The Smart Machine Age is the evolution of technology into industries like logistics, construction, distribution, sales, retail, services and even into some highly trained professional jobs. “If what you do is highly repetitive, reasonably predictable, involves limited choices or involves linear processes, you are at risk. In 2013 Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne of the University of Oxford published the most definitive research to date attempting to predict the magnitude of jobs lost to technology over the next 10-20 years. They predicted that 47% of the U.S. workforce had a high probability of being displaced by technology and another 19% had a medium probability of displacement.”(Ed Hess)
Have you wondered how you will navigate your business building efforts through the rapidly changing environment we’re living in? You probably have a feeling that the old ways of trial and error will take up too much time and you may miss Smart Machine Age capabilities or be wiped out by them. Well, that’s more than likely the way it will be if you’re not prepared with a Future Vision and the strategy to get you through rapid changes and innovations.
However, we shouldn’t go too far with this because we’ll see increasing demands for many occupations. This will include doctors, nurses, health technicians, home health aides, personal care aids, nursing assistants and other service occupations. These jobs will be aided by technology but will still be driven by human activity.
The Innovation Economy is an economy driven by knowledge, technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation. “The major changes in the U.S. economy of the last 15 years have occurred not because the economy accumulated more capital to invest in even bigger steel mills or car factories; rather they have occurred because of innovation.” Dan Robles
James Canton, author of the Extreme Future sums the situation up for us: ”The coming Innovation Economy will herald an age of rapid, dramatic change, one in which ideas that create value, offer solutions, and fulfill needs will thrive, sweeping into recesses of memory the comparatively primitive ideas, products, services, and processes that came before. Innovation will be the prime source of productivity, prosperity, competition, and potentially even peace. Innovation will be recognized as an empowering force that will drive individual prosperity and global competition.”
In “Mr. Spock won’t survive the Smart Machine Age…will you?” Cu-Management reminds us that Mr. Spock was critically concerned with being logical. Remember? He thought humans were inferior because of our emotions. “However, in the coming Smart Machine Age, our emotional intelligence will be the very factor that makes us unique and employable.”
Emotional Intelligence is simply the ability to recognize and control your own emotions as well as the ability to recognize and acknowledge emotions in others. In other words, you understand the strength and importance of emotions in general. Daniel Goldman is the authority in this area.“When we use our emotions to serve and collaborate with each other, there are no limits to our thinking, creativity and performance.” Hess
So, if you want to be highly successful in the Smart Machine Age and beyond, what should you do?
Commit to being a Creative and Innovative Collaborator.
Let’s first summarize some hindrances to effective Collaboration.
-We are not naturally critical and analytical thinkers. We normally just try to confirm what we already know. New ideas or ways of thinking are difficult for most of us to process.
-We are naturally competitive. Our society promotes competitiveness. We work to push our own ideas or opinions forward without regard given to other opinions. Often, we don’t clearly hear other opinions.
-Our primary aim is to show self confidence, to protect our egos.
Now, our Profound Factor for Success in the Machine Age and the Innovation Economy for the promotion of successful creativity and innovation:
Humility is the basic factor that will develop high efficiencies in the skills required for creative and innovative collaboration. This is a critical factor because with Humility we will avoid trying to confirm what we already know and avoid defending ourselves when our thinking is challenged. “We are also poor listeners because we are usually focused on confirming that our idea or belief is correct or better than the other person’s. Likewise, many of us view collaboration as a competition to see who is right, not a process to determine what is right. One could call us very “me-oriented” in our thinking, listening and collaborating. This should not be surprising in a society that is very individualistic, or as some say, narcissistic. We celebrate “winners” and “people in power.” We judge ourselves by our “place” in the hierarchy; and we have been encouraged to exude self-confidence, self-promote and to “fake it till you make it.” We are very good at telling and advocating and not very good at listening and asking questions.” Ed Hess
Advantages of Humility.
Humility helps you realize, no matter how many degrees in a discipline you might have, you really only know about .001 percent of what can be known about that subject. We have experts, of course, but there are “megatons” of knowledge waiting to be discovered.
Humility requires you to nurture emotional intelligence. That is, you become more and more aware of your own emotions and the emotions of others. You understand how they effect creativity and innovation.
Humility helps you realize that you can learn something from everybody, no matter what their status in life might be. Everyone has a unique perspective that might be just the view you need for your innovation.
Humility is freeing because it makes not knowing everything about a subject easier to acknowledge. It also helps you to be honest, direct, curious, courageous, open-minded and truth seeking.
Humility frees you to use what I call, observational speaking. That is, a style of communicating where you are completely aware of your receiver(s). In other words, you’re observing the behaviors and mannerisms of the receiver(s) as you share thoughts or information then adjusting your message on the spot as needed. Active listening is used to clearly understand what the other is saying. You will “put yourself in the other person’s shoes.” Asking questions helps with this. Humility helps you listen to learn!
Humility helps with business Values such as Teamwork, Transparency, Collaboration, Accountability and Integrity.
The advantages of Humility as a business Value or character trait are immense and helpful in our fast changing and unpredictable environment. Contemporary and highly successful businesses are benefiting from Humility as a Value. Some of these businesses have been highlighted by Hess:
“Bridgewater Associates, LP, Google, Intuit, Pixar and W.L. Gore & Associates are examples of companies that embrace the new way. They emphasize humility through cultures that devalue ego and hierarchy.” The leaders of these organizations are role models of the behaviors they want to see in their workforce.
Cultivating Humility is a work in progress for most of us. Being humble in a competitive society isn’t easy. We all are insecure and afraid to some degree. One thing we can do is to try not to respond automatically when someone is speaking. Take time to ask questions. We have the extraordinary opportunity to create work environments that are emotionally supportive and accepting of all participants. Humility is essential for creative and innovative collaborators. With this environment created by us intentionally , our businesses will excel in the Machine Age, the Innovative Economy and beyond.
I’m reminded of a quote from the greatest and most popular book in the world. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5