Technology continuously evolves; moreover, technology changes rapidly. In turn, leaders today keep up with this constant change. For example, Microsoft’s strategy was to dominate the personal computer and game console as the primary channels to the end user. Enter smartphones and the advantage swung to Apple and Samsung! Similar to Apple and Samsung, how does a leader stay relevant?
To stay current, leaders are lifelong learners and commit to researching and studying emerging technologies. In essence, leaders stay on top of the latest technology trends by reading predictions for the future. To illustrate, Kelly (2011) provides six trends for how the future will be different. In reflecting on these trends, the author of this blog sees a future with Kelly’s (2011) screens of ubiquitous nature, spectacle display glasses, and interactions through the full use of body when utilizing technology. For example, imagine the day when we walk down a city street and pertinent advertising pops out at us on screens displayed on buildings. At the same time, our glasses act as a navigation system to meet a friend at an unfamiliar park. Afterwards, we head home and use our hands and eyes to redesign the layout of the rooms in our house. The increase in productivity is evident and the possibilities seem endless. Thus, a strong leader constantly develops knowledge of the latest technology trends and auguries.
To adapt, leaders are open to technological change because the old way of doing things may not work in the future. Furthermore, leaders sift through the trends and predictions and identify a vision of the emerging technologies that impact the future of their organization. To illustrate, Meeker & Wu (2013) provide low-cost drones as a technology trend for the future. Similarly, Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, recently provided a futuristic vision, which he expects to take place in the next five years, where customers order products on the company’s website and drones deliver the packages directly to customers (“Amazon’s drone delivery,” 2013). This change disrupts the supply chains of many businesses as they are today. Furthermore, what will FedEx look like? Will it change or even exist? Gazing into the future of the author’s own organization in financial services, an investor uses a tablet device to take a loan or withdrawal from their account. Within an hour, a drone delivers a check right to the investor’s door!
Other examples demonstrating his firm’s emerging technology impacts are Wikipedia’s emerging technology of artificial brains (“Emerging technologies,” n.d.) and Kelly’s (2011) sharing of information. His company is already using Wikipedia’s emerging technology of voice recognition (“Emerging technologies,” n.d.) software to identity an investor when call in. Looking into the future, artificial brains are opportunities for his organization. For example, a frequent question his firm receives from investors is where to invest? Imagine if an artificial brain made the initial investment selections on behalf of the investor and monitored the investment strategy ongoing! In addition to screens and interactions alluded to above, Kelly (2011) provides sharing of information as one of his six trends for how the future will be different. Today, investor’s financial information is disjointed and groups that service the investor such as investment providers, accountants, and attorneys operate in silos. Applying sharing, all of the investor’s financial data is shared on a cloud enabling these professionals to provide one comprehensive plan for the investor.
The future of technology is not easy to predict. To reiterate, Microsoft missed the smart phone boat. Likewise, Apple and Samsung risk relevancy if they do not continue to evolve with technology. By staying up to date on future technological trends and predictions and being open to change, leaders analyze the impact of these trends, identify opportunities to capitalize on emerging technologies, and execute the necessary adjustments. In doing so, leaders put their organizations in a chance position for success. What do you think?
Amazon unveils futuristic plan: Delivery by drone. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-unveils-futuristic-plan-delivery-by-drone/
Kelly, K. (2011, July 22). NExTWORK: Kevin Kelly [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXPfSrmzLo0
List of emerging technologies. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved December 2, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emerging_technologies
Meeker, M., & Wu, L. (2013). Internet trends D11 conference [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/kleinerperkins/kpcb-internet-trends-2013?ref=/