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Leadership and Innovation

Innovation in Canada
Canada’s rankings in innovation has lagged that of other peer nations for decades despite government efforts to address this issue. Considering its success in developing research programs at its universities and pioneering many of the emerging technologies currently transforming the world, its mediocre rankings overall in technology development is disappointing. Things appear to be turning around, however. New initiatives by government are encouraging not just R&D, but also the other steps needed to turn innovative ideas into innovative products. Most importantly, increased collaboration in technology fields are starting to move Canada forward in global leadership. We still have a long way to go, but we are at least now heading in the right direction.
AI
If you’ve read the many predictions about the future of AI, you’ve likely found them to be wildly different. They range from AI spelling doom for humanity, to AI ushering in Golden Age of peace, harmony and culture, to AI producing barely a blip on society’s path toward ever-greater technological achievement. Those three views – dystopian, utopian and organic – present issues we need to consider as we move deeper toward an AI-integrated future. Yet they also contain exaggerations and false assumptions that we need to separate from reality.
AI Interpersonal
AI will encroach further into tasks previously done by humans. That is certain. It will do so not only in mundane, repetitive work, but also in highly specialized knowledge skills. The key to thriving in an AI-enabled environment is for leaders to grow in the human qualities AI can only mimic and not master. Motivating, mentoring, creativity, empathy and making genuine human connections with others – no matter their background – will be sorely needed to complement the computational and efficiency advancements AI will bring.
Smart City Chip
Technologies that could change the world have been a popular topic for the past half century. True, the predictions that everyone would drive flying cars have not materialized, but what has materialized would astound those who offered such predictions 50 years ago. And where emerging technologies are headed is even more stunning. Seven technologies, in my opinion, are poised for explosive growth in 2018. And what they can accomplish this year and beyond is not even the most significant disruption that I see them causing.
Leadership in the Age of AI
AI's effect on the workplace will not be limited merely to repetitive, production line-type jobs. Increasingly, it also enters the realm of highly trained knowledge workers. It will also affect those who manage workers currently employed in such jobs. AI likely will reshape jobs all the way up to the C-level offices. That doesn't mean, though, that managers and executives will no longer be needed. They simply need to prepare themselves for shifts in their work responsibilities.
AI Future
Where AI, robots, IoT and the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution are taking us, and how we should prepare for it are some of the hottest topics being discussed today. Perhaps the most striking thing about these discussions is how different people’s conclusions are.
Privacy in Smart City
Personal privacy is something that once lost, may be difficult to pull back. If we have innocently signed away our data privacy rights because of trust in the status quo, there are no guarantees that our personal data will not be used against ourselves or our family members. The smart city train has already left the station. In a world where the population is increasing and resources are finite, we need to find smarter ways of living together. Smart technologies hold the key to making this happen but we need to proceed with caution and build a layer of respectful trust and privacy in our smart places.
Smart City and Privacy
The phrase 'smart city' conjures up a vision of a Metropolis like urban jungle. A jungle that is made up of intelligent structures, buildings that know when we enter and leave, traffic that flows easily, and always available parking spaces. A place where the city knows what we want, before we want it, and gets it right every time. This utopian vision of a future is actually fast becoming a reality… But as this brave new world opens up opportunities for business, it also reveals vulnerabilities for the individuals within the smart city too, including their own personal privacy. The smart city is built not only on traditional bricks and mortar but on data too. These data are integral to both the intelligence behind the smart city and our own place in an increasingly digital world. Privacy is one of those things that once lost, is difficult to regain. Are our smart cities leaders taking care, not just to provide efficient, clean living, but to take care of our privacy too?
Telecom operators sat back as the new over-the-top (OTT) service providers, internet and tech companies slowly ate away at their business, particularly in the B2C space. A combination of institutional laziness and poor execution on promising initiatives gave these new entrants the time to jump in and snatch away customers…Telecom operators have an opportunity to rethink their business model, transform their organization, and execute on competitive ideas. This is especially true in the B2B space where telecom operators can use their existing infrastructure to offer premium network solutions for large enterprises, particularly when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT)…Telecom operators are close enough to take a bite out of the IoT market. What they’re missing are the teeth and the determination. While the legacy tools and procedures exist to allow telecom operators to be the leading providers of IoT services and security solutions, it will take an organizational shift to make such a strategy successful. By doing this, telecom operators will not only make money, they’ll secure their future in the presence of ambitious OTT competitors.
Diversity
The topic of diversity is not one that most people find in their comfort zone. As I wrote in a previous article on diversity, increasing diversity often engenders frustration in those tasked with accomplishing it, and inspires eye rolls among diversity-fatigued employees who have heard countless reports on management’s diversity goals, but remain unconvinced of diversity’s value. Can anything be done to make diversity less of an uncomfortable topic? The answer is no. Nothing about diversity will ever make it into the general business population’s comfort zone. I say that not out of cynicism, but out of practicality. At its root, diversity is uncomfortable. But, surprisingly, the discomfort it creates is what makes it so valuable…
Hong Kong FinTech
The global financial services sector is accelerating its transformation in response to changing values and shifting consumer preferences… A new breed of financial technology companies, known as FinTech, has emerged. FinTech has taken advantage of these changing preferences and advances in technology to innovate and to try and disintermediate incumbent providers by developing alternative platforms for financial activities. FinTech-driven disruption in financial services has been brewing for a while and it looks like 2017 will be the year the disruption becomes tangible… Hong Kong, with its position as a global financial centre and with its own rapidly growing millennial workforce, is starting to take the fight for its FinTech future seriously. PwC’s 2nd Global FinTech Survey shows that the vast majority of financial institutions in Hong Kong have decided on their FinTech strategy and kick-started a number of initiatives. While the degree of interest in FinTech is unmistakable, Hong Kong is approaching it in its own way…
You may have heard, over the last year or two, about the new technological miracle that is the blockchain. It seems that every banker, insurer, manufacturer, artist, lawyer and cybersecurity professional is shouting about blockchain from the highest peak and telling us how it will be used to secure everything against anything for all time, additionally removing those embarrassing blemishes from our skin and freshening our breath at the same time. Clearly some large portion of the blockchain-related content we see in the media is hyperbolic, at best, but it is an important technology nonetheless. Let's take a look at some of the realities of what we can and cannot do with blockchain in relation to cybersecurity.