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Harnessing Uncertainty to Survive Disruption

Podcast host Tania Salarvand | Podcast guest Leonard Brody
August 22, 2019 | 16 min 59 sec

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Brief summary

The digital revolution is changing the way we live and work, and organizations must pivot their business models to adapt, whilst maintaining their core offering. Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist, Leonard Brody explores the necessity of creating your own internal intelligence division to survive disruption. If you are a business or tech leader, looking to future-proof your business, this is the podcast for you.


A human being 30 years ago was a physical being; we didn't have the technology platforms that we do now. Today, when dealing with customers, we have to be very aware of the behavioural markers of somebody who we are identifying and relating to in their virtual identity versus their physical one and the difference between the two personas. People do things in their virtual identity that they wouldn't do in their physical one.

Institutions are things we set up to govern our lives, such as businesses, religion, government etc. We are witnessing an unravelling of these structures because many of them were based on technology or patriarchal assumptions that are no longer true. With the internet, we owned our communications for the first time and were able to challenge how we think about these structures. Institutions need to be aware that the humans that they serve, are not the same as the humans 20-30 years ago and react accordingly. 

If you dont know what you dont know, your organization will cease to exist. You are in an environment where you are exposed to phenomena that you won’t know about until its too late and can't control. So how do you defend against that? By creating alpha-modality, which allows you to prepare for your own destruction.

Alpha-modality is two-fold:

  •  A conscious choice to twin the organization- with the entity as is today as one part, and one part looking at the entity going forward. 

  • Test and learn. Companies dont test live products in the wild enough. Every brand has fans that they can engage to test their product, even if it fails.

One of the great obstacles to growth and innovation are the boards of directors because, over-time, their focus has shifted from strategy to risk management. If the board isn’t holding officers accountable for alpha-mode or creating a vision of the future, no one will. 

Importance of creating the Future Committee (F-Com), whose job is to hold other officers and directors accountable for the vision of the business in its own destruction. Their job is to have deep intelligence about threats to the business and have a formalized process by which their organization can react to that. 

The biggest mistake leaders make is killing their innovation strategy when the market gets tough. It’s easier to think about innovation when times are good- when you have excess cash and are not in crisis mode- but need to recognize that when times are tough- that’s when you should be doing your biggest experiments to allow you to survive and grow in the lows.

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