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Disruption can be seen as an opportunity to challenge existing assumptions and think differently. Governments should prioritize people over companies, providing direct financial assistance to help them adapt. It is important to adopt the right mindset, ask the right questions, minimize harms, maximize benefits, be comfortable with experimentation and accept risk and failure. Technology can be used to help people adapt and to create new ways of doing things. Let's use disruption to re-evaluate and consider different ways of doing things.

Short Summary

In times of disruption, it is important to brace for impact and start experimenting as soon as possible. Five guiding principles can help with decision making: asking the right questions, adopting the right mindset, minimizing harms and maximizing benefits, being comfortable with experimentation and tolerating risk and failure. Additionally, it is necessary to prioritize people over companies and institutions and actively implement new knowledge to ensure people are healthy and safe.
Governments should focus on protecting people rather than bailing out corporate interests and financial institutions. This principle should be applied to all cases, such as providing direct financial assistance and helping people adapt to disruption. People, not abstract entities, should be the focus of decision makers and disruption should be seen as an opportunity to challenge existing assumptions and think differently. Technology can also be used to adapt to new situations, such as the pandemic showing that people don't necessarily need to go into offices in the same way as the industrial revolution. Overall, disruption should be used to re-evaluate and consider different ways of doing things.

Long Summary

Being prepared is the most important principle for dealing with disruptive change. Anticipating change and bracing for impact is the minimum that should be done. Additionally, there are five guiding principles that help with decision making in the context of disruption. These principles help to ask the right questions, adopt the right mindset and take decisions that minimize the harms and maximize the benefits. Forecasts can be made in certain industries but these do not directly translate into decisions.
In times of disruption, it is important to brace for impact and start experimenting as soon as possible. It is difficult to predict which new ways of doing things will succeed, so it is important to be comfortable with experimentation. This can be a difficult and frightening process, particularly for conservative cultures which may be more apprehensive about change and more risk-averse. However, being too conservative in the face of disruption can be a recipe for disaster.
Experimentation, tolerance for risk and failure, learning and adapting, and prioritizing people over companies and institutions are key principles for navigating massive system shock and change. To protect people, it is necessary to learn from successes and failures, and to act on the new knowledge acquired. This means actively implementing new knowledge and making decisions accordingly. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure people are healthy and safe.
Governments should focus on protecting people instead of bailing out corporate interests and financial institutions. In the US, a trillion dollars was spent to bail out banks and Wall Street instead of mailing out Main Street. This principle should be applied in all cases, such as Germany's response to Putin's threat to cut off natural gas, where direct financial assistance and helping people adapt should be considered. Retraining and shifting to other occupations should be options available to people.
Disruption can be difficult to manage, but it also presents an opportunity to challenge existing assumptions and think differently. People, not abstract entities like corporations and government agencies, should be the focus of decision makers. This means understanding the lives of those affected and not just the survival of organisations. The pandemic has been an example of this, showing that technology means people don't necessarily need to go into offices in the same way as the industrial revolution. The overall principle is to use disruption as a chance to re-evaluate and consider different ways of doing things.
AI disruption is coming and it is causing a massive system shock. To take advantage of this, it is important to revisit assumptions and ask the right questions to get meaningful answers. Lists of principles can help people in management or higher up in organizations think at these levels and make decisions that will shape the lives of many. These lists can also be a life raft to help people in discussion avoid missing basic steps, false consensus, and status hierarchy over influence.

