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Uncertainty is a fact of life. We may try to calculate what’s to come but the future remains ambiguous. The complexity of modern life simply does not allow precise predictions – no matter how much we may crave them, renowned British author Margaret Heffernan says in her most recent book. “Ineradicable uncertainty is now a fact of life”, she writes. “In complex environments, efficiency is a hazard not a help; being robust is the better, safer option.”
In conversation with WeWork’s Niki Kolev, Margaret Heffernan elaborated on these thoughts and applied them to business and the economy: How can business leaders better prepare for future crises? Which changes are needed to make society more resilient?
Dr. Margaret Heffernan is a former BBC producer and entrepreneur who has written six books. Her third book, Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril, was named one of the most important business books of the decade by the Financial Times. In 2015, she was awarded the Transmission Prize for A Bigger Prize: Why Competition Isn’t Everything and How We Do Better. Her most recent book, Uncharted: How to map the future, was published in 2020. She is Lead Faculty for the Forward Institute’s Responsible Leadership Programme and, through Merryck & Co., mentors CEOs and senior executives of major global organizations.
Niki Kolev is Managing Director Northern & Central Europe at WeWork. He brings 13 years of entrepreneurial, management and investment experience. After starting his career at Kearney, he was part of Skrill’s Senior Management team with global responsibility for the B2B (125k clients) and B2C (34m users) business. After Skrill‘s exit, Kolev returned to Kearney in 2012 as a Principal and founded the Kearny Digital Lab in EMEA. In 2014, Kolev co-founded Deloitte Digital Ventures and served on Deloitte’s Consulting Management Team (CMT) as Digital Transformation Lead from 2016-2019.
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|0:10||Intro by Steffi Czerny|
|2:00||Learning from the coronavirus crisis: Make uncertainty your friend.|
|3:30||The best way to adapt to a new business environment.|
|7:45||Comfort zones, corporate assets and recipes for change.|
|10:00||The crisis as an opportunity for change.|
|10:30||A chance for young leaders of tomorrow to learn more in life than at university.|
|15:30||Advice to the CEO: Open up and “ask everybody” because “there’s always more knowledge at the edge than at the center”.|
|16:55||The reinvention of Nokia.|
|18:40||“How hungry are young people today?”|
|19:35||Office life and productivity.|
|22:00||Finding the right mix of fresh ideas and talent with experience.|
|24:00||“The best work is done by very rich, often very contentious collaboration.”|
|26:00||Planning the future in the middle of a worldwide crisis.|
|27:30||Why starting a book is similar to starting a business.|
|29:10||Age, creativity and entrepreneurship.|
|33:15||Women and minorities as much-needed drivers of change.|
|40:40||Don’t say anything…|
|41:30||Disruption in the consulting business.|
|42:40||Remote work and the future of the office.|
|50:00||Can optimism be taught?|
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