The Future Is Here – A Book Review on “Futureproof – How To Get Your Business Ready For The Next Disruption” by Minter Dial & Caleb Storkey
Foreword: Special thanks to Chengkok for giving me the opportunity to read and write a review for this book. The contents expressed are of the author’s own opinions and are in no way meant to serve as financial advice. Written By Minhui.
The book is split into 2 parts, the first part focuses on the mindsets that will help to embrace disruptions to become “futureproof”. The three mindsets are namely: meaningfulness, responsibility and collaboration.
The second part focuses on 12 of the prominent driving technological disruptive forces across the various industries. Minter and Caleb use humour, personal experiences and passion to bring across important lessons of disruptions for businesses today.
Part 1: The 3 Mindsets
Meaningfulness: The desire to find purpose is not something new, in fact, I argue that it is deeply rooted in human nature for one to search for meaning to have something to live for. Meaningful work helps us to lead more rewarding lives. As such, Minter and Caleb have outlined a framework of 5Ps of meaningfulness for businesses. The 5Ps are Purpose, People, Prize, Profit and Planet. It is with these 5Ps that businesses are able to position themselves in a different light from the others and contribute back to society purposefully. Meaningfulness helps a business to attract the right people who share the same values to scale to greater heights, making profits whilst balancing a higher goal of sustainability for the environment and impacting people’s lives positively.
Responsibility: The need for accountability is greater than before as disruptions take place, with disruptions, we are being exposed to consequences that we may not have answers to yet. Take the example of the debate over genome-editing, the benefits are clear, we could potentially create humans free from diseases but what happens when the gene-editing process goes wrong? Moreover, there are concerns over the justice and equity of access to such technologies. Hence, the moral permissibility of such technologies should be part of the public discourse. Responsibility is essential to a business in that it influences the ultimate purpose of the business and the ethics behind the means to achieve the goals.
Collaboration: No man is an island as the famous adage goes, the need for collaboration has been emphasised through the interconnectedness of today’s world. No one can be an expert in every field and accomplish everything by himself. By being receptive to others’ ideas, collaboration allows the cross-fertilisation of ideas and helps businesses to be more nimble to gain a competitive advantage. Sharing economies utilises collaboration very well, disruptive companies such as Airbnb in fact is asset-light as opposed to traditional hoteliers. Airbnb serves as a platform for connecting accommodation seekers to renters, making under-utilised spaces productive. In this example, collaboration requires much trust from both parties. Trust is a currency that is earned through the fostering of a collaborative culture and not commanded immediately. Businesses have to leverage on each other’s specialisation for greater efficiency.
With that, these three mindsets are crucial in helping you to harness the opportunities from disruptions and “futureproofs” you as you will be better prepared when you question the meaning of your actions and factor in the responsibility behind the actions taken. Lastly, a collaborative spirit should always be encouraged as it helps us to be open-minded for opportunities.
Part 2: The 12 Disruptive Technological Factors
- The Web
- The Smartphone
- The Cloud
- Internet of Things (IOT)
- Artificial Intelligence (A.I)
- Big Data Analytics
- Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies
- 3D Printing
- Energy Storage
- Self-Assisted Driving
I will not be delving deep into each of the 12 disruptive forces but will instead leave it up to you to do your own research or read the book for a deeper understanding. Minter and Caleb have pointed out these 12 technologies that will (if they are not already) disrupt businesses. Some of these forces are in fact intertwined.
The worldwide web became publicly available on 6 August, 1991. Much has changed since then, with its ever-increasing speed and ubiquity, it has allowed us to be reliant and engaged in it like never before. The plethora of tools made available by the web such as social media, e-commerce, peer-to-peer funding or marketplace and e-learning have been nothing short but amazing. It has simply changed the way we live, communicate and handle our daily tasks.
Next, the smartphone, has vastly improved over the years to allow it to function like a mini-computer in which we are able to conduct transactions, communicate with people and get a daily dose of news from Wealthdojo. The third disruptive force would be “the cloud”, which has enabled us to store our data on the internet instead of having it stored locally on a desktop or phone. This has allowed us to work from anywhere and share access to edit documents together with our colleagues who might not be in the same location as us, thus, boosting productivity for companies and institutions.
