How Microsoft is redesigning business for the day after tomorrow … cloud is the new normal, data is the new oil, AI is the new electricity

July 10, 2018

Today I’m in Redmond, Microsoft Campus, exploring the future of business.

Not the Microsoft business, but how we can harness the incredible power of new technologies to reinvent the future of every business. This didn’t used to be Microsoft’s game, having started with a more consumer vision and a computer on every desk and in every home.

Today, now rising like a phoenix in a new world of digital technologies, Satya Nadella is taking Microsoft in new directions, and most significantly, to be the enabler of business potential, to help companies to achieve the impossible, to transform themselves and grow in new ways.

My role is to help Microsoft use my “Gamechanger” methodology in developing their corporate relationships, engaging with business leaders not just CTOs in exploring the future, developing new strategies and business models, to leap forwards in new ways with the help of technologies like cloud, big data, blockchain, robotics, and most significantly AI.

At dinner we sat back to reflect on a day of intense idea generation and development, how to redeploy the capabilities of such a large organisation to be the enabler of business futures, rather than just selling software, as Satya says “to enable other companies to be cool”.

Next to me at dinner was Peter Hinnsen. I’ve followed Peter for quite some years, so it was good to meet at last. He leads Nexxworks, based in Gent, working alongside my friend Steve van Bellegham, and his written some great books, including The Day after Tomorrow. What a great name, sounding more like a James Bond playbook than another guide to innovation.

He’s spent the day making a movie with Roy Sharples and his communications team. Here it is:

Just think about those carefully scripted words. Each one matters:

Do you feel that the world around you is changing faster than ever before, and the rate of change is actually accelerating? Do you believe that the number of ‘unknown unknowns’ is increasing? You’re not wrong. The pace of change is exponential, and large organizations struggle to spot new and radical ideas quickly, unable to move fast enough to develop their potential.

In the 20th century size was power. Today, in the Age of Urgency, being ‘big’ seems to be a disadvantage. Success means focusing not just on tomorrow, but on what the day after tomorrow will bring. We have arrived at a moment when a cocktail of new technologies is advancing the speed of change. It’s a ‘Wright brothers moment’, when key innovations can trigger a cascade of changes that transforms the world. These technologies are the engines of our future. How do we accelerate our day after tomorrow thinking to survive and thrive in times of radical innovation?

In a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous world, when new ideas, technologies, and business models can suddenly change everything, concentrating on the ‘Day After Tomorrow’ isn’t a luxury, but a necessity. This is the age of urgency and innovation, fueled by technology. You have to be prepared. You have to reinvent yourself. There are so many tools, ideas, platforms, and people just waiting to be connected. If you are willing to learn, un-learn, and take radical new directions, you’ll find your Day After Tomorrow.

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