radical Insights.

Weekly Research and Commentary on the Future of Business and Technology.

Future Mindedness and Why Robots Are Not Stealing Your Job.

Feb 7, 2022

Dear Friend,

A quick PSA (Public Service Announcement) from Jane: The Coaching Fellowship Applications are now OPEN!

The Coaching Fellowship is the only global community focused on growing and accelerating the leadership and impact of women in the social sector. Applications are now open for their first Fellowship in 2022. The program is designed to strengthen leadership, expand capabilities and accelerate their missions. If you know a social change women leader, please encourage her to apply. Deadline is March 4th, 2022. All the information is here.


The capacity to envision alternative futures is such a fundamentally and uniquely human thing that some researchers have argued it is the defining characteristic of our species. But just because we all have this capability — what psychologists call prospection — doesn’t mean we’re all equally good at maximizing the advantages it can confer. A fascinating report published by BetterUp Labs last month offers some great quantitative and qualitative insights into the leadership and workplace benefits of “future mindedness” (elsewhere long known as effective futures thinking). The bottom line: Developing the ability to envision and evaluate alternative futures for our organizations and ourselves — to reflect on our prospection — is an increasingly valuable skill for building agility and resilience in a world of high uncertainty.

Disrupt Disruption

The venerable UK publication The Economist just reported that “Economists are revising their views on robots and jobs” — in essence showing that the widespread view of robots taking our jobs is simply false. The emerging insights have important implications for disruptors (emphasis is ours):

In a recent paper Philippe Aghion, Céline Antonin, Simon Bunel and Xavier Jaravel, economists at a range of French and British institutions, put forward a “new view” of robots, saying that “the direct effect of automation may be to increase employment at the firm level, not to reduce it.” This opinion, heretical as it may sound, does have a solid microeconomic foundation. Automation might help a firm become more profitable and thus expand, leading to a hiring spree. Technology might also allow firms to move into new areas, or to focus on products and services that are more labour-intensive.

In essence: automate, automate, automate. And never forget the eternal insight heeded in the article: “Warning people of a jobless future has, ironically enough, created plenty of employment for ambitious public intellectuals looking for a book deal or a speaking opportunity.”

What We Are Reading

🙆‍♀️ 4 Ways Managers Can Increase Flexibility Without Losing Productivity Learn how to increase flexibility for employees without losing productivity — or sanity. The key is for managers to think differently about when employees work together, who works together, and how information is shared. JaneRead

☘️ 3 Strategies for Holding Yourself Accountable The more successful you become, the less accountability you have. It’s not that you aren’t responsible to anyone; it’s that your goals become a lot more subjective. Here’s how to create a higher level of accountability. MafeRead

💩 The event ticket is dead, long live the event ticket An experience designer lays out a provocative possible future for events and the experience economy reimagined through the lens of web3 & token technologies. JeffreyRead

🛢 The World Is Half-Prepared for a Different Energy Future Suitable to our open coffee conversation, this is a great account of several perspectives on the changes that are happening and the changes that really should be happening. JulianRead

🚶‍♀️ Walking as a Productivity System We all have heard it before — because it’s true: Walking unlocks our creative potential. Here is a lovely summarization and reminder of why we should walk. PascalRead

Internet Finds

Internet pioneer Jason Kottke lists “52 Things I Learned in 2021” — personal highlights include “The number of people born in Antarctica (11) is fewer than the number of people who have walked on the Moon (12).”

In Case You Missed It

🏴‍☠️ The Heretic: How Do I Begin?

⚠️ Disrupt Disruption: This week we got to speak to acclaimed futurist Cecilia Tham, cofounder of Futurity Systems. In our conversation, we look at the world of innovation and disruption through the lens of a futurist, and explore the models and frameworks Cecilia and her team bring to her work in anticipating and creating the future. Listen on our website or in your podcast app of choice.

Radically yours, take good care, friend!

— Pascal, Mafe and the three Js (Jane, Jeffrey, and Julian)