Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Fooled by Psychographic Profiles and Social Engineering

In the 1960s psychographic researchers began studying how to understand consumers and their behaviors at a deeper level based on personality traits, emotional triggers, interests, needs, values and attitudes, etc.  A few decades later these findings were dusted off and combined with neuromarketing (the measurement of physiological and neural signals to gain insight into customers' motivations, preferences, and decision) to study how various advertisements and political messages impacted people with different psychological or psychographic profiles.  

The data for a large number of psychographic profiles was infamously collected from personality quizzes, surveys and games on Facebook and other social media platforms without the knowledge of the user, or as claimed - the platforms themselves.  All of this data was eventually combined with social engineering strategies and methods, and a military tactic called “information operations” by political strategists for the purpose of  influencing large populations.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

SAP's Vaccine Collaboration Hub - An Interview with Michael Byczkowski, GVP and Head of Healthcare for SAP

Our guest this week is SAP's GVP and Head of Healthcare Industry, Michael Byczkowski. We take a deep dive into healthcare trends pre-pandemic, and then explore how the pandemic has changed priorities globally. We explore SAP's Vaccine Collaboration Hub and other technologies and solution they have introduced to help support the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. We end by looking into the future and how our experiences this last year may change the face of healthcare forever.  Enjoy!

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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Social Engineering - Mind Manipulation at Scale


Social engineering poses potential threats to human rights, markets and democracies. These concerns are based on the notion that humans are a product of their environment and the information they consume.
The average person in the US spends approximately 3 hours each day consuming data from their device screens.  That totals about a month and a half of screen time each year.  We are influenced by that time, and it changes our thinking and behaviors.  Is our time investment making us better or worse as humans, parents, employees, leaders, mentors, friends, etc?  Are we being influenced to become the kind of person we want to be?

Our addictive dependence upon the internet and the information therein is the revolutionary development of our time. Today, we have approximately 26 to 50 billion devices connected to the internet. For every PC or handset connected to the internet, 5 to 10 other devices will be sold with their own internet connection. These devices are both collecting data on us, and pushing information/disinformation to us. The applications, platforms and the messages we receive from them are not random. They are purposeful and managed by organizations intent on influencing us. Often these influencing efforts are invisible or overlooked by us. The influence strategies and campaigns being directed at us are called social engineering - the focus of this article.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Esperanto's Missing Ecosystem - Bringing Order to Sustainability Chaos

Esperanto is not worth learning to many because there aren't many speakers. Without an influx of speakers, it's just a toy language for nerds. 
In 1887 the Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof developed a language he called Esperanto.  He first described the language in the book The International Language, which he published in five different languages.  Why? No one could read Esperanto.  In 2021 it is still mostly the case.

When a person ponders learning a second language they often consider the number of speakers it has.  They associate value with numbers.  In the case of Esperanto it still has less than 2,000 native speakers.  With such a small group of speakers it is mostly an interesting academic topic today, but not very practical as a language for everyday use or business.  It needs an ecosystem of participants all actively using it to make it grow and thrive.

Monday, March 15, 2021

5G and the Future Impact with Ericsson's Expert Rob Tiffany

This is Part 2 of my interview with Rob Tiffany, VP & Head of IoT Strategy at Ericsson.  He walks us through his views on the future impact of 5G on consumers and industries.  


Watch Part 1 of this interview here.


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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Ecosystem Strategies Dominate the Future - Cowboys or Not

In the rural west of the United States, it is common to meet people with libertarian political views - leave me alone and I will leave you alone.  It’s a cowboy type ethos of being independent and self-sufficient.  That’s one reason it’s so hard to get them to be compliant with social distancing and mask wearing.  They seem to struggle with sacrificing some independence for a common community good. 

Although these perspectives may serve rural cowboys well, working alone is not helpful when a business is trying to operate in an environment with emerging and competing ecosystems, which are organizations working together for their mutual benefit.  Ecosystem business strategies change the operating conditions and rules of business.  In order to survive and thrive in business today, a basic understanding of ecosystem business strategies is required.  In addition, the ability to cooperate and play nice with others in order to develop a shared and mutually beneficial value chain is critical.

