sustainable and fulfilled lives.

Let’s dare to strike out and find new ground. Let’s dare to make this century the most remarkable ever.

 

 

The post Bill Gates says the world is getting better not worse. Should you believe him? appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

Words of wisdom from Peter Drucker

TomorrowToday - Mon, 09/25/2017 - 12:33

Peter Drucker’s, the founder of modern management, greatest impact came from his writing. His more than 30 books, have sold tens of millions of copies in more than 30 languages, came on top of thousands of articles, including a monthly column in The Wall Street Journal from 1975 to 1995.

Here are a few of his words of wisdom which I like best:

– “Marketing is a fashionable term. The sales manager becomes a marketing vice president. But a gravedigger is still a gravedigger even when it is called a mortician – only the price of the burial goes up.”

–  “One either meets or one works.”

– “The only things that evolve by themselves in an organisation are disorder, friction and malperformance.”

– “Stock option plans reward the executive for doing the wrong thing. Instead of asking, ‘Are we making the right decision?’ he asks, ‘How did we close today?’ It is encouragement to loot the corporation.”

– “The information age and the knowledge workforce…isn’t just about companies changing. It’s about everything changing”

– “Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

– “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.’

Personally I think the man was pure genius

The post Words of wisdom from Peter Drucker appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

Organisational Culture: The secret that is hidden in plain sight

TomorrowToday - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 10:00

The capacity to lead depends on trust. As a leader keeping trust alive is your primary responsibility for without it, you cannot lead. Trust is the air in a healthy organisational culture; it is the very currency of leadership. This is the secret that is hidden in plain sight – it must be given how often leaders act in a manner that would indicate that they are unaware of this reality.

Organisational culture is the leader’s responsibility. It is the primary focus of leadership bar none. For too long leaders have focused on strategy – both the formation and execution and as important as this work is, it is not where the core responsibility of leadership rests.

Why is culture so important?

One reason is that it provides the context for all that is either good or bad in an organisation. Ultimately, it is the culture that will determine whether or not an organisation is able to sustain itself through both the calm and the storms that beset the journey. Yum Brands CEO, David Novak provides a relevant case study in underscoring this ‘secret’. Over the past 17 years, Yum stock has returned 16.5% compounded annually against the S&P 500’s 3.9% over that same period. Yum, which comprises of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut have over 39 000 locations worldwide making it the largest restaurant company (measured by units) and this footprint has been built by the staggering measure that has seen Yum open a restaurant every 14 hours for the past 16 years.

Novak reveals a deep understanding of what is important when it comes to leadership. In the Fortune magazine, he was quoted as saying, “If (our) people were asked, ‘What’s our inherent competitive advantage?’ they’d say it’s our culture…What really made the difference was the idea that if we trusted each other, we could work together to make something happen that was bigger than our individual capabilities”. At the heart of Novak’s strategy was to build teams that operate on trust. Novak goes as far as saying that because of this trusting culture Yum has attracted talent from companies such as Coca-Cola, General Electric, and Procter & Gamble. The right people join because they see something that is worth belonging to; something they want to contribute towards and be a part of – it is a matter of culture.

As mentioned but worth highlighting further, culture is the soil from which adaptive intelligence is grown – not a strategy. The response to meeting the challenges of tomorrow is a cultural one and not a strategic one. Understanding this ought to be all the incentive that any leader needs in order to ensure that they build a culture that will help ensure adaptability. This is an insight that emerges from evolutionary biology and is a lesson to be taken seriously by leadership.

If it is this obvious that culture is so important, why is it that it seems beyond the grasp of so many leaders?

Leaders have been told and conditioned to look elsewhere. They have been told that the really important stuff is that which can be measured by the current metrics and all that matters is the bottom line. In a one-dimensional frame of reference this is true, however, the link between delivery on the bottom line and culture is what has been ‘lost’ in this one-eyed view on what really matters.

