VICKY SLEIGHT FRSA
Chief Perfect Officer, Perfect Ltd & Senior Advisor Diversity & Inclusion
It’s a fact that we are in the midst of a new industrial revolution and indeed a societal shift. Now more than ever, leaders are under increasing pressure to come up with innovative solutions to an array of business and societal challenges, while navigating an increasingly complex world.
Whilst the digital revolution put technology in our hands, digital transformation is about changing our lives in ways we could never have imagined. It is not just a technological transformation, but a cultural shift. As McLuhan predicted, technology is no longer just a tool we use to achieve something, we are actually becoming tools/technology ourselves. Futurists like to call this transhumanism. As Gerd Leonhard, futurist, refers to in his book, Technology vs Humanity1: “we should embrace technology but not become it, because technology is not what we seek, it’s how we seek!”
As trillions of dollars are invested in making our world smarter through digital technology, we need to ask ourselves whether we as humans are also investing enough of our effort in getting ready for this new world. Machines will continue to get smarter, whilst if we do not make a conscious effort to evolve, we may in effect become less smart through our increasing reliance on automation. Our digital legacy is too important to leave either to chance or to what Melinda Gates has called “white guys in hoodies”. Our digital legacy needs to reflect the diversity of human knowledge, experience and culture, and it needs to provide a clear pathway for the next generation to create a future of promise for all.
This challenge becomes clearer when we think about the future of work, and what type of job prospects we are passing on to the next generation, the so- called millennials. In our fast changing, globalised and digital tech driven world, we need to develop a work environment that reflects our diverse human intelligence, as it is our greatest asset. We need to become adept at connecting global teams across generations and geographies. And we will need systems that are smart enough to enable critical human thinking at scale.
Of course, all repeatable work will be automated, but critical roles will be the ones that require human creativity, innovation and thinking, exibility and resilience. In future, people will need to understand their individual and shared purpose and know how their contribution will impact that common purpose, and how the world of the machine and the world of humans can co-exist harmoniously and to the bene t of both. To achieve this goal, we need to understand the tools available, and how to energise the teams and workplaces of the future to reflect the needs of a diverse society that we are trying to serve.
Well, imagine if we had a tool that removed any bias, conscious or unconscious and one that enabled us to measure everyone’s individual impact and contribution to the team. A method that helps us align personal energies with business requirements. This tool is already available: it is The GC Index® www.thegcindex.com. After seeing how well this proven method measures impact for all people, and gives them unique insights into their future, I became an accredited GCologist and have now incorporated it into my own management and consulting work.
Thinking about how we can help the next generation navigate this new digital world, I am very pleased to have seen the development of a targeted form of The GC Index® for young people. The Young People Index® is a revolutionary online instrument that is helping to transform young people’s lives by enabling educationalists to identify and nurture the key talents of young people, who are the leaders of the future. Developed by The GC Index® and Helen Rivero, Director and Founder and a fellow GCologist and her team of dedicated educationalists, The Young People Index®3 has been applied very successfully in schools, to help students identify their core strengths and leadership styles, and to prepare them to face the future of study and work with confidence.
As James Wilder from St Peters School in Bournemouth, UK says: “The YPI programme…. has allowed students to explore the transferrable skills and qualities needed in the workplace. The programme ‘opens the eyes’ of the students to the needs for all types of team players and has highlighted the contribution that as individuals they can make to a group or organisation… if targeted and aimed at certain students, it can give them a real feeling of worth and empowerment.”
The digital culture we develop and hand on to the next generation needs to preserve the values we have developed as well as the hard-won gains we have made, in terms of diversity and social inclusion. We need to resist the narrowing of perspectives to a technology-driven approach and teach young people to think critically about how technology is being applied, and whether it is actually what we as human beings really need and want. For example, facial recognition technology will make it possible to have continuous surveillance of everyone all the time, so that future generations may lose the concept of privacy. In some schools around the world, (including the US and Australia) facial recognition software and tracking technologies are being introduced to scan for anyone not allowed on school grounds, and to replace the school roll call. But is this really the type of model that we want to hand on to the next generation? Or should we think more carefully about how best to balance the competing goals of security and privacy?
As we continue to grapple with these issues and others into the future, we need to step back occasionally and think carefully about the cultural framework of our digital lives. At a time when the importance of diversity, equality and inclusion are becoming fully recognised, we need to redouble our efforts to ensure that these lessons are not lost. Diversity and inclusion cannot just be an afterthought. Aspirational goals must be set and achieved. Our digital legacy depends on it.
Vicky Sleight has 18 years’ experience in Technology and Telecoms including Product Marketing, Operations, Events, creating new initiatives and sales and revenue growth. A proven thought leader and expert in diversity and inclusion within Tech through her development of successful initiatives such as GSMA Connected Women, Vicky has formed her own successful boutique consulting company – Perfect Ltd. Through this she is continuing her work within the industry to further business development and diversity and inclusion strategies. Her focus is also the diversity of impact and the formation of game changing teams through The GC Index® www.theGCindex.com – a radical re-think of how organisations will identify and nurture key talent in the future and a commitment to identify and unleash Game Changers everywhere regardless of level and demographic. With a keen interest in the future of work she is currently enabling collaboration on a Perfect initiative to promote the need for diversity in AI technologies.