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The power of disruption

Published: 
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Arthur Lok Jack GSB hosts leadership, innovation talks
Businessman Arthur Lok Jack, right chats with New York University professor Luke William who was the featured speaker at The Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business Distinguished Leadership and Innovation Conference (DLIC) titled, “D Day”: A Master Conference on Disruption at Hyatt Regency last Friday. PICTURE KERWIN PIERRE

The Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business (ALJGSB) is planning further expansion, specifically to Africa. CEO David Dulal-Whiteway said a few weeks ago an memorandum of understanding was renewed with a university in Ghana.

“They would like to offer programmes which we have developed for their students.

“The business school also will commence our first undergraduate programme in Bachelor in Sustainable and International Business in September this year, so the name change came about quite naturally as the institution’s expansion in international markets has paved the way for the school’s progression into the global landscape.

Dulal-Whiteway spoke at ALJGSB’s Distinguished Leadership and Innovation Conference, D Day: A Master Conference on Disruption, aimed strengthening the region’s capacity in leadership and innovation.

In its 16th year, the annual event is known for inspiring thought-provoking concepts while creating an interactive environment for Caribbean and Latin American leaders to discuss challenges and potential solutions.

Insights into how to achieve positive transformation in business through disruptive change, which is at the core of innovative leadership, were also explored.

Dulal-Whiteway said in recognising that leadership continues to be a key pillar, the UWI and the school, through its mandate, continuously focuses on improving the quality of leadership in the region.

“As Caribbean leaders we have been schooled in the thought that incremental change is safe and disruptive change is fraught with danger,” he said.

“It is my view that containing the status quo is actually the riskiest thing to do at this point in time. As leaders we are great at driving the organisations, setting new paths and forging ahead on those same paths.”

He noted that if the status quo is to altered rather than preserved, motivation and a change in mindset must become key elements.

And amidst T&T’s challenging economic times, there’s a silver lining.

“How we do things is more important than what we do. A recession is an opportunity to reposition your organisation for emerging opportunities and to build a more resilient organisation.

“You must first survive in order to be around for the next upswing in the economy,” Dulal-Whiteway advised.

Anticipatory management

Businessman Arthur Lok Jack, zeroing in on the concept of anticipatory management, noted that this is an important ingredient in success as it enables businesses to “see around the corners.”

He said there are two aspects to a business: growth and trying to avoid pitfalls.

“Both of those things are constantly in the minds of most CEOs. Sometimes it’s difficult because these two things work against each other, especially according to the economic circumstances and the competitive environment that we’re in.”

According to Lok Jack, that is when the “what ifs” come into play, forcing some businesses to be proactive in implementing plans.

“It causes you to think and it makes you feel uncomfortable a bit, because when you ask the question “what if” the obvious response from inside of you is “how do I treat with it?

“And in that regard you therefore unearth certain contingencies. There are many successful businessmen who foresaw the problem long before it happened and so they are perceived to be lucky, but it’s not luck.

They anticipated their problems and organised to suit around it so, by the time the problem arose, they would be okay,” Lok Jack said.

Anticipatory management, he explained, is extremely important, especially in a fast moving world and also where technology is disrupting every aspect of life.

Featured speaker, New York University professor Luke Williams, said a crisis is a terrible thing to waste since it is during this time that new ideas must be born.

The idea of disruption, Williams advised, is about creativity and not about growing a business intermittently. Many, he noted, failed to embrace change but it was thinking outside the box that paved the way for success.

Williams offered several tips for success, including crafting a disruptive hypothesis, defining a disruptive market opportunity, generating several disruptive ideas, shaping a disruptive solution and making a disruptive pitch.

In his book, Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business, Williams dares leaders to be game-changers and drive innovation.

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