Culture has been left to Human Resources to ‘get sorted’ or has been outsourced or worse still, reduced to sporadic events designed for the purpose of boosting morale or making all things right. Culture emanates from the top – from leadership. No amount of sloganeering or rhetoric will substitute for how the attitude and actions of the leader impacts on organisational culture. In Novak’s case at Yum, he centered his focus on recognition and fun. His office is a wall-to-wall photo gallery of pictures of him meeting employees from around the world. Novak explains, “People want to see the CEO’s office, and when they come in, they understand what’s important in our company”. He also understood the importance of having fun in doing what you do and so fun became a central mantra in building the corporate culture at Yum. Fun at work, whilst an oxymoron to an older generation, is central to the working requirements of a younger generation. Too many leaders hear this talk and immediately default to a cynical ‘that’s not how things work in the real world’ type of response. But it can be, and Yum is living proof.

How, as a leader, do you start this kind of journey?

The temptation is to look for a quick fix, a Band-Aid type of approach. That is a little like wanting to get fit but only doing 30 minutes exercise a month. It simply doesn’t work. Shaping the ‘right’ (for your organisation) culture starts with a clear idea of what it is you want that culture to be. It sounds obvious and is, yet I am amazed at how many times leaders lack intentionally when it comes to organisational culture.

The culture they have is more a result of a default than intentionally. There are instances when that may work for you but the lack of intentionally means that you don’t really know ‘why something works or not’. This is then always dangerous ground to be on. Novak’s ‘clear idea’ was that through effective and engaged teams, Yum would achieve success. Everything he then did would reflect this philosophy that people and teams were what mattered most. What that looked like and how it was built would be context specific but there was a clear and unmistakable underpinning philosophy that guided the activity.

The interesting thing about this was that Novak believed that this journey was first and foremost an, ‘inside-out’ one. In other words, it started with the individual and that ‘inner-work’ preceded ‘outer-work’. This insight and understanding is the exception and not the rule when it comes to corporate leadership. It is framed by an understanding that you lead ‘out of who you are’ – a mantra we speak about a great deal in TomorrowToday. Leadership skills and expertise that are marooned from authenticity and character soon get exposed. The question posed by Goffee and Jones in their book title, ‘Why should anyone be led by you?’ – is a good one and whilst skill sets are important in the leadership equation, character is more so. Novak believes that you are not fit to lead a team until you’ve worked hard on yourself. Yum leaders are encouraged to practice reflective exercises and relational evaluations and Novak himself leads the way. That is how you build authentic organisational culture when as a leader you practice what you preach; when you do what is deemed good for others to do. Again, it all seems kind of obvious doesn’t it, and yet…

It would appear that there might be more than one secret that is hidden in plain sight. An understanding that culture matters most; that our people are our culture; that people work in in teams and the currency of all this is trust; that being intentional about paying attention to what matters most is – well obvious; that first and foremost it involves inner-work; and that, as the leader, it all starts with you.

‘If only it were that simple’ you might be thinking but I want to suggest it is that simple. Our HR language and processes have often got in the way of what is straightforward and obvious. The fixation with measurement and the coupling of that with reward and recognition have served to skew everything to the point where we have lost sight of what is really important and how best to get that done. Novak and the Yum story reminds us that it can be done and more importantly, it can be done in a context where there is both complexity and global reach. Novak is quick to admit that they haven’t yet fully translated all this to every corner of their operation and that much work still needs to be done. Yet somehow that recognition in itself speaks volumes.

As a leader, you might need to ask yourself some serious questions and if there is a failure of culture within your work environment, look no further than yourself. It is a tough call on leaders but then again, who said leadership was easy?

The post Organisational Culture: The secret that is hidden in plain sight appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

Innovation requires giving people time and space, not using them up at 110%

TomorrowToday - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 21:55
Earlier this year, British Airways had a major collapse of their IT systems, causing a day of chaos across its entire global network as flights had to be cancelled. The problem, it appears, was a lack of what IT specialists call “redundancies”. In other words, you need backup systems – you need to have extra capacity so that if something goes wrong with your main system, there’s a backup to switch to.

In an environment where you’re trying to cut costs and save every dollar and pound you can, it might seem like a good idea to remove such redundancies from the system. But small, short term savings turn into nightmares if anything goes wrong. The most generous estimate of the cost of the May 2017 systems crash is £150 million to BA. It’s probably much more than this, not counting reputation and brand damage as well.

