046 – Leading the Future – Anders Sorman-Nilsson

Disruption, Robots and Utopia

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Anders Sorman-Nilsson is a futurist. He travels the world helping organisations spot trends and design strategies that will ensure they survive and thrive in our rapidly changing world.

In this episode of the podcast Anders talks us through some of the most impressive digital disruptions that are taking place – and he helps us to understand the formula for working out which industries will be next.

We talk about robots – which jobs are they going to take from humans and how can you position yourself to ensure that there’s a role for you in the modern world.

And he shares with us his vision of utopia.


Lessons Learned

Here’s what I took from the episode:

What is a Futurist?

A futurist is a business strategist – a breed of reverse historian. Their job is to look at the trends and help clients scenario plan for eventualities in the future.

They build probable scenarios for their clients.

Clicks and Bricks

Anders has developed a concept – Digilog – that plays on the fusion between the digital and analogue worlds.

Our rational minds are becoming digitised but are hearts and emotions are still analogue.

Digital attracts customers while analogue retains them. So businesses must develop a combination of clicks and bricks.

The message is, don’t throw the analogue baby out with the digital bathwater.

A Massive Disruption

Kodak might have been the first to be massively disrupted and the taxi industry may have won the award for the worst response to being disrupted – but there is plenty more disruption to come.

Any industry in that has these characteristics is ripe for the picking and will soon be disrupted:

  • where consumers experience a lot of friction
  • where there are inefficiencies that cause stress for the consumer
  • where there is non value adding middle-man

Wherever there are inefficiencies there is likely to be a digital layer that can make it better.

The Robots are Coming

Are robots going to steal my job? – There are two schools of thought:

1. It’s the 19th century all over again when textile workers – later to become known as luddites – smashed machines that took their job. But of course the industrial revolution let to new jobs, new industries and the rise of the knowledge worker.

2. Or, this wave of technological advancement is different. We have gone past the tipping point that that Malcolm Gladwell described. And this time there is no other side. There will be no new jobs or industries that need humans – the machines are just too smart now.

Anders sees a third option.

There is a place for humans in the future.

Activities that will remain the domain of humans: contextual thinking, strategy, creativity, innovation, the human touch, artisanship, craftsmanship – value adding, fundamentally human things.

If you can excel in any of those, and work out how to team up with the digital world, you will be a in good space.

However, anything that is a rote, repeatable, process – will eventually go to a robot.

If you are in a job and you are not engaged, have not upgraded your skills or you are relying on being protected by unions – you are going to be out of a job.

‘If you don’t work smart, you’re screwed’

Anders’ Utopia

An open world, without borders where meritocracy rules. Legacy and heritage – your family’s name – doesn’t matter. But what you bring to the table, if you’re a good person and if you work with innovation and creatively truly matters.

An open world of rationale, good thinking, inquisitiveness, creativity and enthusiasm. Where we are all part of one global economy and ecosystem.

Find Anders


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