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Is your Organisation Future-Proof? | Steve Sammartino | Futurist Speaker - 01 March 2019

Is your Organisation Future-Proof? | Steve Sammartino | Futurist Speaker

Disruptive technology. The Blockchain revolution. Futurism. Start-ups and Entrepreneurship. These trending themes have been thrown around a lot lately. But no one has a more profound understanding of them (and the wider economy) than Steve Sammartino. Last year alone, Steve spoke to over 100,000 people in 14 countries, which is why he’s Australia’s leading futurist and international keynote speaker. Steve is currently working with the Australian Government on designing future-proof transport and education infrastructure.

What are the key technology trends that businesses should be looking towards to future-proof their organisation?

Change is happening quicker than we think. Information technology moves at an exponential pace - it moves faster than the old economy of bricks, concrete and steel did. This means we need to move fast to match it. And the way to do this is to think small. Do lots of small and fast projects to find new ways to satisfy your customers - then scale up once it's proven. The way to have a big impact nowadays is by doing many small fast low-cost technology experiments. We like to call it the MVP (Minimum Viable Product). It works better than a big launch does because the bigger our efforts for change are, the longer they take which creates more chance of it being outdated by the time we get to market. It’s about having innovations which are iterative and adapt to the changes in the world. 

Another important trend is the regulation around technology. Currently, there is a push back against big technology companies and their use of data. I think it is similar to what happened to workplace health and safety in the world of manufacturing. The smartest play in the data economy is to treat ‘data' like a bank would hold customer deposits. Remember that it is an asset that your customers 'have lent to you' and that it needs to be cared for, respected and protected. Customer-centric data and privacy strategy will be a smart strategy which builds brands we can trust in the coming years. And trust is becoming what matters more than anything in the digital world. 

Explain why established organisations should adopt start-up strategies?

Once an organisation is successful and established, it tends to build its operations around its systems and infrastructure instead of its customers. Successful companies end up with more people inside it satisfying internal stakeholders than real customers who buy their products or services. So it naturally leads to the business losing touch with the market a little. This is fine during times of stability, however when new disruptive technology arrives customers can shift where they spend their money very quickly. We’ve already seen this with hotels, taxis, recorded music, photography, newspapers to name a few. So we need to build a startup ethic inside a company. A terrific way to do this is by having internal startups inside the big established company. Have the ’startup inside' compete for the same customers, maybe even be in a separate building. Like a ’skunkworks’. It's a cool way to build a new system, while the old business model can operate separately. By having all these startups inside a big co - it creates a culture of innovation - because there is so much happening and different people trying to find new ways to solve problems for their customers. 

Can you share some ideas of how organisations can be more innovative in 2019?

Here are my top 3 ways for organisations to be more innovative in 2019:

1. Do what you’d do if your business had zero infrastructure. Strategically do and build what you’d be if you were starting out as a company today - regardless of yesterday's investments. This is what true future proof strategy requires.

2. Give employees incentives which make them act like real entrepreneurs. Let them choose their own hours, work from where they want to work, and give them a share in the new revenue streams they create. Treat them like adults where they share in both the upside and the downside of their actions - this is the true ingredients for an innovative culture.

3. Look sideways - the threats that will disrupt your industry aren’t from current competitors - they usually come from unexpected areas, companies from whom you’d not usually compete for market share. Technology doesn’t discriminate by industry, it’s like water and finds the gaps in the market. So be sure to remember the business you’re in is the problems you solve for customers, not how you do it. Disruption is likely to come from a startup you wouldn't notice unless you’re looking for it. Ask yourself this question: How could technology help us do what we do differently? It’s a great start.

You always seem to have an exciting technology project on the go - what are you currently working on?

I’m building the world's most modern house - I’m calling it my Future House project. The idea is to bring all of the new technology going into our homes into one project. The house will be fully 3D printed on site. It will be off-grid and its own power plant. It will have artificial intelligence built into the walls so that you can ’talk to the house’ to tell it what to do. It will even have a drone landing pad on the roof so I can fly over the traffic and into the city. And this is just a few of the features. There’ll be lots of world firsts built into it. It is also going to be a major feature documentary. I’m pretty excited about it - but mostly excited about what the process will teach me about the future and what new concepts I can invent during the project.

 

Learn more about Steve here.

 

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