This past week, Ryanair has also found itself cancelling flights – about 50 a day for the next 6 weeks. This is a mess of their own making. They changed their leave policy last year, creating a situation where pilots have mandatory leave that must be taken before the end of 2017. Ryanair forced their pilots to not take that leave during the busy holiday season in July and August, but now it must be taken, and they’re short of pilots. They have no option. They must cancel flights.


This was a crisis they knew was coming, and they should have done better, even if only in the communication of the issue to passengers well enough in advance. There’s probably a lesson there in corporate greed, rather than mere incompetence. But the lesson I want to draw from Ryanair’s current crisis is that of capacity. They have no excess capacity in their system. Everyone is at full utilisation all the time, and so if anything – even something small – goes wrong, there’s no room for recovery. And the cost to the business will again well outstrip any cost saving benefits they have gained over the years. Probably a decade or more of profits made through cost cutting wiped out in a 6 week period from hell for the business.

Let me make an even bigger point – about innovation. Almost every company our team knows, and every company we’ve researched that has a reputation for ongoing, systemic and systematic innovation, gives its people free time and consciously creates space for creativity and innovation. If you are working your people to the bone, they won’t have the headspace to innovate. If you are “cutting out the fat” so much, you’re bound to cut away a little bit of muscle too – maybe a lot of it!

Cost cutting, lean productivity and total efficiency might feel like clever strategies. And they’ll look good too. Until something goes wrong. Or until you need actual innovation, rather than mere incremental improvements.

Don’t be like BA. Don’t be like Ryanair. Don’t be like most of the companies in the world that say they want innovation, but don’t actually get it. Don’t work your people to the bone. Don’t account for every minute of their time. Don’t value productivity above everything else.

Create some space for innovation.

The post Innovation requires giving people time and space, not using them up at 110% appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

Tuesday Tip – What my son having his tonsils out has got to do with your success in the Future of Work

TomorrowToday - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 09:30

The backstory to this Tuesday Tip is that I’ve just spent too much of my time trying to get the pre-authorisation done for my son’s surgery this Friday. (It’s a minor surgery – the standard ‘tonsils removal’ so nothing too stressful but still something that I’d rather not have to go through!)

The authorisation process seemed like a simple one:

  1. Get the authorsation number from our medical aid and then
  2. Do the pre-admission for hospital online.

Dealing with the medical aid was relatively easy.

Unfortunately, doing the online pre-admission for the hospital – a time waster.

  • I really battled to find the pre-admission form on their website
  • The form didn’t make sense to me – they were asking for codes and I had to phone them to double check I had the right codes.
  • I got told that I had phoned the wrong number internally when all I was doing was using the information that was on their website.
  • After submitting the form I got a notice that they would be in touch. No time frame, just a ‘we’ll be in touch’
  • I’ve just phoned them now to follow up as I haven’t heard back from them after 24 hours.
  • To be told I should hear from them tomorrow sometime…. A day before the admission. I’m not an A type personality, but not having confirmation that all is in order does unsettle me slightly.

Bear with me – this isn’t a whine…

I just wonder how many of us begin to embrace what needs to be done to thrive in the Future of Work, but then end up missing the point completely.

In other words – this hospital did start to get it right – being able to do the pre-admission online is a great feature… But it’s only a great feature if they get it right.

Have they considering why having an online option would be attractive to so many patients… and are they getting this right? For example – doing this online I don’t want to have to phone the hospital twice to check that the online version has worked.

Two things that the team at TomorrowToday consider important for succeeding in the Future of Work are 1) Simplicity and 2) Offering something in ‘real-time’

Here are some simple changes that, in my opinion, would have made my experience that much better.

