The Impact Executives’ Annual Change Leadership Event Summary

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The Impact Executives’ Annual Change Leadership Event Summary

On Tuesday the 15th March 2016, Impact Executives hosted their Annual Leadership and Business Change Event at the Soho Hotel.

Christine de Largy, Managing Director, opened the evening by presenting the results of the Annual Change Leadership Survey and discussed the complexity and ever increasing pace of change and innovation. Process re-engineering is 2015’s top driver of change according to the survey, but digital transformation is the fastest growing. Christine discussed how the role of digital in determining project outcomes will strengthen in 2016. Who better to elaborate on this change driver than keynote speaker Martin Talks.

Martin Talks is an expert in digital transformation and innovation. He has advised many of the world’s biggest brands from Orange to Skype, eBay to TGI Friday’s. But he has also taken his own advice as an entrepreneur, floating on the London Stock Exchange the shares information service ADVFN and setting up and then selling the digital marketing agency Blue Barracuda. He is currently active in advanced technologies such as wearable technology, the Internet of Things and Virtual Reality and is a Digital Trends Expert for Google. But he recognises that digital transformation is about people rather than technology and through his organisation Digital Detoxing aims to make our digital future positive.

Embrace your uncertain futures

Martin opened by discussing technology predictions of the past – errors in extrapolations of data and short sighted depictions of the future. “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” – A quote from Sir Preece of the British Post Office in 1878 that famously didn’t foresee the rise of telecommunications.  Martin gave several examples of technologies on the forefront of change, including Google’s self-driving cars, drones, contactless wearables, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

He discussed how in the 60,000 year history of humans, future hasn’t been something to be concerned with, as only until the last 2000 years life expectancy has increased sharply to approximately 80 years. Martin gave examples of companies leading the way on planning into the future.  One of those examples was Evernote, a company that is planning to become a ‘100-year startup’ and another interestingly was the British Government, who recently made the decision to uphold the centuries old tradition of writing laws on vellum- calf skin that lasts for centuries, despite calls for digitisation. This raised the question of back compatibility for the future – even now floppy discs have become artefacts that are not easily accessed.

Scenario Planning

Martin discussed how scenario planning has its place in looking into the future – the assessment of probable outcomes, possible outcomes and preferable outcomes allows re-consideration of what the future may hold.

A quote from Pierre Wack, the developer of scenario planning -“To operate in an uncertain world people need to be able to re-perceive: to question their assumptions about the way the world works, so that they can see the world more clearly. The purpose of scenarios is to help yourself change your view of reality”.

Martin discussed pharmaceutical companies, who regularly map at least 20 years into the future, as drug development and market release can take decades. These companies can foresee how the existing unsustainable healthcare models will develop into a more individual and tailored system.

The internet of things

This fed into the next topic, where Martin discussed the trust and preconceptions that grow alongside emerging technologies – namely ‘The Internet of Things’, where physical objects are embedded with technology, allowing collaboration of data to enhance the user experience. Some examples were Hive and Nest, both ‘smart home’ gadgets that allow remote control of heating, plugs etc.

Finally Martin spoke on some topics he has worked on, including virtual reality and its potential impact on the work place as well as an innovative product for Nivea. This campaign consisted of a low cost tear away wristband from a magazine that could be used to monitor the distance of your child on the beach using your smart phone.  This effective solution positions Nivea as not only a brand that safe guards your child from the sun, but also keeps them within a safe distance on the beach.

The Creation of Adam

A lasting image that Martin finished on was a recreation of Michelangelo’s ‘The creation of Adam’, with a cyborg hand reaching out to touch the human finger, reiterating that digital transformation is not simply about technology, it is about the relationship between the changing digital world and the people that live in it.

Our thanks to Martin for delivering a very informative and intriguing presentation. Thanks too to our guests and the Soho Hotel for a fantastic evening.

See you all next year!

About Impact Executives Ltd Impact Executives is a leading interim management provider to organisations of every size in the UK and globally. Originally formed as a specialist practice within PA Consulting Group, over the past 25 years Impact Executives has helped over 2000 companies, including more than two-thirds of the FTSE 250 – find the very best executive interim management talent. Clients choose to work in partnership with Impact Executives because of our proven ability to offer clients immediate solutions to improve their organisation’s performance.

With offices covering the UK, continental Europe, Nordics, Asia Pacific and Australia, Impact Executives is part of the global services consultancy Harvey Nash Group plc, giving clients and interim managers the confidence that we have the resources, expertise and focus to deliver results – fast.