Perhaps the biggest threat to the stability of big companies is the empowerment of their customers. As the everyday consumer is gaining a louder voice and greater access to both information and options, businesses are having to fight harder and harder for their attention.
What businesses may not have expected is the further empowerment that would be brought about by 3D printing.
Readin, writin’ and ‘rithmetic… I’m sure that if many of us Gen X and older were to return to our schooling days it may have resembled something like this. For generations, education has involved the rote learning of dates, formulas and quotes which are forgotten as soon as they are assessed.
If there is any industry prone to disruption, it is education. The fundamental place for future preparation, you would expect the schooling system to be ahead of its time with its eyes on the future, but as the world had changed rapidly in recent decades, it has proved itself prone to walking in the steps of the past.
In the world we are living in, it seems that by the day, information becomes more and more convoluted and issues become more and more complex.
Dealing with such a world demands a kind of depth of thought, discernment and understanding that we have previously not had to develop. Issues no longer come with a simple solution and information must be deciphered in order to uncover the truth.
Automation is a word that often strikes fear into workers who cannot help but feel threatened by its emergence in the modern world. Most of what we hear about automation surrounds the ways it will take our jobs and force the everyday worker into irrelevance.
However, there are many ways in which automation will work wonders for our jobs, ways of working and our economy.
If this time has offered any opportunity to us, it is the radical breaking of convention that businesses, brands and individuals have had to respond and adapt to.
It can certainly feel frustrating to have business teams scattered and separated by isolation – communication becomes challenging, the pace of progress is slowed and the sense of togetherness we aim for in a team feels somewhat lost.
However, there is a significant opportunity that comes with the scattering of a team that business leaders would do well to utilise as we slowly begin returning to regular routine.
‘Miriam is quick in the centre but loses heart. Joyce understands the game but could move a little quicker; Audrey places herself well but lacks height.’
I recently came across this extract from the sports notes section of the annual magazine from a girl’s school in the 1930s.
Undoubtedly, for many of us, comments like this would sound completely foreign in the context of schools and workplaces as modern sentiment has steered us towards prolific positivity and away from the unfiltered responses of previous decades. Especially in schools, to speak of any student’s performance and potential in any way other than glowing is unacceptable in a modern context.
As we all settle in to a new online mode of connecting with colleagues and friends from our living rooms and home offices, it seems we are all getting to know each other to a greater extent than ever before. As regular work conversations are now conducted to the background noise of children and kitchen benchtops are serving as the backdrops to Zoom meetings, we are being driven to a level of authenticity that we would potentially never experience in the pre-COVID corporate world.
A few years ago I discovered that my history class had been wrong all along. I’d always been told that in the Japanese invasion of Singapore, the British were essentially caught off guard — that they were ill equipped and failed to recognise the threat until it was too late. In reality, the British were anything but unprepared militarily. The challenge was that they were unprepared mentally.