  • Put a big button on their website’s home page that says ‘Pre-admissions here’.
  • Making the form slightly easier to fill out – ie giving me slightly more detail of what they were needing from me.
  • Even better – have an online chat facility available for immediate contact. (Much better than having to phone in, wait to be transferred, transferred back to reception and then finally getting through to the admissions department).
  • Once the form had been submitted to let me know when to expect contact back from them.
  • Even better – use technology to check the data submitted and provide me with my pre-auth reference number instantly

Your action items

  • When last were you a customer to your own services? Would you be happy with the experience? Did all the processes make sense?
  • When last did you ask how the customer experience could be improved?
  • Are you using the technology that is available. I’m not talking the Dr Watson of hospitals, I’m talking about a simple online chat widget that could be added to your website. There are enough free versions out there. That’s just a simple example.

It’s been a good reminder for me to go and see how we can improve our experience that our clients and visitors have when they engage with us – be it on our website or having our team of presenters are at your event.

We’d love to hear your feedback on how we could improve your experience with TomorrowToday. Do drop us an email if you’ve got any suggestions.

The post Tuesday Tip – What my son having his tonsils out has got to do with your success in the Future of Work appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

SkillPill makes my week with this epic Game of Thrones analogy

TomorrowToday - Sat, 09/09/2017 - 10:34
SkillPill is a microlearning platform that delivers content, resources and learning to you in easy to digest form – it’s similar to our own Future of Work Academy. Today, they sent out the most amazing email newsletter. If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, then this one is for you. If not, move along, this won’t make any sense to you at all…

Well done to them. Just for that, I’ll give them a huge punt here. I signed up today. They (ahem) GOT me with this one. Bravo.

 

Game of Thrones season 7 had everything you’d expect – battles, back stabbing, revenge and of course, dragons.

But while fire and ice rained from the skies, one character was holed up in a library, learning.

Or not as the case may be.

Swivel your gaze from the swords and sorcery, and there’s wisdom we can glean and apply in our own world…

He might not be a hero, but you can count on Sam Tarly.

Loyal, dependable and with a huge thirst for knowledge – he’d be an asset to any training department.

And all he’s ever wanted to be is a maester – a ‘knight of the mind’.

So, when his chance finally comes, why does he turn his back on his life’s ambition, walking away from the citadel – a place literally stuffed with learning?

Well, first up, frustration. 

Sam is given endless menial tasks before learning anything useful – emptying chamber pots and collecting library books.

Pay your dues and then we’ll see…

I mean c’mon, a man of his talents.

OK what next?

Knowledge is placed off limits – *hushed tone* the restricted area.

But why check his aspirations? It’s not the 90s. Information isn’t a commodity to be doled out as a reward.

Then there’s the teaching. 

The citadel might house the greatest minds in Westeros, but Sam is patronised by his elders.

Belittled and ignored, no wonder he tires of the place.

Besides, he’s able to find information critical to the defence of the realm proactively – carrying out studies that are both independent and unauthorised – but his learning gets results.

Which is just as well given Ser Jorah’s predicament AND what’s massing beyond the wall.

Ingesting dragonglass might cure greyscale?

Whoa!

There’s a mine of dragonglass at Dragonstone?

Result!

And eventually Sam leaves because he doesn’t want to be stuck in some ivory tower learning for the sake of learning. 

He wants to make a difference in the real world and apply his new found knowledge in the battle to come – the war between living and dead.

Now I’m not saying your L&D department is the citadel per se…

Shelves of dusty books patrolled by patronising sentinels ready to shut down learning they don’t like the look of.

But, chances are you have your own Sam Tarlys. Eager to learn, but hitting the same sort of barriers.

Denied the information they need to work around the challenges they face.

Pedagogy and dull content conspiring to make people quit.

So, how about we shake things up?

Skill Pill microlearning videos free knowledge from it shackles. 

Short top ups of learning, accessible via any device means no gatekeeper, no rules, no limits.

Just the information you need, right when you need it. No matter what Archmaester Marwyn says.

Why not take a look for yourself with a free trial?

Hurry though.

Winter is coming.

Gerry Griffin
Founder, Skill Pill

The post SkillPill makes my week with this epic Game of Thrones analogy appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

That Sucks! How Casper became a $750 Million company in 3 years.

