Friday Faves – What We’re Reading This Week
Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few choice pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive.
PWC’s 20th CEO Survey
Anne says: PWC have released their 20th annual CEO survey. 20 years of results provides a valuable lens on trends across the globe – including the impact of technology and globalisation on organisations.
“Many CEOs worry that globalisation and technology will eliminate their jobs. In reality, CEOs now recognise the need for talent – 52% plan to increase headcount, but can’t find people with the right skills. And 77% of CEOs are concerned that a shortage of key skills could impair their company’s growth. CEOs know they can’t innovate using technology alone.“
The results are presented both globally and by country – providing the ability to benchmark Australian CEOs viewpoints within a global context. Some of the Australian results may surprise you:
- 80% of Australian CEOs are extremely or somewhat concerned about cyberthreats
- Australian CEOs are happy to embrace these robotics and AI, but on the other hand fail to see the risks involved.
- 70% of Australian CEOs are rethinking the HR function (versus 60% globally).
- 63% of Australian CEOs say trust in business is at an all-time low (versus 58% globally).
The top 5 priorities for global CEOs:
- Human Capital
- Digital and technology capabilities
- Competitive advantage
- Customer experience
Not surprisingly, technology is interwoven through all themes in the report’s four sections. While the human element of trust – from customers, to employees, to partners runs as a parallel stream in the current global political and economical landscape.
If you’re interested in further exploring Digital Leadership, join us in Melbourne on Wednesday 29th March for a panel discussion with Euan Semple, Simon Terry and Anne Bartlett-Bragg. Sorry Sydneysiders – our Sydney panel has sold out!
What to Expect from Artificial Intelligence
Jakkii says: This piece explores the possible impacts of AI on the workplace, an issue both topical and important as we see more and more AI being both developed for and employed by organisations. Much of the commentary has been, in my view, fear-driven to date (i.e. “robots will take your jobs!”), lacking a nuanced and considered view of how AI will change the workplace, and indeed the workforce. Humans and machines will learn to work more closely together than ever before, bringing with it great benefits and the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, new ways of working, and quite possibly new work for humans. It may be an optimistic view, but perhaps advances in AI and their increasing use in the workplace will lead more humans to find meaning from their work – by moving from ‘predictive’ tasks to those requiring judgment, perhaps we will increasingly see ourselves and our minds as valued and valuable to our work, our peers, our organisations, and our communities.
The authors explore the managerial challenge presented by employing AI in the workplace:
“what roles will humans play that emphasize their strengths in judgment while recognizing their limitations in prediction?”
Three insights are provided for consideration:
- Prediction is not the same as automation
- The most valuable workforce skills involve judgment
- Managing may require a new set of talents and expertise
As we move toward the future the authors envision the key challenges for executives to be:
- shifting the training of employees from a focus on prediction-related skills to judgment-related ones;
- assessing the rate and direction of the adoption of AI technologies in order to properly time the shifting of workforce training (not too early, yet not too late); and
- developing management processes that build the most effective teams of judgment-focused humans and prediction-focused AI agents.
This App Uses AI to Track Mansplaining in Your Meetings
Nat says: I found this article interesting because it talks about bias and AI. The problem, however, is the belief that biases can be eradicated through technology. The app itself looks at voice recognition, pitch and the time spoken by each gender in a business meeting. I’m not convinced by the app being able to track ‘mansplaining’, but just like AI, the term mansplaining is getting a lot of traction these days on my social feeds. As a result, I recently purchased (but am yet to read) the 2014 book ‘Men explain things to me‘, as the more I work in a tech-related area, the more the gender debate seems to present itself as an emerging theme (as is the case with the mansplaining app).
Snapchat Popular Among Teens
Emilio says: Brands and marketers seem to be ever-captivated by the millennials – trying to crack how to get to their hearts, minds and wallets. Enter Snapchat – today’s social platform of choice for teens and young consumers. To quote the article, Snapchat now boasts an estimated 160 million daily active users (DAU), with 60% of these between 13 and 24 years old. We all know the story – other dominant social platforms have followed suit, particularly Instagram and now Facebook Messenger, introducing Snapchat-style content sharing features, trying to attract and retain this lucrative audience.
