Leonardo Da Vinci “It’s easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
Automation isn’t just coming, in many industries it’s already here. Are you and your company ready for the challenges and opportunities it represents? How can you adapt and thrive?
Analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that around 1.5 million jobs in England are at high risk of being partially or completely replaced by automation in the near future. That is around 7.4% of the 20 million jobs that were analysed in 2017. Automation was defined as replacing tasks currently carried out by workers with technology, such as computer programs, algorithms, or even robots. Women, young people, and those who work part-time are most likely to work in roles that are at high risk of automation, which will potentially have a major impact on diversity and inclusion.
Some examples of jobs being replaced by automation are already familiar to most of us. The self-service check-outs that are now ubiquitous have replaced a large number of cashier jobs. Anyone who has chatted online recently to a company’s customer service representative may actually have being engaging with a ‘chatbot’. Other examples are more hidden. Amazon thinks it will take 10 years for robots to replace the workers in its warehouses. A UK online supermarket, Ocado, had 1,100 robots working in a fully-automated warehouse in Andover in 2018.
KPMG has calculated that robotic process automation can reduce costs for financial services firms by around 75 percent, mostly through replacing offshore solutions with automation solutions.
In the Industrial Revolution, machines took over many of the physical tasks we used to do. But we humans were still left with all the cognitive tasks. This time, as machines start to take on many of the cognitive tasks too, there’s the worrying question: what is left for us humans?
The new jobs people will be doing in the future are ones where either a) humans excel at a task or b) we choose not to have machines. This means the only jobs left will be those where we prefer humans to do them.
So what opportunities does automation present to us and our business?
How can we easily recognise areas where we can implement automation?
The best people to ask is our workforce; they will know the opportunities that already exist. Another source of knowledge is listening to customers and seeing what others in our industry are already doing.
Here’s a few tips to recognise easy areas to automate:
1. It involves a lot of data entry (and/or is in desperate need of Optical Character Recognition (OCR)). There’s no reason for anyone to continue typing numbers into excel spreadsheets. If you’re managing a lot of numbers by hand in PDFs or printed documents, look for ways to leverage OCR.
2. It’s repeatable and repetitious. No-one wants to perform the same task over and over. Between mailing and shipping, categorising emails and approving bill payments, automation can take care of many administrative tasks.
3. It has no room for error. Humans make mistakes. But when a typo represents a risk to security or customer privacy, it’s time to automate.
Implementing automation in your business
It’s possible to automate many elements of your business on your own through rigorous work habits, some knowledge of programming, and using available resources and tools. From marketing to customer support and from IT to bill payments, there’s an automation solution or tool for nearly every business process. Try them out. You’ll have more time, save some money, and gain better transparency and oversight as a result.
Here at Da Vinci's Workshop we help businesses prepare for the future, contact us if you want to stay ahead of the curve.
Links to further reading:
Humans Need Not Apply video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU
Leonardo Da Vinci: “Every action needs to be prompted by a motive.”
Nudge theory originated in work on rational choice theory in the 1980s at the University of Chicago, which showed that people are not always rational agents. This gave birth to behavioural economics and the science of choice. Two very influential books published close together, Nudge: Improving Decisions and Health, Wealth and Happiness by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler in 2008 and Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman in 2011, brought these ideas into the mainstream.
Some of the best-known concepts from these two books are:
So what is a nudge and why would we want to use one? A nudge is a deliberate decision made to influence human behaviour. Importantly, though, a nudge preserves choice. It shouldn’t require heavy-handed legislation or regulation. There is ethical value in not constraining human agency gratuitously. Nudges can also be very cheap to implement while generating significant payoffs.
Since nudge theory entered the mainstream, there have been many examples of successful nudges:
You’re sold on the idea. How do you nudge in practice?
The Nudge Unit has developed an EAST framework: Easy, Attractive, Social, Timely
How could nudge theory help your employees and customers?
Beware: if people know they are being nudged, they dislike it and will resist. It is important to remain transparent and honest throughout. For example, only tell customers that a product is your most popular one if this is backed up by sales data. When Richard Thaler signs copies of his book, he always writes ‘Nudge for good’ next to his name.
Links to further reading:
Leonardo Da Vinci “Nature is the source of all true knowledge.”