TomorrowToday - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 17:14
 

If you want to encourage your children (or anyone, even yourself for that matter) to think about their successful future, what is the best question to ask? Finding the right question is important, because it has the potential to shape lives and fortunes in significant ways. So, no pressure. What do you think is the most important question?

My parents asked me: “What would you like to be when you grow up?” My answer would be anything from a fireman, cowboy, pilot, vet. I became a professional speaker. Now my father, a chartered accountant, continues to ask me the same question believing I do not have a proper job! However, whilst well-meaning, his good question is largely irrelevant today. Because, many of the jobs considered important now will not even exist for humans in the next decade or two so massive will be the changes across the knowledge worker ranks as AI and automation sweeps through.

The reality is that machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics are going to disrupt careers and create new jobs in manners we struggle to imagine today. Vishal Maini the editor of Machine Learning for Humans says; “Artificial Intelligence will shape our future more powerfully than any other innovation this century. Anyone who does not understand it will soon find themselves feeling left behind, waking up in a world full of technology that feels more and more like magic.”

So, with traditional roles expected to vanish as quickly as crushed ice lemonade on a scorching summers day, the better question – it’s possibly the most important question anyone who is expecting to be employed over the next two decades, should be asking – is this: “That sucks, is there a better way?”

What Sucks?

Nights of darkness suck! So, Thomas Edison gave us incandescent lightbulbs. Germs suck! So, Fleming gave us penicillin. Walking, when birds fly, sucks! So, the Wright brothers gave us wings. Automobiles for only the very wealthiest sucks! So, Ford gave us the production line and the liveable wage. Inequality sucks! So, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela gave us equal rights. Cancer sucks! So, Marie Curie gave us radiology and X-ray machines.

The great women and men who shaped history began with the question: “This sucks, can it be made better?” When passion, commitment and energy is expended towards solutions that tackle what sucks most in the world, innovations emerge which no one could have imagined.

That is why this seemingly simple question is so excitingly powerful. The answers to “This sucks, can it be made better?” have propelled fortunes, crafted successful careers and disrupted industries.

It’s not rocket science, it’s simple stuff and yet amazingly very few people or organisations are good at sucking up things that suck. The remarkable ones excel.

Steve Jobs famously never commissioned customer research. He believed customers rarely know what they want, especially when looking to the future. Rather, Steve Jobs sought opportunities where his beautifully designed innovations could eliminate what sucked most for his customers. In doing so he created “dents in the universe.” Not being able to listen to every track of your much-loved music collection seamlessly on one device sucked! So, Jobs gave us the iPod. Lugging around a camera, Walkman and mobile phone sucked! So, Jobs did the ‘impossible’ and combined all three into the remarkably magical iPad and iPhone.

Here, hopefully is your source of inspiration. The 21st century is full of “mega-sucks” and tons more “mini-sucks” just waiting for innovative intrapreneurs and intrepid entrepreneurs to strike out and find new ground. If you want to secure that next promotion, bonus or discover a killer business app giving you unicorn status; then do what the great women and history have done. Starting with the question: what sucks in the lives of my customers and people important to me? Finding the solution will open the doors to incredible opportunities and deliver personal and societal rewards.

Point in case, consider the story of Casper, an innovative upstart hoovering up what sucks about sleep.

The sleep industry sucks!

As markets go, it would be difficult to identify an industry much more mundane and uninspiring than mattresses.  It is dominated by two companies Tempur-Sealy and Serta Simmons Holdings. This duopoly boasts margins as high as 50%. The buying process, uses confusing jargon like indentation force deflection or IFD. – Which to those in the know measures mattress firmness –  The verbiage helps inferior-to-second-hand-car-salespeople to confuse shoppers into spending an arm and a leg, for a product they literally tested for 10 seconds in an embarrassingly awkward lie down and feign sleep test. Then the customer has to load the mattress onto the roof of their car or into a van hired at great personal expense. Get it home and wrestle up the stairs this beast of fabric and springs, that now behaves as the love child of a champion sumo wrestler and a spineless walrus would.

We’ve all been here. Buying a mattress sucks! Philip Krim, CEO and founder of Casper, recognised this and set off on a quest to eliminate what sucks in sleep.