The ever-evolving ephemeral social sharing scene got me thinking – who is winning the battle? Is Instagram beating Snapchat at its own game, as some articles have pointed out in the months after ‘Instagram Stories’ were released? Claims are rife that the high adoption of ‘Stories’ and the continued growth of Instagram users seems to show the weakening of Snapchat and the further strengthening of Instagram.
In the context of the prevailing Snapchat vs. Instagram battle, I saw some interesting tweets and commentary coming out of the #SMWNYC talk on the social media habits of teens and Gen-Z’ers, also found in the same article:
- “Snapchat is more dominant, but most of teens surveyed use both. They serve different purposes” – @michaelbuono
- “Instagram is a popularity measure for broadcast & validation. Snapchat for communication & instant gratification” – @fanfiresocial
- “Why do teens prefer Snapchat? They value authenticity” – @faithpopcorn
Do you use one, or both, platforms? Which of the two do you prefer, and what sort of things would you share with friends on Snapchat and/ or on Instagram? Tell me more on Twitter @esimbie – I’m keen to know!
Design Thinking Lessons From Our Cats
Jakkii says: This is a lighthearted look at design thinking principles as demonstrated by cats:
- Think inside the box
- Push boundaries
- Be lazy
- Don’t be afraid to fail
- Sit in a circle
At first glance, perhaps it’s not so obvious how these correlate to design thinking principles. Be lazy? What kind of advice is that?? Most managers would have a conniption were you to suggest the whole team suddenly start “being lazy.” However the author draws the analogies well, correlating cat behaviour to key skills such as scoping (i.e. understanding the problem), prototyping and iteration, and understanding your resources and limitations in order to make appropriate trade-offs. A good read for those still getting their heads around design thinking, or for those well-versed but in need of an afternoon smile.
Eindhoven Graduate Designs a Gun For Firing Her Tears
Nat says: I tutor at the University of Sydney, and this week we discussed design in business. As part of my teaching preparation, I stumbled across this article which showcases how one design student expressed her struggle with speaking her mind in class. As part of her major project she designed a ‘gun’ that would collect and fire her frozen tears. The gun itself was not what attracted me to the article, but rather the reasons why Chen, the designer, created it. The article states that Chen was brought up with a strong sense of authority and was taught that disagreeing with teachers was rude. I teach a lot of international students, and we encourage them to think for themselves and question their teachers, but many find this difficult because of prior education telling them that to challenge authority is somehow ‘wrong’. For design, the ability to think and question things is just as important as having empathy with end-users. I love how Chen symbolises this reminder for both design processes and the teaching of it.
Leave Gamers Alone – Australian Senator Disapproves of Outlast 2 Classification Refusal
Joel says: If you’re a fan of video games, you may have heard that last week upcoming game Outlast 2 was refused classification and banned in Australia. Some years back Australia introduced an R18+ rating for video games with some government push from our friends at IGEA. Before that any games that did not fit the ratings outline of an MA15+ game had to be censored, edited for Australian release or were just banned completely. However even with the new R18 rating system Outlast 2 has been banned. With the average age of a gamer in Australia being 33, why are we still unable to have the choice to play these games? There aren’t the same limitations on other media types such as movies. An R rating in Australia lets you get away with showing just about anything in a movie, so what’s different about video games?
“All of this operates on the false assumption that people who play video games are impressionable children who would play out anything they saw.”
“It makes me wonder: how is it that adults are not trusted to make choices about video games, and yet they are allowed to vote?”
Luckily it seems gamers have someone in government to be their voice. Senator David Leyonhjelm has spoken out in the Australian Senate and you can read what he had to say in the attached article (or watch the video on the page if you prefer).
UPDATE: Due to pushback in government that this article spoke about, the decision has been overturned and Outlast 2 will now be released in Australia in its original form.