The Future is …Um …Now


The Self -Insurance Institute of America (SIIA) national conference in Austin TX on Sep 23-25 was led off by a keynote from Mike Walsh entitled "Designing your business for the 21st century." His tagline is even cooler than mine - "futurist, global nomad, speaker." Because I presented "The Year 2030: What’s Ahead for the Workers’ Compensation Line of Insurance" at the Insurance Council of Texas Work Comp conference two weeks prior, thinking ahead was certainly top-of-mind for me so the timing of this keynote was perfect.

Mike (although we did not meet he seemed approachable so we'll go on a first-name basis) did an excellent job of talking about what is happening now that is shaping the future. And how not embracing change can be a fatal mistake to business (and, in my perspective, to individuals). So much of it resonated that I took notes and then tweeted them out afterwards. In case you're not following me @RxProfessor, I thought his #WordsOfWisdom would be helpful for all to see.

  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh Are leaders - of any kind - ready for the transformation from the analogue to algorithmic (AI) age? FYI ... It's been underway for awhile.
  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh What happens in 2030 will not be about the millennials but about today's 8-year olds. Technology is native to the way they look at the world (think about it, when we want them to be quiet we put a "screen" in front of them, so we are "training" them).
  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh Amazing fact for today ... 90% of 2-year olds know how to use a smart device. NINETY PERCENT! Do you remember what you were doing at two years of age? Their expectation of the world will be (already is) different.
  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh Kids have grown up talking to things to get things done. And now facial recognition. They're OK with data being used to predict what they want (or what they WILL want) based on behavior. How does this impact your business model? Probably a lot. Now.
  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh Being connected can change behavior. How many people stand up when their Fitbit tells them to? We are being "taught" different behavior by things ... connected to data ... processed thru AI.
  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh In this new age everyone must constantly challenge their assumptions. The future is not an upgrade on the present but an invitation to think in an entirely new way. Have the courage to ask dangerous Qs about the present.
  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh Encourage everyone in your business - in your family, community - to help YOU re-think what should be done differently. Their feedback, young to old, can help YOU re-frame present/future.
  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh Transformation comes from seeing corporate culture as an operating system. The future does not demand start-ups but scale. There needs to be a mindset of agility, adaptability, a willingness to transform.
  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh The people that will thrive in the future (and the present) are those that make good decisions in ambiguous circumstances and are energized by unknowns. Agile thinkers.
  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh The future of productivity in the workplace is getting smart people together in a collaborative environment. Empowered people, co-located with other smart people, that all want to be there. "Working from home" may be the past.
  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh ATMs are a good example. Some teller jobs went away. But opening a branch was cheaper (so more locations). And teller jobs became less about counting money and more about social skills. So jobs weren't extinct - they just changed.
  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh Algorithmic leaders need to have a deep understanding of human complexity - empathy. They also need to have computational structured thinking. Are you analogue or algorithmic? If the former, you may be replaceable.
  • #SIIAAustin @mikewalsh "Everything that has made you successful until now may be exactly what kills you in the future". Think big. Think new. Think quick. In other words ... think!

I highlighted three above that specifically spoke to me. Others may resonate with you. All should be a clarion call to pay attention.

So what does all of this mean? If you think how you've done things will be how you'll always do things, you're wrong. Massively. And you'll be left behind. The future is being built today, on top of yesterday, and every choice to resist change will doom your future. In business and in life.

It's as simple as A-B-C ... Always Be Changing. Because the future is ... um ... now!


Mark Pew, SVP of Product Development and Marketing for Preferred Medical, has been focused since 2003 on the intersection of chronic pain and appropriate treatment, ranging from the clinical and financial implications of opioids, benzodiazepines and other prescription painkillers, to the evolution of medical marijuana, to advocacy for the BioPsychoSocialSpiritual treatment model. Educating is his job and passion. Contact Pew here, on LinkedIn at markpew, or on Twitter @RxProfessor.


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