When I was the CEO of an start-up mobile technology company 19 years ago, it was before Apple had mobile devices, iTunes and the Apple App Store.  It was before Google had developed Android and Google Play.  Our mobile software solutions had to be downloaded directly from our servers and individually loaded on every mobile device.  We had to spend massive amounts of time developing standardized ways of supporting and servicing our own customers.  Today all of these processes are standardized within giant ecosystems and all the ecosystem participants share in the value that was created.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

5G and the New World with Ericsson Expert Rob Tiffany

5G expert Rob Tiffany joins me for a deep dive discussion on the impact of 5G on businesses.  If you don't already know Rob, he is an author, innovator, inventor, submariner, philanthropist, programmer, foodie, grunge music fan and VP and Head of IoT Strategy at Ericsson.

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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Conspiracy Theories and Their Impact on Employment Opportunities

A question has been lingering in the back of my mind of late.  Does a belief in and the sharing of conspiracy theories have any potential impacts on employment opportunities and/or career advancement?  This week I finally carved out some time to do research.  I found more research than I expected on this topic and my findings follow. 

I have shared many of the excerpts from my research with their associated links to their sources below.  Much of my research was found on PubMed.gov, a research site from the National Library of Medicine's National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  • The current research suggests that conspiracy theories may have potentially damaging and widespread consequences for intergroup relations.  © 2019 The Authors. British Journal of Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30868563/
  • Conspiracy theories are consequential as they have a real impact on people's health, relationships, and safety; They are emotional given that negative emotions and not rational deliberations cause conspiracy beliefs; They are social as conspiracy beliefs are closely associated with psychological motivations underlying intergroup conflict.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30555188/
  • Research suggests that conspiracy theories are associated with political apathy, support for non-normative political action, climate denial, vaccine refusal, prejudice, crime, violence, disengagement in the workplace, and reluctance to adhere to COVID-19 recommendations.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33612140/
  • Belief in conspiracy theories about the workplace are associated with increased turnover intentions and decreased organizational commitment and job satisfaction. The current studies therefore demonstrate the potentially adverse consequences of conspiracy theorizing for the workplace. We argue that managers and employees should be careful not to dismiss conspiracy theorizing as harmless rumour or gossip. © 2016, The British Psychological Society - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27488243/
  • In May-June of 2017, the organization Leadership IQ surveyed 3,272 leaders and professionals in the USA and found that: 59% are concerned about ‘fake news’ in the workplace.  24% rising to the level of ‘very concerned'.  64% are concerned about ‘alternative facts’ in the workplace.  27% rising to the level of ‘very concerned’
  • Higher faith in intuition, uncertainty avoidance, impulsivity, generic conspiracy beliefs, religiosity, and right-wing ideology, and a lower level of cognitive reflection were associated with a higher level of belief in COVID-19 conspiracy theories.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32837129/

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Ideas as Competitive Advantages

Recently an executive referred to our TCS Future of Business team as an idea factory.  I took that as a huge compliment.  No invention, good deed or successful company has ever been created without ideas.  Ideas can form nations.  Ideas can send astronauts to the Moon and robots to Mars.  Ideas can accelerate the development of life saving vaccines.

Last year I met with a room full of executives and one of the first things one of them asked was, "What new ideas are you bringing to the table?"  I loved that question!

In evolutionary biology competition is often described as survival of the fittest.  Today, however, competition often revolves around ideas, and the best ideas win.
While human biology evolves so slowly we don’t notice, ideas evolve so quickly, we can’t keep up. Idea evolution is like biological evolution on steroids. ~ Futurist Gerd Leonhard
If good ideas are the secret to success, then it is important we know their definition.  A good idea is a "thought about a virtuous course of action.".  Where do we get good ideas?  My TCS colleague and renowned futurist Frank Diana recently wrote that, "We all now have access (via the internet) to the collective intelligence of society, and we are therefore exposed to more ideas than ever."  Good ideas do not even need to be completely new to have value.  Frank often speaks of the value of "combinatorial" technologies.  Unique combinations of existing technologies that offer value in new ways.

Monday, March 01, 2021

The Current and Future State of Eldercare

If we are lucky enough to live long enough, we will all likely end up managing elder care for someone or experiencing it ourselves.  It is a very challenging area that seems to always be underfunded.  How can emerging technologies help?  In this insightful interview with TCS elder care expert Ved Sen we discuss these issues and more.


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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.