PALO IT was thrilled to be present and contribute to this year's World Economic Forum New Champions Leadership Dialogue. Held over two days in New York City, the event offered the opportunity for fellow thought leaders, change makers and business heads to get together in person to discuss some of our industry's most striking changes, technology's most notable innovations, and our planet's most urgent needs.
The New Champions community is made up of inspiring leaders from mid-sized companies, set on solving complex issues, sharing innovative solutions, and showcasing actions as responsible proponents of stakeholder capitalism. That said, we saw a number of prescient topics brought to the table this year:
Melanie Subin, Managing Director of Future Today, gave a groundbreaking presentation on the key innovation influencing the future of business. From assistive technologies, to generative AI, AR, and synthetic media - the user experience is being enhanced every single day. Understanding these customers—their wants, needs, and norms—needs to be our centre of attention in 2023. Read more in our own series on 2023 tech trends.
The darker side of this innovation is that it also opens us up to potential vulnerability. 1 of every 4 companies will be hacked, so it’s no surprise cybersecurity is a topic high on the docket for every organisation. Businesses need to be prepared, and not just reactive, but proactive in their approach. Cybersecurity must step outside the bounds of IT – leadership and boards in particular must be informed on the risk, and benefits, of investing in the protection of their digital assets. This approach goes hand-in-hand with data management in many of the successful security projects PALO IT has been a part of.
Industry CSOs are focusing more and more on regenerative projects and the circular economy, not only as boons for the planet, but as accelerators for business success. The workforce 4.0 is re-skilling to address these trends, with an estimated 1 billion people involved with these projects by 2030. 300 million people across 30 countries have already made the change.
Speaking of the workforce - an estimated 300 million jobs will be replaced by generative AI. This has massive implications for both businesses and society at large - how can we smoothen the transition? What new roles and job descriptions will be created in the process? It doesn’t have to be painful, but digital transformation is a topic urgent to all industries, and is a key focus for our client projects.
The event played host to Evy Pompous, former Special Agent in the United States’ Secret Service, who gave an eye-opening presentation on leadership. Skillsets of good leaders are evolving for the better – authenticity, active listening, authority, ego management, competence and adaptability. Business leaders should take a cue from Pompous’ well-informed insights, this is how effective teams are built.
From a more organisational perspective - Amy Wilkinson, Lecturer in Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business, led a talk on the leadership and business skills for creating and scaling a “breakout business”. A few crucial grains of advice for hopeful companies: focus on the goal rather than the journey, be quick in the observe-oreint-decide-act cycle, use failures as learning opportunities, and surround yourself with knowledge-sharing. This particular talk hit home for us, as many of these tenets are inherent in Agile ways of working.
Finally, piggybacking off a fruitful dialogue in Davos last year, discussions around energy affordability, sustainability, security and supply again came to the forefront. As leaders, it's not only our job to lead our teams and organisations, but also lead towards meaningful change. Net zero commitment of large organizations by 2040/2050 is going to be essential as we progress towards sustainability, and there is a fast-growing sentiment that businesses need to not only get on board, but lead, in this endeavor. First movers are acting now to make an impact.
It was a pleasure exchanging thoughts, expertise, and hopes for the future with our fellow WEF New Champions. What shifts do you see on the horizon? How is your business addressing this sea change? Get in touch, we'd love to get the conversation started around how we're shaping our businesses, our industry, and our future.