Learnings from the NewCo Shift Forum

Photo of Mary Gilbert

newco shift forum logo blackDigital Transformation isn’t just about making sexy experiences, or eliminating jobs, it’s about creating possibilities and capacity in people.

In February, Caiman CEO Raazi Imam and I had the privilege of being delegates to the NewCo Shift Forum in the Bay Area. This three-day interactive event was designed to bring leaders from business, government, and NGOs together to explore the important shifts happening in business and society today - a/k/a the "4th Wave of the Industrial Revolution".

The intimate forum was striking in its commentary-style analysis of world events (especially through the lens of the recent US election), highlighting of powerful political voices such as John Podesta and Robert Reich, and showcasing of leaders from both established industry, "newcos", and unique social enterprises. Popular public figures like Tyler Florence spoke about radical business changes enabled by technology, like creating a direct path to the consumer. He said, “We’ve completely reinvented our business, and it has been mind-blowing, for the better, because we’ve opened up all these new lanes of access.” You can watch his full speech here. Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, an entrepreneur himself, spoke about how changing the core KPIs of a team can radically change a culture and create positive outcomes when everyone feels involved. Watch the full interview.

In Change There Is Opportunity
Capitalism, as we know it, is at risk. The role of digital transformation is both exciting and alarming. New innovation can help us take better, more ethical, and informed actions on issues like climate change, hunger, and income inequality; however, 47% of total US employment is at high risk of displacement due to automation.

While all this change can be unsettling, technology and local government along with NGOs are working closer than ever to design the future, with tech companies taking the lead on political and cultural actions from their employees and customers. It’s going to take rich human capital to drive this transformation across the private sector, NGOs, and government, and talent will be at a premium for at least the next 10 years. This represents an opportunity for the "human capital business".

The Road Ahead for Caiman
What this means for Caiman is that now, more than ever, we need to lead with purpose and lean into tech while looking for ways to leverage human capacity to solve the next wave of challenges.

We need to help our clients think more about stakeholder value vs. shareholder value. We should be asking ourselves the question, “How does our work make the world better?”. We need to pay attention to politics by understanding the role of policy and where we stand on immigration, climate change, automation, and globalization.

And finally, we need to prioritize human capital, which reinforces that developing our people remains our top priority. Our focus on HR and social media are where the action is. These are pivotal tools for organizational and global change.

Related: The Human Connection