Futurist Amy Webb: Flexibility, curiosity, and an open mind are key for good business decisions

Every year, Roschier, as a partner of Nordic Business Forum, can invite one of the Nordic Business Forum speakers to do a keynote speech at a breakfast event for invited clients and contacts. This year, futurist Amy Webb joined us to talk about some of the common threats across all industries, as, in the wake of AI and in the face of geopolitical turmoil, organizations are facing major changes.

Amy Webb held her audience in the palm of her hand from the second she entered the stage at Roschier, mere hours before she was to go up on the main stage at the Nordic Business Forum.

To show the audience how to be prepared for the future, she gave some examples of companies and corporations that have failed (so-called “bystanders”) and some that have adapted and thrived (so-called “pathfinders”). The common denominator for the pathfinders is that they think far ahead and try to figure out what the next generation will be interested in. Pathfinders are companies that maintain their curiosity and consider crucial aspects for the future, like distribution channels, content and legal and HR -related issues.

“Always rehearse the future, and never stop asking “What if”. Every time you ask that question and analyze different possible outcomes over time, you will get different answers. It’s about being prepared for different futures that are plausible, possible, and preferred. The companies that become bystanders are the ones who stopped asking “What if” and stopped evolving,” Amy said.

She reminded the audience that the hot topics change often, and mentioned block chain, the Metaverse, and crypto currency as examples of bygone hot topics.

“AI is the current hot topic, but in a couple of years, there will be another hot topic. We should consider AI as the thinking that’s happening behind the scenes and decide how it should be used – we are now at a critical decision point.”

She also had a message especially for the Nordic business leaders:

“It is increasingly hard to make decisions, due to the enormous influx of information. You need more flexibility and less rigidity in the structures and decision-making. Businesses in the Nordic countries have historically succeeded well due to a certain rigidity, but now is the time to rethink that”.

Main contacts

Ami Paanajärvi 
Partner
Helsinki