What you'll find below are some of the best articles on strategy that were shared in the CTOdaily newsletter in 2018.
For more content like this delivered right to your inbox, head to buckhamduffy.com/subscribe.
Digital transformation is top of the agenda for leaders everywhere. Developments in the internet of things, big data and AI are causing seismic shifts in corporations globally. "The evidence suggests that we are seeing a mass disruption in the corporate world...Since 2000, over 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies have been acquired, merged, or declared bankruptcy, with no end in sight. In their wake, we are seeing a mass “speciation” of innovative corporate entities with largely new DNA, such as Amazon, Box, Facebook, Square, Twilio, Uber, WeWork, and Zappos. Mass-extinction events don’t just happen for no reason. In the current extinction event, the causal factor is digital transformation."
Disruption, the "process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses”, is coming. It's hard to see a headline that doesn't reference the impending tech-ocalypse. But how likely is your industry to be disrupted? Research conducted by the authors of this piece have found that it is not only possible for business executives to assess how susceptible their industry is to disruption, but also why. Check out the 2x2 matrix to see how your industry stands!
The Facebook controversy has gotten a lot of people talking about who has control of our data. Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon have so much data on us that some say they know more about us than we do. It may seem obvious, but it's still worth exploring why the concentration of data in the hands of a few private companies is a bad thing. The piece linked above outlines some of these reasons. They include: Lower-quality products with less privacy. Surveillance and security risks. Wealth transfer to data-opolies. Less innovation. Moral concerns.
How do you keep up with the speed of change in the digital age? This piece by McKinsey highlights that the organisations that are getting it right are "creating adaptive, fast-moving organizations that can respond quickly and flexibly to new opportunities and challenges as they arise". To improve your organisation's dynamism, the authors of the piece say that you should: Worship speed Shift to an emergent strategy Distribute decision making Personalise talent programs Rethink your leadership model Cultivate purpose and values
Moore's Law is one of the most famous observed technology trends. It describes the regular doubling of the number of components that can fit on a square inch of a circuit board. This has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the cost of computing power. Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, said that graphics processing units (GPUs) are governed by their own sort of law, which some have dubbed "Huang's Law". In a recent keynote, Huang pointed out that "Nvidia’s GPUs today are 25 times faster than five years ago. If they were advancing according to Moore’s law, he said, they only would have increased their speed by a factor of 10." Speed is not the only relevant measurement, however. Huang claims that GPUs need a law of their own as "they benefit from simultaneous advances on multiple fronts: architecture, interconnects, memory technology, algorithms, and more."
To be able to navigate the rapidly changing technology environment an understanding of AI and how to train intelligent systems is necessary for success. The piece I've linked above is an analysis of more than 400 use cases across 19 industries and nine business functions highlights the broad use and significant economic potential of advanced AI techniques. The piece is broken down into 4 sections: Mapping AI techniques to problem types Insights from use cases Sizing the potential value of AI The road to impact and value
This is 2018 Digital Business Report produced by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte is a must-read. In the report, they describe that "digitally maturing organizations encourage distributed leadership and a healthy appetite for experimentation." Some key takeaways include: 90% of executives, managers, and analysts said they need to update their skills at least yearly to work effectively in a digital world. 50% digitally maturing companies report a need for new leaders to drive digital transformation success.
Growth is great. Nearly all companies want to grow. However, it's easier said than done. The authors of this piece conducted a number or surveys and found that "while 80% of executives know that their companies’ success depends on introducing new products and services, more than half agreed that their companies dedicate insufficient resources to support innovation." The researchers then boiled down different categories that growth can spring from. New processes New experiences New features New customers New offerings New models For examples of each, check out the piece.
In a survey of 10,000 senior leaders, 97% of them said that being strategic was the leadership behaviour most important to their organisation’s success. In another study, 96% of the leaders surveyed said they lacked the time for strategic thinking. How crazy! Talk about misaligned priorities. The constant flood of emails, meeting requests and the little fires that pop up each day that need to be extinguished are examples that can take away from the important, creative time and energy necessary for effective strategising. This is unproductive. Leaders who work in flow states get 5x more done than their peers. How are you spending your time? Are you always 'busy'? Busy doing what? Do you have time to relax and think blocked away on your calendar?
Each year, research firm Gartner comes out with a graph that represents the maturity, adoption and social application of specific technologies. The picture above its the graph for 2018. Some of the technologies they peg to be 2-5 years away include virtual assistants, 5G networks and deep learning (a method for training AI systems).
Quantum computers promise to run calculations far beyond the reach of any conventional supercomputer. Quantum computers store information in quantum bits, or qubits. Qubits can exist in superpositions of 1 and 0 (so, both at once), "and entanglement and a trick called interference can be used to find the solution to a computation over an exponentially large number of states." They could break encryption, supercharge artificial intelligence by crunching through data more efficiently and do things we aren't even sure of yet. However, quantum computers wont just solve any problem. For many calculations, a quantum computer would actually be slower than classical machines. According to Isaac Chuang, a professor at MIT, the quantum revolution will not really begin until a new generation of students and hackers get to play with practical machines. But that's looking like a reality, as in 2016 IBM connected a small quantum computer to the cloud. Using a programming tool kit called QISKit, you can run simple programs on it. Check it out!