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Keran McKenzie – MYOB Futurist-in-Residence: Visions of Future Success

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MYOB’s Futurist-in-Residence Keran McKenzie is excited and emphatic when he says “it’s an awesome time to be alive” when it comes to technology.

At our Unleash Your Potential Speaker Series event held during Techweek NZ, Keran gave a high-energy and engaging talk on his top nine tech megatrends and their potential to transform and improve our lives, including five tips for preparing for the future.

Firstly, what is a ‘Futurist-in-Residence’, and what does Keran do? He helps businesses take advantage of technology and in his own words: “I get to demystify the technology we talk about it and bring it back into stories of impact”.

Technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is here right now in some forms and bigger AI developments that are coming where machines might learn. He also talked about the potential of the Internet of Things and virtual/augmented reality and how robots, although not a new technology are getting smaller, smarter and “cooler”.

Keran is also a fan of biometrics that are making our lives easier and less frustrating as they replace passwords with 3D face scanners in new iPhones. Biometrics could be potentially combined with Blockchain technology to eliminate supermarket queues he tells us. This is just one example of a real business application.

Finally, he talked about the future of quantum computing. “Google suspects that we will have commercially available quantum computing systems ‘in market’ in five years” says Keran, and that might be “the most fundamental change to computing as we know it… It’s an awesome time to be alive!”

All this technology can be a lot to get our heads around, however, more important is how we feel about it, how we approach it and how we prepare for it. Something we can all tackle right now.

Here are Keran’s five key takeaways:

  • Be curious. Ask questions. “If you’re in business, you should always be asking ‘does this piece of technology that I’m trying to experiment with help my customer?’ Not your bottom line… your customer.” One example Keran uses is Ocado, a British online supermarket that has become 30% more efficient using robots in their warehouses making them more profitable and their customers “get their stuff sooner, or faster, or fresher”.
  • Get * done. We fear change and we want it to be perfect, “particularly in slightly more established businesses,” says Keran “or dare I say it, in male driven startups”. However, getting things done is better than perfect: ”EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!” says Keran. “So get out and do stuff, because if you’re not doing it, your competitors jolly well are.”
  • Embrace change. Keran’s advice is “sometimes that will mean a hard decision, sometimes it will mean disruption for your workforce, but sometimes you have to embrace that change and not be scared of it.” We don’t need to blame technology though, in a recent report by Deloitte they found that technology “has actually created more jobs than it has displaced” say Keran. One great example is the loss of car production in Geelong, South Australia where automation has ended car production but now “Geelong has become an incredible startup space in Australia.”
  • Find A Players. “You can’t do it alone” says Keran. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon discovered this and so did Jack Ma of Alibaba, they didn’t create successful businesses on their own. “Find your team, your A Players…. if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room,” says Keran. What is more, make sure your team is diverse says Keran. “There are critical stats to support this. If you surround yourself with people who are diverse from you, your business is 30% more likely to be, or [have] 30% higher margins or efficiency. Have a diverse team: surround yourself with people who look different to you, sound different to you, smell different to you, act different to you, disagree with you… find your A Players, and make sure they’re different to you.”
  • Fall in love with the problem. “If you’re not in love with the problem you’re solving, all the amazing technology in the world is not going to do anything for you or for your clients… you’re not going to get on and build amazing stuff or change the world,” advises Keran.

In ending, Keran left the audience with this:

”Technology and the amazing technology that is available to us today is simply an enabler to an outcome.

“Success is personal. Define your own success. Success is different to everyone, some want the money, some just want more time with their family or kids. So define your own success, and be deliberate about how you’re going to find that success. Be deliberate in what that outcome is that you want for you, for your clients, and why technology is going to take you there.”

“Seek mentoring on the way,” Keran says and “leverage the hell out of technology, it doesn’t care, it’s got no emotions, it’s got no feelings. Try it, test it! Because that’s the way you will change our future.”

Watch the video of Keran’s talk

 

Keran McKenzie presents at the Unleash Your Potential Speaker Series event.

