Oslo Business Forum, the team that brought Barack Obama to your front door, has done it again. This time, instead of trying to outdo the presence of Barack Obama, they changed the game by giving the focus to the event, not the keynote speaker.
Ever since OBF brought Barack Obama to their last event – The Future of Technology and Sustainability – the question going around has been: how are they going to raise the bar? Last Thursday (4th of April, 2019), they showed us how. They didn’t follow the same mindset as the general public, because they understand that their target market are the business people of Oslo, as opposed to fans of keynote speakers. This however does not mean that the conference is irrelevant to others, but especially relevant for those with a business mindset, like the students at BI. Tickets to get in carries a hefty price tag, but fear not, Inside attended the event to provide you with a breakdown of the information shared.
The event called Digital Leadership, revolved around how the modern business platform is rapidly evolving through digitalization and how business leaders should adapt. The keynote speaker was fittingly the CTO of Amazon, Dr. Werner Vogels. The roster of 13 speakers building up to the keynote speaker were equally as impressive. We will give you a breakdown of the most important insights shared by three key preliminary speakers and the keynote speaker himself.
The event opened by Kate Darling, Leading Expert in robot-ethics at MIT, who answered the long asked question: will robots take over our jobs? Years after the introduction of ATMs, everyone believed bank-tellers would become redundant, but they are still alive and kicking. Instead of stealing their jobs, ATMs merely redefined the job of bank tellers. Kate believes this is the biggest form of transformation robots are going to bring to the future workplace. However, she mentioned that the degree of automation will vary highly on the industry concerned.
The next up was Kjell Nordstrom – economist, writer, and public speaker. Kjell, was arguably the most charismatic speaker of the whole roster, with over 20 years of experience in global economics. He says that life is an ever-changing matrix and that currently, it is changing faster than ever. He believes that we are currently experiencing the fastest urbanization process in human history, “… we will take this planet and transform it from 200 countries into 600 cities…”. He expects these 600 cities to account for 80-85% of the global population and 90-95% of the global GDP, and he believes this occurs in the recent future of 2050 with Oslo at its forefront. He also dove into how digitalization has boosted the speed of development but shortened the life cycle of temporary monopolies – companies that develop products/ services with no substitution for a temporary period of time. Sharing of information and creation of new technologies are robust as a result of rapidly increasing physical and digital infrastructure.
The third speaker was Peter Hinssen, entrepreneur and author. Peter talks about how digitalization has changed our way of life and that gaps in the mindsets of the newer and the older generations are ever expanding. He talks about how the relevance of innovations are short-lived and how business leaders should take an active, adaptive stance towards new technologies. Peter introduces a concept on how people tend to focus most of their attention on the tasks of today against the ones of tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. He believes that people are misappropriating their attention as the activities of tomorrow creates more value for us than the ones of today. He also talks about how companies that are investing their resources in developing new products are falling behind the companies that are building on their core strengths by innovating their services, the markets they operate in or even their whole business model. A prime example of this is Amazon, which started off selling books online and is now the biggest E-commerce company in the world.
But Amazon did not just go from point A to point B at the snap of a finger, rather they had to adopt a “try, fail and succeed” approach, emphasized by Dr. Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon. Dr. Werner talked about the big misconception of most companies that believe they have to perfect an action before implementing it. He believes that an action developed at only 80% should suffice for launch. The benefit of this is that you save yourself valuable time and you get to see if the action is success or failure. And if it is a failure, you can relaunch the refined version as you know what went wrong, he says. But in order to make this process of “try, fail and succeed” process feasible, companies need to minimize the cost of failure, this could be to either launch at a small scale or partner with a peer and etc. This, he believes is one of the keys to the success of Amazon.
What is quite intriguing is that Oslo Business Forum is also built around a similar form of philosophy, which they also believe to be key to their success. More about this can be read here: “What Makes Oslo Business Forum so Successful?”