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Neuroscientist and author of The Trust Factor, Paul Zak, has spent years studying what builds trust between individuals. His findings are remarkable and yet surprisingly simple. According to Zak, the most important factor at play in gaining trust is our ‘humanness’. When we are real, vulnerable and even fallible, oxytocin is released in the brains of others – a neuro-mechanism humans have used for centuries to determine who we can trust.
This is an important revelation for every leader, professional or brand. For years we have worked hard to project sanitized and corporatized versions of ourselves. Spin doctors and corporate communications departments have tended to carefully craft every message in an effort to ensure communication is predictable, reliable and on-brand.
This approach has well and truly seen its day. In an era of post-truth paradigms, endless marketing, pervasive non-human tech and eroded trust, polished professionalism and corporate spin simply does not stand up to scrutiny. In place of the impersonal corporate giants of yesterday, consumers today are looking for brands that have an organic personality and act with authenticity.
The problem of renewable energy is arguably the most pressing of our time. As governments scramble to keep up with the pressures of rising temperatures and public demand, the need for large-scale energy solutions continues to grow exponentially.
Sourcing, storing and distributing power have been among the key issues that have held society back in its pursuit of renewable sources. Innovators have laboured for years over questions of where to find tomorrow’s energy, how to store solar and wind energy, and how to get it to the people who need it.
Blockchain has steadily grown in popularity over the last couple of years. Bitcoin’s value soared over 70% in 2020 and is projected to reach a price of US$66,000 by the end of this year. With low transaction fees, limited institutional involvement, and ease of use, blockchain presents an attractive opportunity for spenders across the world. But what will this new currency mean for the future of our notes and coins?
Any of us who are familiar with the process of writing will no doubt know the critical importance of fresh perspectives. You can write the work, edit it, proofread it, reread it, and still miss the most glaringly obvious of mistakes. Within seconds, a set of new eyes picks up errors that had simply disappeared into the rest of the writing.
The power and importance of outsiders’ perspectives cannot be overlooked across all works, not least of which our businesses. Falling into comfortable patterns, familiar rhythms and efficient systems is an impulse that is hard to avoid in organisations, but nothing will kill agility, creativity and innovation faster than these.
When did you last truly look at your organization from an outsider’s perspective?
Flying cars and driverless vehicles have almost become a cliché of futurism since the early days of sci-fi. Today’s transport, however, reveals a cliché that is quickly proving itself to be true. With autonomous technology invading both our automotive and aerospace industries, accelerated by the demands of COVID, our transport is moving faster than we thought.
The value of values in today’s world is hard to overstate. In an era of moral upheaval, ethical missteps and depleted trust, people need to know what we stand for – and even more so, they need to see us stand for it.
While the message of corporate values has been drummed into companies for decades, many companies lack a real framework for finding them. Boardrooms filled with executives have watched hours waste away as they attempt to wordsmith lists of abstract values with no clear path through the process. Sadly, the result is often a tokenistic corporate statement that is ultimately inconsequential in the everyday life of the company.
Here are 3 characteristics of effective values to consider in your next corporate values meeting.
We’ve all heard of virtual reality, and by now we’ve also all heard of augmented reality, but the most recent version of these alternate worlds comes with an entirely new term: synthetic reality. Bringing with it countless new opportunities for business, this technology is being used in the most unexpected of places – not least of which the recently announced comeback concert of renowned pop group: ABBA.
Almost every business wants to be known for being innovative, but in a world saturated with systems and bureaucracy, not all businesses have the mindset that will get them there. When it comes to innovation, I often recall a quote by former business professor of the University of San Francisco Oren Harari, ‘The electric light did not come from the continuous improvement of candles.’
Years ago, I visited an acupuncturist following the recommendation of a friend, interested to see how the experience would differ from the dozens of chiropractors and physiotherapists I had seen. It did not disappoint. Where I would have expected him to examine my posture, ask about medical history and order X-rays, this acupuncturist asked to examine my tongue and somehow read with complete accuracy the state of my stress levels, diet and sleeping patterns.
The importance of technology in education is becoming increasingly undeniable in schools around the globe. As the future steadily approaches us, today’s students and teachers simply cannot exclude digital literacy and technological competence from the skillset being learned. COVID has accelerated the integration of technology into schooling, as remote learning has required innovative solutions to everyday lessons.
Australia’s reform to its national assessment program, NAPLAN, to include digital literacy in its testing is a clear indication of the necessary advancements of education in keeping up with the times. COVID has meant that learning these crucial digital skills has become a top priority and students and teachers alike will benefit from this long-term. Online learning, innovative technology and digital abilities as seemingly niche as coding, are now essential for students’ preparation for the future.