Ade McCormack

Founder, Intelligent Leadership Hub
  • Former Financial Times columnist.
  • Works with Cambridge University on leadership development.
  • Lectured at MIT Sloan on leadership matters.
  • Founder of the Intelligent Leadership Hub a think and do tank focused on resetting leadership.
  • Former technologist who today advises leaders on transformational matters.
  • Has worked in over forty countries across the world.
  • Has written six books on leadership and transformation.

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Former technologist Ade McCormack is focused on helping organisations thrive in an increasingly disrupted world. He is founder of the Intelligent Leadership Hub, a collective of leaders and leadership experts focused on developing leaders for an increasingly uncertain world.

As a keynoter, his perspectives combine anthropology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, human performance, and new technology to deliver compelling keynotes that move the minds of the audience. Audiences are taken on an engaging journey that starts with the dawn of humanity and quickly progresses to exploring the future of work and business. His action-oriented approach explores the implications for:

  • Talent management - including hybrid working, DEI and cognition management.
  • Operating models – from process-factory to situationally aware, super-resilient ‘living organism’.
  • Technology - including generative AI.
  • Motivation – Profit versus assets.
  • Societal implications – Are you heading towards a dystopia?
  • Leadership – Heroic individual to ubiquitous leadership.

McCormack has a ‘bits to boardroom’ understanding of how the world is changing, how we need to respond both personally and professionally to create value. Groups leave his talks with a different and more empowering view on how to excel in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world and on how to make Nature your business partner.

He is an advisor to both business and government leaders and has worked in around 40 countries across a myriad of sectors. A sample of his clients include: University of Cambridge, Cisco, HPE, Microsoft, IBM, EY, Workday, Accenture, Sultanate of Oman, European Commission, Irish Management Institute and Oracle.

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.

Today McCormack is Involved in executive education with the University of Cambridge. He 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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Intelligent Leadership. Disruption is taking us into uncharted territory. Many leaders are in denial and trying to apply industrial era principles to a post-industrial era world. Leaders now need to look beyond being administrators of a process-driven factory and towards leading an organisation more akin to a living, sensing organism.

In this session, you will learn why leaders need to:

  • Understand that the disruption we are experiencing today is simply a foreshock for what is to come.
  • Build organisations that are sensing and opportunistic.
  • Reassess their relationship with efficiency, risk and innovation.
  • Create the conditions to harness the collective cognition of their people and to augment its impact using the latest technologies.
  • See their people as cognitive athletes, themselves as cognitive coaches and the workplace as the cognitive gymnasium.

Future of Work. In this keynote, we will explore the evolving nature of work, speculate on how it might continue to evolve, particularly in the light of hybrid working and generative AI. We will explore 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.

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 / ‘infinite game’ 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.

Business Anthropology. In many respects, increasing disruption is forcing 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; some high-profile organisations are doing this already. 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.

Transformational Leadership. Successful business transformation requires transformational leadership. The day of the iconic, ‘larger than life’ heroic leader 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, even ubiquitous, 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 an era of increasing disruption. 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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