On April 22, 2014, Casper.com, the company Krim and his partners started went live. The team were hoping to sell one or two beds on day-one and perhaps a dozen in the first week. As the company’s tiny staff sat watching the computer screen they became spellbound, the impossible was happening. People were actually buying online, untested and unseen mattresses.

The mattress industry sucked so badly that the “bar was incredibly low” says Krim. But none of this is rocket science. So, the question remains, why had no one cracked it before Casper? Here’s the staggering realisation, most companies focus on the product features, rather than innovate and eliminate what sucks. Casper gained advantage not by focusing on a new product innovation but rather by innovating around what sucked most in the mattress industry. This delivered meaningful benefits to customers and the company took-off immediately.

Customers started to champion Casper on social media. The company’s innovations included delivering a king-size mattress in a box the size of a small refrigerator. This was intriguing and interest enough to light up Instagram. The experience of unwrapping and watching the mattress grow in front of your eyes like a just-add-water-toy added further to the novelty factor. YouTube was on fire with videos of excited customers unwrapping and testing out their miracle grow Casper mattresses. The mattress-in-a-box innovation also made delivery economically profitable. Pure sucking genius.

Casper didn’t stop there. Krim wanted to eliminate the thing that sucked most in the mattress industry – testing a mattress for only a few seconds in-store before forking out a small fortune to buy it – Casper’s innovation hoovered up this sucker by allowing customers to buy online and test the bed risk-free for 100 days in their own home. Not satisfied, no problem Casper will collect the mattress at no cost to you and provide a full refund. The returned bed gets given to a charity. Nice, nothing sucks here and customers flocked to reward Casper with their hard cash and customer love.

“We were shocked that people woke up, read an article, and said, ‘Ah, f$%k it, I’ll buy a bed, Sure as shit, it was like, order, order, order, order,” Krim explains in a Fortune Magazine interview. Casper “sold an amazing total of 40 beds—its entire inventory for the first six weeks—on their first trading day.” Within the first month of sales Casper hit its twelve-month target of $1.8 million in 60-days. That’s the power of fixing what sucks in your customers lives, you are going to get rewarded! Sucking remarkable stuff!

Casper’s unexpected success, however, created an inadvertent new “That sucks!” problem for the company. With orders flooding in suddenly Casper were unable to find a manufacturer who could produce mattresses fast enough to meet customer demand. For a customer, having to wait a long time for your mattress, sucked! Especially if you were moving to New York as a fresh eyed millennial taking on the Big Apple and didn’t have a mattress to begin with. To make sure their customers were not left sleeping on the hard floor while waiting for Casper’s backlog of orders to reach normality – which let’s face it would have double sucked – the founders had the empathy to say screw our short-term profits and they conjured an innovative solution buying air-mattresses from Amazon and sending them to customers as  a stop-gap gift until the real Casper mattress arrived. “We thought Amazon would shut us down because we ordered so many, and they might think we were reselling them,” said Jeff Chapin one of the co-founders.

What Casper discovered is that customers do not mind delays if companies respect them enough to take the time to explain the situation. What sucks, is being left in the dark! Again, not rocket science, but how many companies do you know that suck at communicating with their customers when things go wrong?

Once customers knew what was happening they were like, “hey okay”. So, Casper’s team went into overdrive spending every waking moment live-chatting, emailing, and talking on the phone with customers. They even coded a button on the company’s website that said, “Chat with a founder.” The founders have directly engaged through chat with over 50% of their customer base. By communicating to their customers in person Casper was able to turn a disastrous four-week delivery delay into something inspirational. Customers were engaged and became part of the quest to disrupt the mattress industry and make it better. That was cool.  Casper, says Aaron Shapiro, CEO of Huge, a digital agency, “solved user problems in a completely effortless way,” Solving what sucks for customers, is “rapidly becoming how business is done in the modern economy.”

Casper has big aspirations for shaping the future. CEO Philip Krim has designs to make the company the “Nike of sleep.” In an interview Krim explained that “athletic gear wasn’t much of an apparel category until Nike turned sneakers into the core of a lifestyle. Lululemon did the same thing for “athleisure,” now a $78 billion market by some estimates. “We want to create sleep as a category,” Krim says. “That’s a really big opportunity.”