Keran McKenzie presents at the Unleash Your Potential Speaker Series event.

social media

MYOB’s Futurist-in-Residence Keran McKenzie is excited and emphatic when he says “it’s an awesome time to be alive” when it comes to technology.

At our Unleash Your Potential Speaker Series event held during Techweek NZ, Keran gave a high-energy and engaging talk on his top nine tech megatrends and their potential to transform and improve our lives, including five tips for preparing for the future.

Firstly, what is a ‘Futurist-in-Residence’, and what does Keran do? He helps businesses take advantage of technology and in his own words: “I get to demystify the technology we talk about it and bring it back into stories of impact”.

Technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is here right now in some forms and bigger AI developments that are coming where machines might learn. He also talked about the potential of the Internet of Things and virtual/augmented reality and how robots, although not a new technology are getting smaller, smarter and “cooler”.

Keran is also a fan of biometrics that are making our lives easier and less frustrating as they replace passwords with 3D face scanners in new iPhones. Biometrics could be potentially combined with Blockchain technology to eliminate supermarket queues he tells us. This is just one example of a real business application.

Finally, he talked about the future of quantum computing. “Google suspects that we will have commercially available quantum computing systems ‘in market’ in five years” says Keran, and that might be “the most fundamental change to computing as we know it… It’s an awesome time to be alive!”

All this technology can be a lot to get our heads around, however, more important is how we feel about it, how we approach it and how we prepare for it. Something we can all tackle right now.

Here are Keran’s five key takeaways:

  • Be curious. Ask questions. “If you’re in business, you should always be asking ‘does this piece of technology that I’m trying to experiment with help my customer?’ Not your bottom line… your customer.” One example Keran uses is Ocado, a British online supermarket that has become 30% more efficient using robots in their warehouses making them more profitable and their customers “get their stuff sooner, or faster, or fresher”.
  • Get * done. We fear change and we want it to be perfect, “particularly in slightly more established businesses,” says Keran “or dare I say it, in male driven startups”. However, getting things done is better than perfect: ”EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!” says Keran. “So get out and do stuff, because if you’re not doing it, your competitors jolly well are.”
  • Embrace change. Keran’s advice is “sometimes that will mean a hard decision, sometimes it will mean disruption for your workforce, but sometimes you have to embrace that change and not be scared of it.” We don’t need to blame technology though, in a recent report by Deloitte they found that technology “has actually created more jobs than it has displaced” say Keran. One great example is the loss of car production in Geelong, South Australia where automation has ended car production but now “Geelong has become an incredible startup space in Australia.”
  • Find A Players. “You can’t do it alone” says Keran. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon discovered this and so did Jack Ma of Alibaba, they didn’t create successful businesses on their own. “Find your team, your A Players…. if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room,” says Keran. What is more, make sure your team is diverse says Keran. “There are critical stats to support this. If you surround yourself with people who are diverse from you, your business is 30% more likely to be, or [have] 30% higher margins or efficiency. Have a diverse team: surround yourself with people who look different to you, sound different to you, smell different to you, act different to you, disagree with you… find your A Players, and make sure they’re different to you.”
  • Fall in love with the problem. “If you’re not in love with the problem you’re solving, all the amazing technology in the world is not going to do anything for you or for your clients… you’re not going to get on and build amazing stuff or change the world,” advises Keran.

In ending, Keran left the audience with this:

”Technology and the amazing technology that is available to us today is simply an enabler to an outcome.

“Success is personal. Define your own success. Success is different to everyone, some want the money, some just want more time with their family or kids. So define your own success, and be deliberate about how you’re going to find that success. Be deliberate in what that outcome is that you want for you, for your clients, and why technology is going to take you there.”

“Seek mentoring on the way,” Keran says and “leverage the hell out of technology, it doesn’t care, it’s got no emotions, it’s got no feelings. Try it, test it! Because that’s the way you will change our future.”

Watch the video of Keran’s talk

 


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