In my first blog from this year’s Collision1 from Home conference I highlighted the urgent need for courageous leaders to guide us through the disruption in our new reality. The need for courage was closely linked with the reality of ‘acceleration’ – acceleration of advanced technology, acceleration of new workplace models, accelerated growth in some industries and declines in others and accelerated adoption of digital social interactions.
Insights about why courageous leaders are needed in this hyper-accelerated world is the subject of this second blog from Collision from Home.
As Armughan Ahmad (Canadian Managing Partner, Digital and Technology Solutions, KPMG in Canada) described it in the ‘Future skills for a new reality’ roundtable, the education system and corporations have had to accelerate their digitization efforts due to COVID-19. Both now also have a responsibility to ensure that they are upskilling their talent in order to thrive in the new reality.
Armughan summarized four key digitization trends that weaved their way throughout the conference.
- Virtual work/learning environment: Organizations that did not previously promote work from home environments quickly adapted; some companies with pre-existing remote workforces are already moving towards making that a more permanent approach.
- Automation: Coming out of COVID-19, automation will be crucial. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), especially the arts, will become increasingly important as companies look for people who are empathic and creative to add the human element to their automation processes.
- E-commerce over bricks and mortar: In Canada, as an example, small businesses with fewer than 100 employees contribute approximately 51% to the country’s GDP. Among these small businesses are family owned restaurants which are typically some of the last to move toward e-commerce. These companies will need to undergo a digital transformation including employee training to thrive in the digital age.
- Supply chain changes: Many companies rely on offshore supply chains because they are more cost effective. Companies are now looking to source locally, which also opens the door for automation.
Consumer behavior and expectations are accelerating rapidly as well, which is why Rishi Khosla, Co-founder of OakNorth Bank, has suggested that finance will never be the same as we enter a new reality.