So, what else sucks in sleep? Insomnia sucks! Clever Casper launched a hotline to help, just call 888-890-2040, it’s free, it’s funny and friendly. Press 1 for sounds of mating whales. Press 2 to listen to a business conference call guaranteed to bore you back to sleep, if you can stop laughing. Press 3 to enjoy 1990s Family Matters star Jaleel White singing a lullaby. It’s clever stuff and beneficial too. A recent study ‘Why sleep matters – the economic costs of insufficient sleep’, conducted by researchers at RAND Europe shows that up to $680 billion is lost each year across five OECD countries due to insufficient sleep.

Sucking is hard

No one expected Casper to be a success, let alone the runaway success it has been. Krim explained to CNBS how “not one investor believed they could succeed. They heard no “dozens and dozens and dozens of times.” Including: ‘You’re going to make selling mattresses cool? Like okay, yeah, good luck with that!’”

No one counted on Casper cracking the recipe for success. It just goes to show why sucking up, hoovering away what sucks in business is so powerful. Take note because if they can do it with mattresses you can do it in your industry.

Today Krim has sound advice for anyone wanting to tackle things that suck!: “The best ideas come when no one else, or very few people, see things the way that you see it. That’s what creates the opportunity.”

Tackling what sucks is not easy. Things in any industry suck because it’s hard work to make them better. Things suck because no one has cracked the solution or cared enough to try. It requires doing things differently, going against the grain of conventional wisdom. Things that sucks can often be so entrenched within the norms of an industry and the way things get done, that they have become accepted as part of the furniture and are not even questioned. This may make things that suck doubly hard to identify. There may even be vested interested in your industry to keep what sucks because it creates barriers to innovation and competitors entering. It’s also so much easier to just copy what is already out there and get away with mediocracy, than to do the hard work of eliminating what sucks.

The companies who achieve remarkable things however, hoover up what sucks, one suck at a time. It’s fun, it’s motivational and attracts the best talent.  Casper “is focused on the benefit, not the feature,” says Mike Duda, founder and managing partner of Bullish, a tech accelerator and investor in Casper. “People want to buy into something better. They’re buying into a set of values.”

If your team is not asking the question “what sucks in our industry/business?” chances are someone else will, and then they, not you, will be doing the disrupting, getting the promotion, bonuses and getting ahead.

What is exciting is how a new breed of businesses are asking this question and disrupting markets with unprecedented speed. The results are remarkable: “Recently, Casper’s success enticed Target to float a $1 billion buyout offer, which the company quickly declined. “We didn’t get that far with it,” says CEO and cofounder Philip Krim “We’re a three-year-old company, and we think we can be a lot bigger than this.” In the end Target opted to invest in Casper, an opportunity to good to miss.

Sucking to Succeed

This is why “That sucks! Can we make it better?” is the most important question to ask. Identifying and eliminating what sucks not only offers up the most amazing business opportunities but it will also future proof you from robotic replacement. AI, robotics and smart machines will never master – well not for the foreseeable future – the skills and values needed to answer and address this powerful question. These skills are inherently human and include: empathy to care that it sucks; curiosity to look at things differently; creativity to innovate different workable solutions; intuition to sense when and how to make adjustments; inspiration to encourage others to follow and collaboration. These values are what make humans such an awesome species. Not only will mastering the art of hoovering up what sucks; future proof you and your team from robotic replacement; but, you will also discover that your next promotion, bonus or killer business ‘unicorn’ idea is staring you directly in the face.

To suck up, succeed and achieve remarkable things, insert formula below and prepare for lift-off:

This <INSERT YOUR INDUSTRY’S SUCKS HERE> Sucks! How Can We Make It Better? <YOUR ANSWER HERE>

 

 

The post That Sucks! How Casper became a $750 Million company in 3 years. appeared first on Tomorrow Trends.

Categories: Our Associates

Pages

Subscribe to www.urbancanyon.biz aggregator