Clients do not purchase technology - they purchase relationships! We should embrace technology, not become hostage to it.


Clients do not purchase technology - they purchase relationships! We should embrace technology, not become hostage to it.

Gerd Leonhard, Future Strategist and CEO of The Futures AgencyinfoRH by IIRH — 31 August 2017The goal of the 2017 edition of the Business Transformation Summit is to support companies in particular and the market in general, helping them become more competitive in the face of challenges that are on the horizon. As such, it will bring together a group of keynote speakers that will challenge our paradigms and open up a necessary and urgent discussion regarding how the technological revolution underway will impact businesses, their way of doing business and their development and leaning processes.RHmagazine spoke to one of the speakers that will be present at this year’s edition – Gerd Leonhard, Future Strategist and CEO of The Futures Agency.

You are of the opinion that clients do not purchase technology – they purchase relationships! How can businesses value their employees more?

Remaining relevant, unique and indispensible in the future is obviously an essential objective for all companies (and all professionals) everywhere. However, technology will continue to generate exponential waves of disruption at an increasingly rapid rate. As such, because technology has become efficient and abundant (take for instance Spotify and how the music business is working), I think we need to concentrate on real human values of businesses, i.e. humanizing technology and concerning ourselves with the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid. The success of a business is not based on operating a well oiled machine or on excellent products sold at fantastic prices, but rather success increasingly depends on the human growth of each organization. In my opinion, companies will begin to value employees more when they realize that technology is not the most important thing, but rather the fact that customer satisfaction cannot be automated! Perhaps this is the driving force behind the partnership related to emotional intelligence in view of benefitting people and society, initiated by FAMIG (Facebook/Amazon/Microsoft/IBM/Google). Clients do not purchase technology – they purchase relationships! We should embrace technology, not become hostage to it.

How can we reduce the negative impact of technological advances?

Technology: “It’s no longer about IF or HOW, but about WHY.” We should not concern ourselves with whether technology can truly do something, rather we should be concerned with what is being replaced and why (followed by who, when and where). First, we should cultivate more awareness and discussion in our society regarding these questions. Then, we should ensure that companies become more responsible and self-regulated. Governments should understand these questions and apply sensible rules and regulations. A mixture of proaction with precaution! As regards the future of work and jobs, we should consider the possibility that as machines become infinitely more capable of doing what humans do, we need to become more human and less machine-like, so we can remain valuable. Ironically, this is the complete opposite of the traditional education models (such as MBAs?) that limit imagination and are guided by schedules and study plans. If you believe in these principles (like me), it is not algorithms, but rather factors such as trust, purpose, ethics and values that will remain at the heart of human societies in the future.

What are the “Megashifts” that will help companies grow their business?

Any organization that seeks to keep abreast of these changes must have a clear vision of what these changes mean and what are the opportunities or threats that can come of them. Megashifts are much more than mere changes in paradigms that reconfigure the old relationship between the past, present and future. Megashifts will change our world more in the next 20 years than it has changed in the last 300 years and understanding them is what will make the difference tomorrow. The 10 megashifts are the key to the success of organizations in the future: digitalization, mobilization, datafication (everything is becoming data), cognition (everything is becoming smart), personalization, augmentation (we can see the world with new eyes), virtualization, automation, disintermediation (the old intermediaries have disappeared), robotization (robots will be everywhere).