Reflections from the Executive Program

As Singularity University’s Vice President of Open Enrollment Solutions, I am fortunate to be in the frequent company of leaders from global corporations, governments, universities, and impact organizations. But these meetings are anything but routine. I’m actually with them during our Executive Program, which most attendees describe as one of the most transformational experiences of their professional lives.

In a recent Executive Program, we convened leaders from 37 countries for conversations that were robust and varied, fueled by perspectives and provocations from our collection of world-class faculty and participants. Here are my top takeaways from our September 2018 cohort:

1. The importance of continually questioning your business model in light of accelerating technological change cannot be overstated.

While our natural tendency may be to defend one’s business model even in the face of disruptive change, we must interrogate our models with a critical eye and not be afraid to question everything. As Paul Saffo, our Forecasting and Future Studies Chair, is fond of saying, “Sacred cows make the best burgers.”

2. Advances in artificial intelligence, digital biology, and neuroscience are causing us to question the qualities that will be uniquely human as these technologies become more deeply integrated into our lives.

How will we manage the likely ethical and moral issues of potential augmentation? Will there be a bifurcation between those who can and those who cannot afford to take advantage of the latest technologies to enjoy better health, greater longevity, and unmatched intellect? How will these advances impact the business models of companies built around the predictable needs of an aging population, such as healthcare, life insurance, and financial planning? (Hint: see Takeaway #1 for advice.)

Chip Norcross & Ray Kurzweil

3. We need to move from an “I’m working on…” mindset to an “I’m working to solve…” framework as we think about the big challenges that we can solve and make 10x better together.

As our Executive Founder and Director Peter Diamandis is known for saying, we’re living during a time when the democratization of technology gives individuals the ability to make an unparalleled impact in a way that only the largest companies or governments could have accomplished only a few decades ago. Find something you care about making better, whether it’s reducing carbon in the atmosphere or creating new accounting standards for an exponential business environment, and start working with the intention of creating a solution that makes the problem go away.

One of our core beliefs at SU is that diverse groups create the best solutions, and we welcome people with varied perspectives on the future to join the conversation. If these are the kinds of conversations that interest you, join me and leaders from around the world at an upcoming Executive Program. You’ll emerge with a new mindset and the tools to help bring exponential thinking to your organizations, communities, families, and friends.