Four years ago, we interviewed Toby as the SVP of Verizon and where the world of 5G was taking us. The tech world has shifted and accelerated dramatically since then and when Toby, now CEO of Verus Advisory, wrote us to say, “The next 3-4 years in the hacking space is going to make the last 10 years look like kindergarten” we were very keen to hear more.
M.R. Rangaswami: Is all the buzz about the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) warranted?
Toby Eduardo Renshaw: Yes it is warranted but 4IR is only part of the story.
The 4IR is simply that over the next several years we will see a hockey stick growth in the utility, scale, impact, value and adoption of 4 technologies: IoT/Sensorization, Big Data/AI, Cloud and XR. These advances will feed off each other as they will live on a super low latency, fat bandwidth, real-time edge compute capable fabric. That’s simply 5G. Don’t think of 5G as just a network it’s a connected compute fabric. Those five together will create a fly-wheel effect that will be massively disruptive.
In parallel, there are 10 other change waves hitting in the same period, for example the socioeconomic impacts of the Gen Z ascendency, a quantum leap in cyber threats , the acceleration of low code no code, the lego-ization and automation of AI, 100x improvements in hyperscale data, 20x in utility per dollar from satellites, etc
We are entering the biggest creative destruction cycle in 100 years with huge opportunity for the winners but as Schumpeter has taught us with a big dose of destruction for some.
M.R.: What is it that enterprises are missing about these change intensive times ?
Toby: The scale and rapidity of change. The last Industrial Revolution changed the world. This change cycle will too. As before there will be winners and losers at a company level but also sector and national level. The biggest difference is, the last one took decades, and this one will take eight years or less.
In times like this it is those that innovative at the model level that win big not the ones who use the new innovations to improve the existing model. That is hard to do for enterprises, especially successful ones.
M.R.: What are a couple of pragmatic things Enterprise are not generally doing that they should in anticipation of this ?
Toby: Really understand your own culture and change it. As we move into these times of hyper change it is highly unlikely that your existing culture is fully tuned/structured for this.
First, have an external party document your rhetoric about your culture. What you say about it, what you brag about, what is on your plaques and on your website, what stories you tell yourself.
Then have a second party truly document the behaviors and the facts that are prevalent in the company. A simple one that is usually a shocker is lots of companies say they are diversity sensitive, focused, engaged and have been for a while. Check Latinos in middle management. That number is usually miles off its statistical representation. Check other diversity numbers and trends. If those aren’t readily available then you are more rhetoric than reality.
Do not rethink your rhetoric. Rethink what drives behaviors and that is simply have a really well communicated and executed reward and punishment structure around the behaviors you want and don’t want. A lot of firms are good at rewarding the positive behaviors they want and terrible at punishing folks for the ones they don’t want. The sum of your behaviors at a company is your culture.
Here’s a question to ponder: How do you reward smart bets that didn’t pay off? We want a smart bet behavior where every bet doesn’t pay off. You often see non-competitive sandbagging. It is very common at firms because there is punishment for missing plan and reward for hitting plan. So you aim low and hit plan, you make a few weak safe bets.
That second thing is non-competitive sandbagging and is very common at firms because there is punishment for missing plan and reward for hitting plan. So you aim low and hit plan, you make a few weak safe bets.
M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of Sandhill.com