Strategy and the art of the possible

We have a new essay published by Deloitte Insights, Strategy
and the art of the possible
. This essay is the result of us pulling together a few threads that we’d been exploring in other areas. The most recent of these was Negotiating the digital-ready organisation, where we explored the idea of thinking about the digital workplace in terms of three interrelated ecosystems: the human, place and digital. One could view this essay as the intersection of that ecosystems view with idea of the extended mind that has been popping up in quite a bit of our other work—such as being one of the underlying themes in our recent series on creativity in business.

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Investing in creative potential

We have a new essay published by Deloitte InsightsInvesting in creative potential. This essay is the third in our series on creativity in business, and explores how a firms leader’s invest to improve the firm’s creativity. The challenge that there is more to creativity than individual skill, and so simply training staff in some creativity technique (such as design thinking) will do very little to improve creativity. We need a more holistic approach.

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Negotiating the Digital-Ready Organization

We have a new essay published by Deloitte InsightsNegotiating the digital-ready-organisation, a collaboration with Alex Bennett at NTT. This builds on our previous work on the transition to working digitally, Reconstructing the workplace, by trying to imagine what this future workplace might look like.

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What skills gap?

A lot of angst has been devoted to discussing the skills gap—the large and growing gap between the skills workers hold and those sought by employers. Reports have been written quantifying the skills gap, how it’s a drag on the economy, or estimating just how much the economy might boom if we manage to close it. One estimate has closing the gap as adding US$11.5 trillion to global GDP by 2028.

Think pieces and TED talks promote “the skills you need”. Training schemes and education incentives have been implemented to reskill workers, providing them with new skills, skills more relevant to a digital age. Despite these efforts, the skills gap continues to grow. It’s now ‘catastrophic’, a ‘critical issue’ for educators, employers and government.

The problem is that the more we’re looked into the skills gap, the less we’re convinced that it’s a problem. This isn’t to say that there aren’t challenges we must overcome as we sail into our digital future—it’s just that the skills gap doesn’t seem to be one of them.

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The digital economy

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being on the panel for Blockchain and the Digital Economy at ADC’s Leadership Forum. The session outline led with three questions:

  • How has 2020 accelerated the acceptance of the digital economy?
  • Is blockchain fulfilling its promise as the new universal disruptor?
  • How real is the role of cryptocurrencies as the new universal store of value? 

It’s a large topic and an important one, as if we’re to address challenges such as growing inequality then we need to find a way to make the economy work for all of us, rather than just some of us.

Unfortunately, as too often happens, adding blockchain to a topic results in blockchain dominating the discussion with other interesting ideas ignored. Blockchain is quickly positioned as the solution and all other ways of framing (and understanding) the problems we face are ignored. This panel was no different in this regard.

Some of the ideas that would have been relevant in a broader discussion are things that I’ve been exploring for a while. Before the panel I’d pulled together an outline of the argument as to why our future is not “the digital economy”, but something much more interesting, and which creates more opportunity and freedom to act in addressing the challenges we’re facing. Rather than let a good outline go to waste I thought I’d build it out a little and publish it here.

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