A convergence of advancements will cause extensive disruption to business-as-usual; no industry will be spared the effects of what is coming; and, what is coming, is coming fast.

“The train has already left the station.” This was the reply to my point that 40% employment attrition from rapid technological advancements would cause upheaval greater than the Industrial Revolution ushered into the 19th and 20th centuries. Consider that during the time of the Industrial Revolution society and the government placed much less importance on people and their financial well-being; government’s primary purpose was to provide justice, collective defense and safeguard tranquility. Today you can add collect taxes, redistribute wealth and create an environment for full employment; all of which are threatened by a 40% reduction in the workforce over the next 5-10 years.

Let me back up and explain; this debate was prompted by a presentation being made by a representative from Ontario Centres of Excellence at one of our monthly partner meetings. You know a situation is critical when our government is ringing the alarm bell. Here are the highlights of what we were told is coming at all of us*:

(*adapted from material provided by Mark Majewski, Ontario Centres of Excellence March 2018)

It is the combination of these advancements at the same time that is amplifying the impact on society. We are facing a ‘perfect storm’ hostile to business-as-usual. All industries and businesses will be fundamentally affected by what is coming; and, what is coming is coming fast. This is the scary part of the story.

The good news is organizations can thrive in this environment by building a trusted network of connected knowledge, so expertise and value can be commercialized quickly. To foster cultures of innovation like this will require governance models that generate Speed, Agility and Adaptability, and a business renewal cadence with a bias for repeated-action.


1. Assess Impact by mapping Advancements to your Existing Business Model

Identify areas most at risk and assess magnitude; identify emergent areas of opportunities and assess ‘size-of-prize.’ Prioritize essential work; ask what is mission-critical to our business; proactively distort resources from work deemed non-essential or soon to be un-needed.

2. Build Fast-Adapt / Quick Improvement Plans (QIP)

These are short duration action plans that can start and finish in 90 days; each QIP has a single leader, accountable to the management team, coordinating the work of subject matter experts who have been seconded to complete the required work. Each QIP has an articulated mission statement and binary objectives to measure progress and success. Longer term initiatives are segmented into QIP’s that run in series or concurrent depending on interdependencies. (note: Agile provides effective programs for this type of work)

3. Pivot your Innovation Development to Rapid Prototyping (think progress over perfection)

These are a group of techniques used to quickly develop Minimal Viable Products launched with lowest possible cost (e.g. test market, test channel, test customer). Their purpose is to collect and assess user feedback and decide: keep or kill; if Keep, then design, develop and launch the final based on the feedback.

4. Deploy a Talent and Succession Plan to Pivot the Business

Identify the capabilities and roles that will be eliminated and identify the capabilities and roles that will be required; then put a Talent Demand Plan in place to adapt to your future, supported by a Succession Plan to reposition adaptable people.

5. Repeat Steps 1 through 4

In addition, our federal and provincial governments are working to get ahead of what is coming by funding innovation grants and connecting stakeholders from business, technology, and academia. I would encourage you to follow the links below and explore what innovation funding and support may be available to your organization.

Concierge – Your Guide to Innovation – Government of Canada

OCE – Ontario Centres of Excellence – Programs

OCE – Ontario Centres of Excellence – Voucher For Innovation and Productivity (VIP)

If you find this subject important and wish to talk further, you may reach me through the contact information below or by contacting Lighthouse NINE Group.

Dave Campanella, CMC
Lighthouse NINE Group
One Eva Road, Suite 209 | Etobicoke, ON M9C 4Z5

Office: 647-975-5312

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