Amber Johnson is the CVDL’s corporate relations advisor and a non-profit and small business communications specialist.
Last weekend I made a startling discovery: my 18-month old daughter knows how to flip through the screens on my iPhone. This amazes me: the home computer was non-existent when I was born, and my daughter will never know a day when her life wasn’t entirely entwined in the digital world.
Bob Johansen, a leadership futurist who has consulted with some of the world’s largest companies, would have a piece of advice for me: when it comes to technology, let your children mentor you.
Technology is changing the way we parent, but it’s even more rapidly changing the business world. Johansen says the developments of the next 10 years will leave old technologies in the dust. Leaders will need to adapt, flipping dilemmas (problems that have no solution) into opportunities.
At a recent CVDL event in downtown Chicago, Johansen shared some of his insights into the future with 70 business leaders. A world-renowned specialist in 10-year forecasting, Johansen identified three key trends for business leaders to understand:
1.Digital natives will think differently, and make very different futures. Johansen envisions a future where the interface between our physical and digital worlds happens seamlessly. Digital natives, he says, will expect technology at work to reflect this seamlessness because their video games have exposed them to tremendous graphics and computing power. Savvy leaders will look for opportunities to develop new technologies and to equip digital natives globally with the resources to shape their own futures.
2.The next economic driver will be biology and global well-being. As science gives us a richer understanding of the way our brain drives our bodies, we will learn to monitor our own health using technology. This provides tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs. It also provides a charge for all leaders: “Ten years ahead,” says Johansen, “to be a top leader, you won’t be able to do it if you aren’t healthy.”
3.Reciprocity based innovation in the cloud will be the biggest innovation opportunity in history. Research shows the act of giving results in pleasure and meaning for the giver: a scientific defense of the Golden Rule. As technology leads us to a more open world, economies of exchange and reciprocity will develop. Learning how to give away content, with the expectation of getting even more in turn, is an opportunity facing global business leaders.
To lead ethically in this changing landscape, Johansen counsels his clients to develop the skill of “quiet transparency”: do the right thing, be transparent, and be quiet about it. “People will notice,” he says.Johansen, who is a distinguished fellow with the Institute for the Future (IFTF), was joined by David Small, McDonald’s vice president of Global Talent Management and the Leadership Institute. Small, a frequent collaborator of Johansen’s, shared examples of how the fast food giant has applied IFTF’s forecasts to draw actionable insights.
The June 16 event at which Johansen and Small spoke is part of the CVDL’s ongoing Senior Executive Roundtable Series, which is designed to inform and inspire senior executives who are committed to leading at the intersection of ethics, sustainability and business results.
Plan to join the next Senior Executive Roundtable on Oct. 14: Creating Sustainable Value. Watch for more details at www.cvdl.org/roundtable.
For more details on the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, visit our web site, www.cvdl.org.