Cyber security is the protection of computerised systems from theft, corruption, or disruption. From individuals to corporations and governments, the importance of cyber security cannot be understated. The global cyber security market is estimated to be projected at USD 500.7 billion by 2030 according to research by Grand View Research Inc. The internet of things (IoT) are objects that have sensors to communicate both with one another and with us. IoT helps businesses to provide and deliver more customised, contextually relevant content and enhanced customer experience through data analytics. This will be explored further.
The sixth disruptive force is Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is the development and use of machines to function in ways normally associated with the cognitive functions of the human brain. These technologies include: 1) Logic programming- using facts and rules to create logical formulas, 2) Bayesian systems- using statistics and probabilities for prediction. 3) Expert systems-using knowledge-based systems for decision making 4) Semantic knowledge bases – understanding language sets, identifying content by its types, meaning, metadata or tagging. 5) Deep Learning – using algorithms to create models of high-level of abstractions. Being a laggard in adopting AI could jeopardise your businesses. Big data analytics is a function of the combined forces of the web, smartphones, IoT, the cloud, AI. What makes big data powerful is not the data itself but rather what one plans to do with it. It is crucial for companies to know how to navigate through these data to assist their decision-making process.
The eighth disruptive force is one that has been making headlines in recent days. Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies, operating independently of any central bank and through digital encryption, the transfers of these currencies are self-regulated. The most disruptive element of the cryptocurrency force is the underlying blockchain technology. Blockchain, operates as proof of existence. Laura Shin from Forbes wrote “Blockchain technology is likely to disrupt financial services first by making existing processes more efficient, secure, transparent and inexpensive”. Now, with the arrival of the metaverse, blockchain technology will become more significant, as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will enable purchases and value storage in virtual reality. Gartner forecasts that the business value generated by blockchain will grow rapidly, reaching $176 billion by 2025 and $3.1 trillion by 2030.
Next, 3D printing is the construction of a three-dimensional product from a CAD model. There are many exciting applications for 3D printing. Examples, where 3D printing could be use, includes:
- Rapid prototyping
- Quick design iteration
- Low volume production
- Mass customisation
- Virtual inventory
- Production of less common spare parts
Renewable energy is hugely beneficial for the environment, however, one of the big challenges to such alternative energy sources is the storage for it. This is due to the intermittent nature of the generation and the inadequacy between when it is created and when it may be needed. Today the mechanisms to store this energy effectively and cheaply remain to be developed. Energy storage is a good example of how all the changes identified by the authors, will not all have direct relevance for all businesses. However, it is of concern to businesses that are involved in producing and storing energy, or those that are heavily energy-dependent.
The eleventh disruptive force is self-driving which enables vehicles to use a combination of sensors, cameras, radars and artificial intelligence to travel between destinations without a human operator. Tesla, has arguably been leading the way with its large fleet of electric vehicles, and more companies such as Volkswagen and Rivian, have jumped on the bandwagon in a bid to achieve a slice of the pie
Lastly, Genomics which is the twelfth disruptive force is the study of the full genome, including all genetic material. Roughly, 2 per cent of our genome is allocated to genes that ‘code’, with the function of programming or encoding a particular product. The study of genetics remains embryonic for businesses outside the medical sphere, nonetheless, the analysis and interpretation of epigenetics (the study of changes in organisms caused by modifications of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code) brings the hope for greater robust business applications. Although businesses’ relationship with genomics is in its infancy stage, we can expect to see significant changes in this area in the upcoming years.
These 12 forces of disruption are just examples that Caleb and Minter have pointed out to keep a look out for in the coming decade, they might not be relevant for every business out there, but one takeaway from the book is that we should embrace disruptions as opportunities and prime ourselves for changes.
Humans are more adaptable to changes than perceived, Covid-19 has been a good example, working from home may have been unimaginable for most companies pre-covid but the nationwide implemented circuit breaker has forced most of us to adapt to a whole new working environment at home within such a short period of time, and very likely this new normal is here to stay. More companies have called for a permanent work from home (Twitter, Spotify and etc.).
This book cannot make you “futureproof” but it will open your mind to think about how to do so. Companies and individuals should carry out an honest assessment of ourselves for the mindsets that are required to embrace disruptions as discussed in part 1 because we simply cannot afford to be slow to react to the disruptions that will continue to change the way we live and work in the future.
Thank you Minhui for writing this lovely book review.
Indeed, it is very important to know if your own business is future-proof or the business that you are investing in future-proof or not. Like what Warren Buffett says, read 500 pages a day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up like compound interest.
May this book brings you inspiration.
Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.
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The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.