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In years past, flying cars were the stuff of science fiction and fantasy. Developments of the last decade, however, are seeing the reality of this vision edge closer and closer. Unlike the fantasy and luxury imagined in our previous visions, the future of our driving cars serves practical purposes – cutting down commute times, enhancing efficiency and enabling contactless transactions.  

In the office, it now seems the employer and employee simply want different things. The impasse between company and worker expectations around the future of the in-office work is a key factor driving what’s become known as ‘The Great Resignation.’ While there are some who dismiss this notion as an invention of HR and business consultants, the data does indicate that the latter stages of the COVID pandemic have seen a marked uptick in the number of employees quitting their jobs. In order to keep employees interested, businesses are having to change tactics.

Albert Einstein once suggested that if he had an hour to solve a problem and his life depended on it, he’d spend the first 55 minutes determining the best question to ask. ‘For once I know the proper question,’ he said, ‘I could solve the problem in less than 5 minutes.’[1]

Good questions yield good answers. As pointed out by one of histories greatest geniuses, problem solving is largely dependent on the ability to ask the right questions. But beyond problem solving, good questions are irreplaceable tools in the art of persuasion. Where we are most inclined to bolster our own arguments, ideas or products with supporting facts, stats and data, often the best move is to ask a good question.

The 20th century model of learning has well and truly had its day. Time spent memorising, cramming, and silently listening to teachers lecturing is wasted in an age of accessible information and collaboration. Schools in the 21st century are quickly discovering the necessity of adjusting their teaching methods for an era that makes very different demands of the individual than the previous one.

Thu Apr 4 2022

HOW’S YOUR JUDGEMENT?

We all consider ourselves to be fairly sound judges. When faced with problems or challenges, we tend to trust our judgements and rely on our estimations, believing that we are immune to the biases and mental manipulations that others experience. In a world of fake news, alternative facts and ever-increasing hostility between those of differing opinions, this belief in the superiority of our judgements poses some significant threats.

There are a range of cognitive patterns which we all believe we are immune to, but regularly experience all the same. Here are 3 you might recognise:

We all have our own story of dealing with friction. Hours spent on hold, inefficient systems and arbitrary rules all play a role in making many customer experiences unbearable. The only outcomes of systems such as these are higher costs, confusion and irritation.

For this reason, removing friction and pain points for customers should be at the top of the list of a business’s priorities. Friction relates to the things that make it hard to engage with a business or brand. While flashy slogans and clever advertising can work wonders in drawing customers in, the things that will keep them are well-designed, intuitive systems that make life easier, not harder. As obvious as this may be, businesses all too often neglect this need.

Years ago, Elizabeth Gibson was walking along a street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side when she noticed a framed artwork that had been placed on the curb between two garbage bags for trash collection. Upon closer inspection, Gibson took a liking to the work of art and decided to take it home. In an interview for the New York Times, she admitted “I had a real debate with myself. I almost left it there.”

As innovations continue to proliferate, technology is being increasingly integrated with the human body. Elon Musk’s Neuralink vision epitomises this, with the possibility of a computer-brain interface becoming more and more possible by the day. However, irrespective of this extreme, the embrace of human-integrated technology is evident in our ordinary lives in the form of wearable technology.

The Quantified Self movement and the general focus on fitness have played a significant role in generating a market for wearable technology. However, wearable tech does not end with fitness.

Here are 4 areas that are seeing tech become more wearable than ever:

A few years ago, I was running a strategy workshop with the leadership team of a global medical device firm. As we explored the disruptions that were impacting their business most, one came up that I hadn't previously considered.

An audience member shared that while increased competition and demographic changes were having a significant impact, a new trend that was proving enormously disruptive to their business was how increasingly aware their customers were of price variations across different markets. “In the past,” he said, “a customer in Spain was unlikely or unable to compare the price they were paying for a medical device with that of a patient in New Zealand. That’s all changed now. Our customers do compare and it is doing significant damage to our brand’s perceived trustworthiness.”

This challenge is far from unique. Across the board, consumers are demanding more and more information regarding the products they use on a daily basis.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I was fairly slow to jump on the Facebook bandwagon. Even when the social media site had become relatively mainstream, I was still resistant to join in, dismissing it as time-wasting and superficial. I often caught myself judging my wife as I’d notice her scrolling through Facebook for what felt like hours at a time.

However, when we went on a month’s holiday to the US and my wife was regularly posting pictures of our travels, even I could not resist looking over her shoulder to see the likes and comments we were getting. Eventually one day I actually asked if I could use her Facebook login to jump online to have a look at some photos posted by one of our friends back home who’d just had a baby.

“So now who doesn’t like Facebook, hey!?” she asked with a knowing grin. It was one of those awkward moments where my self-righteousness and hypocrisy was laid bare. Within a few days, I had created an account myself and have been as hooked as most of us are ever since.

Despite our constant frustrations with inconsistencies in others, none of us can honestly deny the presence of incongruence within ourselves. In psychological terms, this behaviour is referred to as cognitive dissonance.

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