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Innovation as a mindset

Innovation is the beating heart of continued success in today's world, both personally and professionally. In a study by consultancy Innosight, featured in the FT Advisor, it is suggested that technological change, which is happening at a rapid rate, will result in the replacement of nearly 50% of the current S&P 500 over the next 10 years. Increased automation, AI and robotics are changing the future of work, so what does this mean for us?

July 2021: Anna wakes up on rainy Tuesday morning in Perth, marketing was her dream job and today Anna’s role is to recommend to the board which of 4 new product lines to mass market. Anna spends her day analysing diverse raw data sets using excel with complex pivot tables. She first assesses its integrity. In the Excel export a few data sets become corrupted, these are deleted as she can't make sense of them anyway. Anna spends too much time converting the data into an understandable state, using a range of charts and tables, after what feels like hours of playing with the data Anna becomes frustrated with the latency, just as excel crashes for the third time. She yells at her poor colleague Sophie who innocently came to offer her a cup of tea. With the deadline looming Anna uses the data she can make sense of, combined with her own experiences and intuition, to put together the recommendations for the board, and pitches, uncertain and unsure.

With the advancement in technology, during the World Economic Forum 2020 it was anticipated that 85 million jobs globally will become displaced in the next 5 years, however an estimated 97 million new jobs may emerge.

Roles which now rely on technology will transform to roles which manage technology. AI requires ethical oversight, innovation requires creativity, and decision making requires assessment rather than analysis. Transferable skills such as strategic decision making, communication and critical thinking become more important.

So... what could Anna’s day look like in 5 years?

Anna’s company has recognised the competitive advantage that could be realised by embedding sophisticated AI and Machine Learning into their business processes. They have invested in upgrading the data centres and underlying technology and Anna has herself gone through an advanced data science course to learn new ways to synthesise data and drive new insights.

Anna wakes on a rainy morning, which is no worries as her skim cappuccino is delivered by an Uber drone. She accesses automated reports pulling data from over one hundred different data sources and spends the morning assessing the data, retrieving key insights. She prepares the report on the four product lines in under an hour, and doesn’t get frustrated at anyone.

Able to spend more time thinking creatively and strategically about what the organisation can do to maximise profitability and diversify attractive product lines, and less time gathering data and making reports, Anna identifies a new potential product line and that now would be a perfect time to expand into the US.

Business innovation is changing the ways roles are performed, with these undefined pathways, individual preparation for the future of work is vital. Innovation is a mindset. By being open to change, saying yes to new opportunities, developing transferable skills, and seeking opportunities to broaden perspectives to challenge our ways of thinking, it is possible to thrive in the future of work. Find out more at Venture: The Student Innovation Centre.

Written by Anna Cortier and Chloe Bull

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