Reflecting on the ways we worked 15 years ago feels like gazing into another world. If you wanted to check your emails out of hours, you didn’t have a smartphone to do it on; you used a Blackberry or a mobile made by Nokia. We had yet to truly reap the business benefits of social media, as at the time Facebook was just for students, Twitter was still a year from introduction, and we wouldn’t post to Instagram for another five years. Jobs like SEO specialist, UX designer, Cloud services manager, and more simply did not exist. We even sent faxes still – and regularly!
That was 2005, which simultaneously feels like yesterday and eons ago. If that much change can happen in the workplace within a period of 15 years, imagine what the next five, ten, or 15 years will bring.
The truth is, the future of work is already here. It’s just unevenly distributed. Certain industries and sectors have adapted quickly to new technology and have been successfully implementing it for a while now. Even in the laggard industries, there are certain companies that either had the foresight or the budget to adapt quickly, and now find themselves leagues ahead of their peers and competitors as a result. But soon enough, those laggards will be faced with a sink-or-swim ultimatum to either catch up or be left behind for good.
It can be extremely hard to prepare when you aren’t sure what lies ahead, or how to get there. Many times, it is a team and stakeholder alignment issue of getting people onto the same page quickly – and understanding all voices. In the face of so much disruption and rapid change, how can you scale top line growth at the right margin, ensure high performance, improve employee wellbeing and customer experience, or develop and successfully execute new business strategies? The answer lies in Augmented Intelligence – Consulting (AI-C).
Before you can prepare for what’s next, you need to understand exactly what that entails. Many people hear the term ‘future of work’ and envision a world run by robots or a scene from a science fiction film. While elements of increased automation will play a key role in the future workforce, what we’re discussing here is much less drastic as humans and robots work together to form hybrid working. As mentioned, the future of work is already here; it’s just that your organisation may not be there yet.
Essentially, the future of work involves humans and technology working together in partnership to accomplish tasks in a more agile, effective, and efficient manner than ever before. Smartphones, social media, and other technology have become commonplace not only in the office, but in our everyday lives. As a result, today’s customers and multi-generational workforce increasingly value personalised, immersive data-driven experiences.
Business leaders have access to more data than they ever have before. In fact, the total amount of data that is created, captured, copied, and consumed globally is forecast to reach 59 zettabytes in 2020 and more than double to 149 zettabytes by 2024. Businesses are beginning to understand the value of the data they generate and collect, but many are struggling to use it properly. Technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) can help to make sense of and use this data in ways we never would have imagined possible previously.
New software and tools are introduced to the market daily, all of which aim to turn available data into insights or to accomplish a specific task. There are tools available that can monitor every online conversation about your brand to provide insight into customer attitudes, write content for you, handle your hiring, identify sales opportunities, and so much more.
Surely, tech-driven environments require tech-focused solutions. But there’s so much more to this than simply adopting some new tools and updating your equipment.
The humans involved in the change process are far more important than the technology. Most change or transformation programmes fail because of misalignment, with research sources quoting between 50% to 84% over the last 25+ years, which negatively impacts careers and business progress. The way that leaders think and manage their teams needs to become more agile and flexible in order to keep up with the rate of change and effectively execute new growth strategies.
It’s ‘easy’ for the C-suite to decide to sign off a transformation process, but most of the implementation will happen at every level of the business. A typical team raises on average 167 opinions on a given topic and 61 barriers as to why it can’t be done. If there is discord, lack of clarity, or miscommunications throughout the business, the change process has a very high potential for failure.
This is where Augmented Intelligence – Consulting (AI-C) can be massively advantageous. This advanced method of management consulting combines concepts from Harvard academics Professor Chris Argyris (Action Science) and Professor Thomas Schelling, a Nobel Prize recipient (Game Theory), as well as SchellingPoint’s applied research into Relational Network Analysis. It has been proven in over 500 real-world business projects and applications. This breakthrough in change management and leadership methodology is also now being taught at some of the US and UK’s leading business schools including Wharton, Warwick and Cornell.
Through this ‘lean’ consulting process, AI-C helps business leaders produce a credible and complete roadmap to address today’s business, cultural and digital transformations. This can include the creation of a new target operating model, cost reduction, efficiency, productivity requirements and strategic growth. AI-C gives everyone in the organisation a voice in co-shaping change and optimises alignment to future goals. It accelerates business-focused learning, reduces bias, increases collaborative thinking and insights in relation to securing future business goals. As a result, AI-C helps leaders adapt and increase the speed of decision-making to rapidly changing marketplaces, overcome increased competition, improve processes by implementing automation or next-generation technologies, determine policies, and develop new market-winning business strategies.
One of the key benefits of AI-C is its cost-effectiveness. It is delivered predominantly through virtual dialogues without the need for in-person meetings or workshops, which is ideal in the COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 world. The average timeline for an AI-C project is 6-8 weeks but it can be completed in as little as 3 days. Therefore, the AI-C process is concluded as efficiently and effectively as possible for significantly less cost than deploying internal resources and results in a more reliable, valid and endorsed set of actions to deliver business outcomes.
Business has come a long way in recent years, and there’s more change yet to come. While some businesses thrive ahead of the curve, others risk getting left behind indefinitely if they do not adapt to the rapidly changing marketplace. It’s clear that in this face-paced and increasingly competitive space, the old tools and methods of leading will not suffice. AI-C can help business leaders undergo their transformation process as effectively as possible by ensuring organisational alignment. In a time where leaders and workplaces need to become more agile to succeed, AI-C is fit for purpose for the digital age and gives both internal/external stakeholders more of a voice in tackling any business challenge.
We invite you to join us for our Future of Work virtual seminar on 18th November. Associate Director Russell Beck and Rialto Director Richard Chiumento will examine the global trends impacting the workplace and providing useful insights into how organisations and employees can futureproof themselves. Register here
Additionally, to learn more about our AI-C methodology, you can join Associate Directors Lesley Lindberg and George Mystkowski for our virtual seminar on 3rd December where they will be sharing how one Company used AI-C to help shape and implement new and high performing working practices following COVID-19 challenges. Register here