Ade McCormack

Digital Strategist and Near Futurist
  • Founder of the Digital Readiness Institute, an organisation focused on providing transformative education for the digital age
  • Advisor to business and government leaders around the world, including Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, Accenture, European Commission, and Oracle
  • Author of six books on digital age matters and contributor to business and tech publications such as Financial Times and CIO Magazine
  • Discusses digital age leadership and the evolving nature of talent management, culture, and the workplace

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Near futurist and former technologist, Ade McCormack, is focused on helping organisations and their people thrive in an unknowable digital future. His unique perspective combines anthropology, biology, human performance, and new technology to deliver compelling keynotes that move the minds of the audience. Taking groups on an engaging journey that starts with the dawn of humanity and quickly progresses to exploring the future of work and business, he discusses digital age leadership and the evolving nature of talent management, culture, and the workplace.

McCormack has a ‘bits to boardroom’ understanding of how the world is changing, how we need to respond both personally and professionally, and how to turn that into value. Groups leave his talks with a different and more empowering view on how to excel in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world, where creative disruption will be your friend if innovation lies at the heart of your organisation.

An advisor to business and government leaders in around 40 countries across the world, McCormack offers his sought-after perspective on how to succeed in the digital age by focusing on the cognitive capacity and needs of their people. With over three decades of business and technology experience, most of his clients are globally recognised brands facing disruption from sectors including technology, pharma, professional services, and technology ‘end user’ organisations. A sample of his clients include: Cisco, HPE, Microsoft, IBM, Citrix, EY, Workday, Accenture, Gartner, IDG, European Commission, and Oracle.

The founder of the Digital Readiness Institute, an organisation focused on providing transformative education for the digital age, McCormack is the author of six books on digital age matters, including The e-Skills Manifesto – A Call to Arms for the European Commission. Keen to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity in the digital economy, he has written for many business and technology publications, including as an opinion columnist for the Financial Times and columnist with CIO Magazine.

Involved in executive education with the University of Cambridge, McCormack has lectured at MIT Sloan School of Management on digital leadership. Having graduated with a degree in astrophysics, much of McCormack’s early career focused on software engineering, including working at the European Space Agency in the Space Science department.

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ATM17 EMEA: Keynote, Ade McCormack, Digital Strategist

Homo Extensis: Augmented Man – Ade McCormack, Financial Times

GOTO 2016 • Business 4.0 • Ade McCormack

Interview with Ade McCormack, Digital Strategist

Future of Work. In this keynote, we will explore the evolving nature of work, speculate on how it might continue to evolve, and discuss the implications for business models, talent engagement, and leadership. It is becoming increasingly important to meet our anthropological needs, so a model will be presented to show how we need to reshape our organisations to attract and retain the best talent. As well as providing corporate recommendations, delegates will receive advice on what they must do to remain economically relevant in the digital age.

Digital Business. Digital is much more than just a reference to a technology-enabled business. This keynote will explain what digital is and how businesses need to adapt if they are to thrive in the digital age. The impact on business models, talent and leadership can be explored. As can the changing nature of culture and risk.

Attendees will:

  • Acquire a better understanding of digital and digital business.
  • Understand what they need to do to thrive in the digital age.

Collaborative Working. In this keynote, we will cover the connection between data and better decisions, along with the associated technologies and disciplines needed. We will cover how collaborative working harnesses the cognitive capacity of each of your talented people to create what might be called a collective corporate consciousness.

Robots today are already doing the digital equivalent to accelerate their learning curves. The delegates will learn how to incorporate a collaborative working model into their businesses, as well as how to personally be better collaborative workers.

Talent Management. Whilst new technology is removing the need for people, there is still a need for talent that has value creating capabilities that robots and algorithms have yet to acquire. This has resulted in the war for talent becoming more heated. Consequently, the power axis has shifted from the employer to the employee.

In this keynote, we will learn how the move to the digital era has led to this situation. Plus, we will explore how the very nature of careers is changing, and what this means from a talent management perspective. The role of cognitive management, the jagged resume and deep talent analytics will be covered. The delegates will also learn how to create environments that attract and retain the best talent.

Future Robots. It is no longer true to say that the robots are coming. They are already here. However, the surface has only been scratched in respect of the extent to which they will permeate business and society. This keynote will look at where we are in respect of robot adoption and what lies ahead in respect of future robots. We will cover how robots will impact the future of work, and the practical aspects of weaving the robotic devices into the overall business model. Issues such as ownership, security, data management and human-robot relationships will be explored. 

Business Anthropology. In many respects, the digital age is a return to our hunter gatherer roots; the mobile phone being the new digital spear. The industrial era functional / departmental model is no longer fit for purpose, so we need to look at other models for enterprise sustainability.

In this keynote, we explore how the traditional tribal unit is a tried and tested economic model that modern day organisations would do well to adopt. We will cover the anthropological drivers that need to be built into the model so that we can harness the full capability of our people. The delegates will learn how organisations need to remodel themselves to thrive in the digital age. It will also cause them to reflect on how they can remain value-contributing members of the tribe. Guidance in this respect will be provided.

Social Economy. The emerging social economy is in many respects a return to our true nature. Being social is a key element of our anthropological make up. Businesses that harness this natural inclination are more likely to be successful. This keynote will provide some background on our need to be social. You will see how models, such as collaborative consumption, exploit this need. And how sociality is key to deriving value from your workforce. You will also learn how to reengineer your business to put sociality at its centre.

Information Security. As we transition into a hyper-connected data-driven world, the likelihood and impact of cyber security attacks will only increase. The traditional boundaries that separated the enterprise from the market/ ‘outside world’ have started to dissolve thanks to extranets, outsourcing, crowdsourcing, freelancing and the gig economy.

In this keynote, we will highlight the forces that are driving information security breaches, including the growing need to take more business risks, whilst operating at a faster clock speed. The increasingly damaging consequences of such breaches will be covered. We will also look at ways to tackle this from a leadership, technology and talent perspective. Spoiler alert: Throwing money at the problem won’t ‘cut it’.

Emerging Technologies. New technologies represent an essential element of corporate infrastructure. In many respects, new technologies are no longer a source of competitive advantage because they have become enterprise commodities that are affordable, easy to access and used by most enterprises. The real source of competitive advantage is through emerging technologies that are still considered to be ‘toys’ by many, even though they will likely become ‘threats’, and eventually ‘table stakes’ over time. Smart organisations will evaluate emerging technologies as a means of extending their existing business model. Very smart organisations will explore how they can be used to create new models.

In this keynote, we will explore how emerging technologies can be a source of value creation. We will look at those technologies that have just arrived, those that are on the horizon, and those over the horizon. We will look beyond information technologies into areas such as biological sciences and materials science. The delegates will get a ‘heads up’ on what lies ahead, along with an approach for establishing how they could weave these emerging technologies into their businesses.

Transformational Leadership. Successful business transformation requires transformational leadership. The day of the iconic, ‘larger than life’ hero is over. As talent moves to the centre of the business, the primary job of the leader is to remove the obstacles that obstruct great people from doing great work, and to cultivate a decentralised leadership model. This keynote will explore the drivers leading to this need for change in respect of leadership. It will identify the characteristics of transformational leaders as we enter the digital age. Your key messages can be woven into the content to ensure that the keynote is engaging, compelling and focused on your objectives. The focus can be on leadership in general, or more specifically CEOs, CIOs, CMOs and so on.

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