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To avoid extinction, companies must adapt to disruptive forces — author

Understanding disruptive forces such as artificial intelligence (AI), digital natives, and the gig economy will strengthen the future of any business, said entrepreneur, serial investor, and public speaker Maulik Parekh in his book, Futureproof Your Company and Career.

“In this rapidly changing world, we have a choice to make—either we future-proof ourselves or we risk becoming extinct,” Mr. Parekh said.

It was during his leadership in outsourcing companies like Inspiro and SPi Global that he began to recognize these disruptive forces and gleaned insights on how to future-proof companies and careers. 

At the virtual book launch, Mr. Parekh said that AI can do jobs that are repetitive, boring, predictable, and have defined objectives. Investing in becoming a better human by inspiring and leading, on the other hand, will insulate you from the risk of AI automation for the next 10 years at least.

Digital natives, meanwhile, have the potential to disrupt the status quo of any company. To partner with Gen Zers and millennials, it is important to know what their values and motivations are. Equally important is optimizing their skillsets.

Laura Butler, senior vice-president for people and culture at Workfront, an enterprise work management company based in Utah, said that purpose is the connective tissue that connects the four generations (from baby boomers to Gen Zers) in the workforce. “People are more engaged if they feel a purpose in their work,” she said. “That’s not something unique to millennials. Everyone feels that.”

Ms. Butler was a guest at the virtual launch along with Paula Vogliazzo, founder of management consulting firm Scale Up Business in Buenos Aires; and Manuel V. Pangilinan, managing director and chief executive of Hong Kong-listed First Pacific Co. Ltd.  

Being adaptable to changes in workforce trends was also a recurring theme throughout the event.

The rise of the gig economy is all about humanity’s innate desire for freedom, said Mr. Parekh. “I know some Harvard graduates who have left traditional employment and said ‘freedom is what I’m after’ … One left his law firm and became a freelancer servicing clients from around the world,” he added.

Ms. Vogliazzo advised companies to start planning their businesses to make them attractive to these professionals. “Freelancers will collaborate with your company but not on a full-time basis.”

A crucial point taken up at the aforementioned event was the reminder that the future belongs to those who are humble, curious, and learnable.  

Mr. Pangilinan quoted Winston Churchill’s aphorism: “Success is never final. You’re only as good as your last deal, your last quarterly results—and then the world expects more and more of you. Savor your success because guess what? Tomorrow, people expect more from you.” He said, too, that failure is part of the rich tapestry of life: “Failure is not fatal. Don’t feel impervious to failure. Know that it’s a fleeting moment—whether it’s success or failure.” — Patricia B. Mirasol

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