Our near future West, via the far East  #22 #cong16

By Sean Fay.

At the 2014 Global Leadership Summit in London, 34% of the CEO’s surveyed said that more than half their company’s full-time workforce would be working remotely by 2020. 

A full 25% said that more than three-quarters would not work in a traditional office by 2020.

LSE Professor Julian Birkinshaw, believes agility not scale is the future of success in business. If we are leaving the ‘Information Age’ and moving into the ‘Agile Age’, the ability for an organisation to act will be paramount above the need to analyse endless amounts of data.

The business Goliaths of today are undergoing ‘paralysis by analysis.’ Disparate teams unified through the ability to have meaningful communication without the need to physically travel to each other will be the business pirates of tomorrow. In 1983, Steve Jobs held a retreat with his Macintosh team. He told them that, 

It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy.


Apple might have a skull & cross bones outside their HQ, but they are the navy now. 

The future of agility and technology is evident from the distant past. David battled the Philistine many times his size and the champion of the opposing army with the conviction that he would win.  Goliath was killed because he did not see the future had arrived for some. 

Goliath carried over a hundred pounds of armour, David was dressed as a shepherd, but Goliath’s problems were deeper than being less agile, he brought a knife to a gun fight.

Eitan Hirsch, a ballistics expert with the Israeli Defence Forces found that a stone slung by an expert such as David would have hit Goliath at thirty-four metres per second, this is equivalent to a modern handgun. What turned a simple stone and piece of leather into a deadly weapon? Malcolm Gladwell tells us that; 

Slinging took an extraordinary amount of skill and practice, but in experienced hands, the sling was a devastating weapon. Irish slingers were said to be able to hit a coin from as far away as they could see.

Another Irish but slightly more recent indicator from the past about the future of our West shows that technology and agility only have impact with leadership. These lessons come from nearer Cong.  Virtualisation and the development of communication will mark the West as a location for leaders both XX and XY. But in this case, X does not mark the spot in a pirate sense, for Grace O'Malley was a head of state, with major assets and international trade. Conversing directly with other heads of state as an equal, she understood the ability to attract and hold talent as the route to scaling your success. Peter Cheese indicates that globalisation is speeding up the mobility of talent. 

The key assets of Microsoft go up and down in the elevators and in and out of the doors of the company every day.

William Henry "Bill" Gates

It seems leaders with a mobile workforce understood the necessity of talent management over 400 years before our Bill. 

go mb'fhearr liom lán loinge de chlann Chonraoi agus de chlann Mhic an Fhailí ná lán loinge d'ór.

(I would rather have a shipload of Conroys and MacAnallys than a shipload of gold)

Grace O'Malley

Virtualisation will enable the relocation or return of talent all over the globe. If the war for talent is over, because talent won, then the West of Ireland can win through its people and its beauty. In the future, concerns about pollution, crime and social cohesion will out way many other concerns. Developments in areas like home audio visual and drone technology might make the necessity to be near a cinema or shopping mall redundant. I am a regularly flyer and recently was in discussion with a career investment banker on a trip to London. He expressed his wife’s very strong wish to move from London to Dublin. I asked why? I offered my preferred starters for 10. 

Moving from the number 1 city in the world for the cost of property to the 25th? 

George Washington University found Ireland the most conducive place to live in the world as a Muslim?

The fact that

Ireland’s immigrant population in 2016 is larger per capita than Germany, France, UK or even the USA, but Ireland still has never had an anti-immigration politician elected to office?*.

Given that Ireland has the highest level of degree education in the EU, would it be education that might entice him as inward talent? If so, I told him that the highest pass rate in the state system into University was 93% and is on the West coast of Ireland. We think people could travel far and wide for that, who knows how far? 

My flight friend took me by surprise, his answer was that he wanted to move to Dublin because it was safe. 

Nobody hates the Irish.

Like my plane friend, I too was on the tube on 7/7. I fear that in the future, this factor of where people live will only increase. 

The largest IPO in the world is from a company that is head quartered the same distance as Cong is from its twin in Cork. Shanghai appears to be the city of the future, but us pirates are made to do big things, but maybe not from big cities. Returning from the USA in 1995 to China, Jack Ma created a company that the smartest Chinese grads now want to work for instead of Google or Facebook. China’s modern economy has 海龟 - Sea Turtles – Haigui as an important part of the mix. I told my plane friend that we were the smartest scholars in Europe, I forget to tell him that we are the youngest society as well. 

We need to create a greater indigenous scalable canopy for these green shoots to grow under. 

I do not foresee the time that it will not be necessary to physically meet with colleagues and clients. I don’t think there will be a virtual teacher, garda or undertaker. People will still go places, but daily work travel will only be for a few jobs.  Access to an airport will become critical, by 2025 aircraft will burn 50 percent less fuel than those made in 1998, emit 75 percent fewer harmful emissions; and shrink the size of geographic areas affected by objectionable airport noise by 83 percent**. Thanks to Monsignor Horan’s instance that the Knock runway was built from two points towards the middle, so budget cuts could not reduce its size, the future is already built in. 

Condé Nast Travel Magazine place only 4 European cities in the top 20 friendliest in the world, three are Kilkenny, Dublin and Cork. Since that survey, the Wild Atlantic Way initiative has brought tourism west.  

Virtualisation will play an important part of moving this into the Wild Atlantic Stay.


*Kevin Whelan, Michael Smurfit Director of the Keogh - Notre Dame Centre in Dublin.

**NASA


© Eoin Kennedy 2017 eoin at congregation dot ie