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The Future Belongs to Those Who Cannot be Replaced by a Machine

27th January 2017 - 421 days ago

The unpredictable events of 2016 were unpredictable and the longing for people to exert control over issues they themselves do not have singular influence. So will 2017 bring more of the same? Absolutely, but business and industry has always challenged the status quo and sought to expand horizons not limit them. And in the face of the global political change and currency fluctuations, the role of industry and business remains the same- move forward in a positive direction.

In 2017, the pace of change will only accelerate. Electrically powered and fully autonomous transportation, intelligent nanomaterials, increasing robotisation and artificial intelligence will be felt much sooner than many commentators expect and will have a fundamental effect on how we interact with the world and each other. The management of these challenges however remains the same year over year, industry to industry.

In my conversations with technology leaders, inventors, defence contractors, engineers, manufacturers and cyber security agencies, the issues of concern continue to be around similar themes - setting objectives with clear roles and responsibilities and with weekly measurement and follow-up.

Nick Fry

Nick Fry

Former CEO & Co-owner of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

How can we improve communication across ‘silos’? How do we attract and retain the best people from a diverse global talent pool? How do we do things faster and at better quality with lower cost and with more efficient use of resources? These are all frequent themes. Encouraging innovation and risk-taking to gain competitive advantage whilst embedding a ’no blame' culture where people can try and sometimes fail. These are all areas where a highly technical sport like F1 can teach many lessons.

An environment where a minimum of 10% year over year efficiency improvement is required and a mentality in each person which says ‘if we don’t find a solution someone else will’ pays dividends or ensures survival in any business. Being mindful of political changes and how they might affect our business and lives is important but equally should not dominate our thinking. There is always a solution. Generally by focusing on improving the basics, which will work under most if not all scenarios, is key. The future belongs to those who cannot be replaced by a machine!

Nick Fry is the former CEO and co-owner of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team and was responsible for building the teams that won F1 Drivers and Constructors Championships.

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