After the hottest ever recorded July day in the UK, Paris breaking its heat records with 42.6C on Thursday, and 200 million people affected by heatwaves across North America, it seems that climate change is here for the foreseeable future. Research published this week in Nature shows that the current global warming is unprecedented over the last two thousand years. What does this mean for business as usual?
Plenty of companies are working on climate change mitigation (the attempt to avoid further carbon emissions). This includes the usual suspects of solar and wind power companies, makers of electric vehicles, and manufacturers of more sustainable materials such as bamboo, wood, or biodegradable plastic. More than ever though, a broad range of companies are considering adapting to the changing climate, and many are starting to view this not just as a threat, but as an opportunity.
What are the business benefits?
The companies, individuals and countries that are planning to profit:
The funds that are investing in solutions:
The response from the insurance industry:
Contact Da Vinci’s Workshop to help you futureproof your business strategy and discover new opportunities in a changing world.
Links to further reading:
Leonardo Da Vinci: “Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation... even so does inaction sap the vigour of the mind.”
Are there other areas where giving employees’ autonomy could boost your bottom line?
The emphasis in the last few decades on open-plan offices, clear desks, and hot-desking, may be missing a few tricks. A 2004 study from the Delft University of Technology showed that if open-plan working is imposed on employees, some respond with ‘animal territorialism’, claiming familiar spaces by arriving early in the morning or leaving behind personal items. Further research in 2010 showed that well-being and productivity increased when employees were allowed to have input in their office decoration, choosing whether areas should have paintings or plants or be clean and lean.
Perhaps consider having a variety of work spaces in your office; why not have hot-desking and open plan for irregular staff, and some fixed spaces that can be personalised by employees who prefer to sit in the same place every day.
Everyone knows that sitting at a desk for the whole day is bad for your physical and mental health, but few people are sure about what to do differently. Breaking the day up into more manageable chunks seems to be one solution. One method is the 52/17 rule. A company in Latvia found that its top ten most productive employees worked in bursts of 52 minutes and then took 17 minute breaks. It may seem that you don’t have time to take such a leisurely break, but if you are more productive in your working time, it can certainly work in your favour.
What you do in those 17 minutes counts as well. Switching from your computer screen to stare at facebook on your phone will not help. Different activities can boost different areas of your brain, so to boost creativity, going for
a walk has been shown to be effective (see diagram).
Standing desks have been hailed as a solution to too much sitting, but a 2017 study found a correlation between too much standing and lower back pain. As with so many things, variety is the key, so try to incorporate sitting, standing and moving around into your daily routine as much as possible.
What can you do as a manager?
What can you do as an employee?
Remember that we all have different ways of working, so find the way that maximises your and other's productivity.
Source : www.newscientist.com
Links to further reading:
Taking regular breaks 52/17 rule
Open-plan vs fixed office space
Clean desk or clutter?
Remote / flexible working
Leonardo Da Vinci: All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.
How can we gather a breadth of perception to solve our most challenging problems at work? What can we learn from the Netflix $1 million prize and the Lehman Brothers collapse?
Between 2006 and 2009, Netflix ran a $1 million prize competition for teams to improve its movie recommendation algorithm by 10% or more. For the first two years progress was slow, until teams around the world starting combining their very different approaches together. The eventual first and second place teams reached the 10% goal by incorporating ideas that, on their own, seemed radically far from accepted mainstream wisdom. One team used an algorithm that took account of the fact that people rate movies they saw a long time ago differently to how they rate them if they saw the movie recently. Another team discovered that users rate films differently on Fridays, Sundays or Mondays. Individually, those approaches were terrible at predicting which movie a user might want to rent next, but when combined with other standard measures they gave their teams the winning edge.
There are many different ways of looking at diversity:
All these measures of diversity - gender, race, personality type, team role, job title, nationality - are really proxies for the most valuable type of diversity, diversity of thought. It is diversity of thought that will help your company to create new products, services or solutions, ahead of your competitors.
So how can you create a diverse team?
Here at Da Vinci’s Workshop Ltd we have more than ten year’s experience helping companies to understand how to broaden their recruitment and retention processes, how to form and nurture diverse teams and how to encourage innovative thinking.
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