David Houle is a futurist, strategist and keynote speaker. He has always been slightly ahead of the curve. He has keynoted numerous conferences both across the country and internationally.
He recently won the Speaker of the Year award from Vistage International, the leading organizations of CEOs in the world. He is often called the “CEOs futurist”, having spoken to or advised 800+ CEOs and business owners during the past two years. David has also had the opportunity to be a featured contributor on Oprah.com. Houle spend more than 20 years in media and entertainment. He has worked at NBC, CBS and was part of the senior executive team that launched MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1 and CNN Headline News.
We had the fortunate opportunity to ask David a few questions about how the “Shift Age” will impact corporations.
1. You view the upcoming decade (2010-2020) as the “Transformation Decade”, can you explain what that means in a few sentences?
We have entered the “Shift Age”, where everything is shifting as we move into the global stage of human evolution. The decade 2010-2010 is the first full decade of the “Shift Age” and practically every aspect of our lives as individuals, leaders and humans will undergo some level of transformation.
There will be more TRANSFORMATION in the next decade than any other decade in human history.
2. What should be the top three initiatives for Corporations to prepare for this Transformation?
- Understanding that authority today is not top down, but sideways and bottom up. Take the concept of crowd sourcing and make it employee sourcing when looking for innovations or new ideas.
- Realize that in the phrase “workplace” place has less value than ever before. People can and should be able to work from anywhere. Place increasingly becomes about creative collaboration.
- Understand, accept and actively participate in the connectivity of social media, both inside and outside the corporation.
3. What are the trends that will emerge in Corporate Transformation?
- The development of the quality of adaptability in the corporation.
- The development of the nature of resilience throughout the entire organization.
- Being a “Morph Corp”.
4. How will the workplace change as a result of this Transformation?
As stated above, the word “workplace” is no longer what it has meant in the past. In the Agricultural Age, work had to be on the farm. In the Industrial Age, the work had to be in the factory. In the Information Age, the work had to be in the wired office. In the Shift Age, in the Transformation Decade, place is less relevant to the doing work than ever before.
Place will become synonymous with collaboration.
5. How will Customer Service be changed due to this Transformation?
It will move toward immediacy. It will move toward free. It will be based upon the establishment of an ongoing and knowledgable relationship with the customer, not just when the customer has a problem.
6. Do you believe corporations have fully embraced collaboration?
You are asking a futurist! Of course not! At least not enough for what lies ahead in the Transformation Decade. Too often corporate leaders think collaboration is asking widely for input before making a decision or the integrated coordination of supply chain management. True collaboration leads to creativity and innovation. If there is a lack of creativity and innovation, it is axiomatic that there is not a true collaboration.
7. What is your personal advice to Corporate leaders on how to prepare for the Transformation Decade?
My personal advice is to focus on the following ideas when addressing global initiatives:
Redefinition. Do not define your company by what you have done or what market you are now in. The “Morph Corp” of the Transformation Decade will constantly be reinventing itself, entering new markets and redefining its purpose.
Resilience. Too much structure will lead to failure. Think of a cannon ball hitting a structure. It might collapse. Now think of a cannon ball hitting a net. It will collapse around the cannon ball and then reform itself. The net is resilient, the structure is not.
Embrace change as the opportunity to grow. Change is the constant reality-so embrace it, do not resist it.