The World of AI featured

Learning to adapt in an ever-changing technological world

The World of AI featured

Whilst streaming a documentary the other evening I was struck by a thought.

The fact that we no longer consume television like we once used to has actually impacted on our worldview. It was not that long ago that TV broadcasts were carefully scripted to present a highly curated picture. No one gave it much thought at the time, however, this did in fact funnel us into sharing a common perspective.

Now of course we have transitioned to an online world with billions of viewpoints, and the  technology that has enabled us to communicate seamlessly with one and other across cultures and borders is also augmenting and enhancing our human skills.

As the co-founder of an ad-tech company I have first-hand experience of how this is changing everyone’s role, particularly that of those leading.

Beyond adapting

One of the key shifts I am noticing is that it is no longer my team who are adapting to technology – rather, the technology is adapting to us. Just think about it,  every time an experience is personalised, or technology anticipates people’s needs and wants we are being placed in the driver’s seat to realise them.

Tech to disrupt ourselves

We can now put technology to work to disrupt ourselves and this is where cutting edge leadership needs to be focusing. It is that subtle shift where once our team members had to familiarise themselves with some new tech that made me realise just how effortlessly we all now use our digital tools. To continue moving forwards we now need to ensure we use our fluency with tech to re-shape and refine the way we work.

Tech for heavy lifting

Whilst none of us are floored by new tech as the changes are incremental and many of them we have created ourselves, we need to see technology as an enabler. We have the tools to do the heavy lifting which frees us up to be more creative, more innovative and continually reaching further.

Foster collaboration

Guiding my team beyond the curve has increasingly become collaborative. We now have mastered the tools required to achieve greater granularity around our projects, we can share and communicate seamlessly, even our working hours have become more fluid.

Aim for the stars

Dare I say it, we have reached digital saturation. That’s not to say we are beyond needing digital, on the contrary, this means it is woven into the very fabric of everything we do. But many of our clients and their target consumers have also reached a similar point in their digital growth. Because we have all evolved together the competitive landscape has levelled out, so now we need to deliver on the expectations we have created and aim for bigger, bolder and even more visionary goals.

An organisation’s workforce has always been its greatest asset, but in the tech fever there has been a tendency for many to use tech as the crutch and let the human side of things slide.

Today’s workforce has all the opportunities to be the most enlightened, the most agile and easily the best versions of themselves so long as they have a say in crafting their role to best suit an organisation’s needs - it is down to the leaders to guide them to do so.

Sharon-Baker-featuredAbout the author

Sharon has over 20 years experience in digital and social media marketing. Starting her career in telecommunications, Sharon moved to DoubleClick and then the BBC where she oversaw change management projects to advance the uptake of new technologies.

In 2007 she co-founded agency:2, Europe's first social media agency, which rapidly grew to become an award-winning business with a wide range of leading global clients including Mattel, Microsoft, Sony, Turner and Hillarys.

She is also the Co-founder of Mighty Social, ranked by the FT as UK's fastest growing social ad company (FT1000 - Europe's fastest growing companies 2019). Mighty Social is a disruptor within the digital ad world, segmenting audiences in real time with dynamic creative to maximise response rates, using Mighty Social’s patent pending technology, the ATOM.


Stuck in the past | Sharon Baker


Sharon BakerArticle provided by Sharon Baker, Mighty Social

When I was a young girl going through school it felt like the world was my oyster.

There were so many career choices, all carefully carved out by years of ancestors dutifully taking up roles which, lets face it, have barely changed.

Bank managers, to hairdressers, doctors to pilots, these jobs were solid and unwavering representations of our human evolution and our education reflected and mirrored these with, once again, very little change.

I opted to study politics which at the time really grabbed my attention - but a twist of fate would have it that a temp job I took one summer led me to discover a love for coding - something that was not remotely on my radar at the time. Now I run my own successful adtech business, definitely not something I had dreamt of as a young girl!

And now we have reached a crucial turning point - in fact we have actually overtaken this crucial point - which is why I feel a strong degree of urgency creeping up.

Our current education system is no longer fit for purpose - it has not been for some time but we have been slow to catch up and slower still to acknowledge the major changes that need to occur.

Now that my two children are going through school I feel we are treading water as we funnel talent into a narrow and restricted neck of an hourglass. For what reason? To prepare them for a world of work?  But which jobs are we talking about?

What is increasingly evident is that our current approach is inadequate, even for those, such as my children, who will be leaving school in the next decade.

Even the once reliable trade of pharmacist is on shaky ground. Back in 2011 a new style pharmacy opened in San Francisco and by the end of its first year trading it had provided two million prescriptions without a single mistake. This high-tech pharmacy owes its success to the specialised algorithms which have taken over.

Just as streaming annihilated video and music stores, time is running out for cashiers, ticket assistants through to HR specialists - mass interviews are already being conducted in China via AI to hone down the numbers to a handful of likely candidates.

On the upside this massive shift means human potential is being freed up from more mundane tasks giving us more opportunities to innovate and create. We are on the cusp of exciting new frontiers.

Artificial intelligence and algorithms are now playing a significant role in our everyday lives, yet we are so focused on data that we waste huge amounts of human potential, squeezing the creativity out of young minds.  Yet as I write this the new professions that are emerging require more flexibility and creativity than our current education system allows.

In my opinion tomorrow’s workforce will not be judged on what they know, but rather on their skills set and their ability to thrive in an economy that is continually evolving. I am already witnessing a rising need for problem-solving capacity teamed with analytical skills to address causes rather than just managing the effects.

As it stands there is little in our current education system that prepares children for employment now - let alone in a couple of decades’ time.

If young people are to succeed in the future, we need to begin considering how we can best teach new competencies, new skills, new applications and new knowledge. We need to shift our educational mindset to prepare our children for their future as opposed to our past.