Dream big with Euan Semple

Dream big with Euan Semple

(#25 of our Together-Ensemble series)

After more than 20 years at the helm of technology, Euan Semple is a person with deep wisdom about the virtual world.

This session with him was a real gift because he generally refuses most requests, being like many around him of this generation disillusioned with the way things are going.

This session was a natural follow up to “who really controls our lives?”. It took place on 15 July 2021.

This time, we wanted to know what needs to be done for the dream and in particular, how technology can be developed to support our well-being, and a key component, our relationships.

OPENING CONVERSATION

Euan Semple has been a leader and an influencer in the ever changing field of digital technology for two decades. An early adopter of social media, he implemented one of the first enterprise social network systems inside the BBC. He also ran BBC DigiLab, a department whose purpose was to help the BBC understand new technologies across the range of its activities and make better decisions about their use and implementation. After the BBC, which he left in 2006, he established his own consultancy and subsequently worked around the world with an amazing range of organisations including BP, The World Bank, The European commission, and Volvo. His work with them has been to help stretch their thinking about digital transformation in all its forms and to ensure that they end up doing the right things for the right reasons. Euan Semple is also the best selling author of “Organizations Don’t Tweet: People Do”.

In this discussion, he covered living well with uncertainty, developing technologies to complete ourselves not to replace ourselves to foster well-being, management by being interested and the need for systems thinking.

MAIN RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE WORKSHOP

This talk inspired about 100 colleagues to identify solutions to some current complex problems.

  • Main impacts of COVID-19 crisis: Better distant contacts while worse close contacts. But also, more interactions with local community, contributing to the place where we live. Less informal conversations. Relationships selected based on quality. New ways to network & work. Better mastery of our lives (balance between personal/professional, better self-care). Information overload became an increased issue. Tech took over our life. Increased feeling of being traced. Increased speed of connection. Possibility to participate in several meetings at the same time. Access to more resources. The future is clear(er) now than before, no choice, we have to adopt tech. Even if we don’t like what this involves. Therefore… we need;
  • Life long learning – Pedagogy not technology!
  • Reduce dependency to technology
  • Make technology more practical
  • Adapt: The most challenging task will be to adapt the old administrative models including the disruptive changes introduced by technology.
  • Tech for a more caring world… We need a step back and add value to the human capital as well as ownership, initiative, etc. We have had our technology share and now need some time to absorb it, and see what to do with it. The technical innovation that is needed most is the tool that allows us to fairly distribute wealth. Or a platform that allows anyone to launch global collaboration initiatives. Any technology that helps us “domesticate” technology (e.g. enforce privacy, avoid screen addiction, …). A tool which allows us to perform analytical & semantical relational analysis (automated AI). Practicality and friendly to the user. Technology that allows us to work from anywhere (but wait … this technology exists, it is the regulatory framework that doesn’t.
  • Need for more regulations – The technology offers the false sense of security. Facebook managed to control what peoples think… not even the KGB or Securitate managed to do that. Need more regulation, indeed EU is the best legislative regulator, but this must be at the world level, not only in the EU.

Related links:

The Obvious? — Euan Semple

Next article: Trapped by plastic, which gives us a very concrete case for pushing global collaboration everywhere!

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