Raw Transcript

i mean i can i can give you sort of the uh a so we have a a sort of a a a set of recommendations they're very simple i mean it's these are simple and general um non-specific recommendations they're they're really they're there aren't they actually we don't call them recommendations we call them principles and that's really what they are they are principles that guide um decision making in the context of disruption disruptive change so if you're if you're if you're if you're facing transformative changes of any kind and um uh you you were in a situation where you as an individual or uh you as an organization or you as a set of institutions you know they're governing or whatever it is um you're having to make decisions of some sort in the context of uh changing circumstances and so how do you do that well well rather than sort of try to prescribe a set of specific decisions that's that's silly you can't do that in advance um uh but what you can what you at least with the best that we've come up with i think is is to offer uh guiding principles for how to think about and how to ask the right questions and how to adopt the right mindset or not maybe the right right is probably not the corrector but but adopt ask ask good questions that are likely to lead to informative insights and good and useful um answers and um uh uh how to take action or take decisions that have a better chance of minimizing the harms and maximizing the benefits in the context of any radical or disruptive transformation that that you're um uh that you're involved in okay so that's sort of the general picture is that is is that there's you can't provide sort of specific concrete recommendations ahead of time although we do try to make forecasts about certain things in certain industries but those will translate into decisions directly but there are these things that we can say so okay enough uh preamble here the we we have we have five big ones the big the biggest principle of all is to be prepared that's the the first one that we recommend and you you have to you you you any with any major system shock a disruption is going to seem much more like a disaster and much less like an opportunity if it catches you by surprise right so if you don't if you don't anticipate anything is going to change you know this is a real recipe for problems um uh so the first thing is to it's to see change coming in advance and brace for impact basically right now that's that's just the minimum just just see that this this you know
this metaphor metaphorical tidal wave is coming or avid language is coming or whatever this changes this this force for change is coming and brace for impact that's the minimum that you can do is is to try to be to prepare for that um the second big recommendation second big principle is um to start experimenting that's the second thing that we say right so you i mean yes it's it's because it's so hard to predict ahead of time which new ways of doing things are going to succeed and you know which ones are going to fail and and you know if you're we speak a lot about business models and markets and that kind of thing so it's very difficult to know which business models are going to really rise to the top and win out which ones are going to you know sound like a great idea but just for whatever reason for difficult reasons that are very difficult to anticipate you know it's gonna have some fatal flaw that will mean it won't succeed every time a disruption happens we see this the internet is a great example right the dot-com boom and bust is a good example you know the the the people guessed a few of the business models but we didn't get all the details right it was very difficult to pick winners um so uh uh the the general principle that emerges out of there is to just get comfortable with experimentation and um because you want to do the experimenting sooner rather than later and go through that what is a difficult and pretty you know pretty rough and can be quite frankly frightening process for not you know for like communities facing change or in your industry or corporate culture or whatever um uh and remember there are there are more cons there some cultures are more conservative than others i don't just mean that like national cultures although i suppose that's true um but certainly like industry cultures some industries have more conservative culture than others but by conservative i mean they're sort of more apprehensive about change to the status quo they're less comfortable with with um uh change uh they're perhaps more risk averse or more fearful of failure in any in any kind of way and unfortunately in the amidst disruption or any any great major change really that's kind of a formula for for disaster right i mean if you're if you're just you know um if you're very risk-averse and fearful of change risk-averse and change-averse and very defensive of the status quo very conservative in that respect you're gonna you're gonna have a bad time when disruption really strikes or when major
change really strikes so um uh adopting embracing a culture of experimentation of tolerance for risk of tolerance for failure that's a sort of a fundamental principle that you can that you we we think you know is it is helpful to operate under um in order when you're every you're navigating some you know massive system shock massive change okay the third one follows directly on from that which is you know you need to learn you need to take on the learnings and you need to adapt to them so the the um you you need to look at the results of experimentation whether you're conducting them or other people are and you need to learn from both other your own and other people's successes and your own and other people's failures right that you've got to learn and then and by learning that means you need you need to uh um uh change yourself and adapt right because it's not enough just to like obtain new knowledge you then have to act on that knowledge so you have to actively kind of implement new knowledge that you've acquired through that experimenting process or yours or others right and then make decisions accordingly so it's no good to kind of do much of experimenting and then just dig in your heels unless unless it really looks like that's the optimal thing to do which it never is right okay so that's pretty obvious you need to learn and adapt um the fourth principle is you need to prioritize what your what you're really uh the interests you're really trying to serve right you need to you need to get very clear on what what are you what values are you really seeking to elevate what are you really trying to protect what are you really trying to advance and and what comes out of that sort of more concretely it as a principle and this is more like a bumper sticker i guess but it's still that reflects the real principle which is we have this phrase which is protect people not companies or industries and you can add institutions to that list right you we our real goal is to protect human beings right not the institutions we work in not the careers we we're you know that we find ourselves in to you know earn a crust not the companies we work for you know not not even the cultures and the and the the sort of lifestyles and all that kind of stuff that we you know the other the other informal institutions as well as formal institutions that are you know we participated those are all proxies those are all those are all means to an end what we really want to do is protect people we want people to be healthy we
want them to be happy we want them to be safe we want them to be secure um we want them to be uh comfortable rather than uncomfortable you know and all of those we want good lives for people that is what really matters and so if like if a government is going to spend 200 billion dollars to respond to a disruption like you know germany is going to be doing um uh because its hand has been forced by the you know putin threatened threatening to cut off natural gas well okay well what is what is germany going to do should it hand all that money out to utility monopolies and uh corporate interests and you know should it should it try to bail out financial institutions should it you know what should it or should it focus on protecting people and then you can dial the look back through history and see this mistake being made again and again and again um you know the u.s bailed out the auto industry and it bailed out the banks but that didn't protect the people that just protected three big companies and a bunch of banks advocate there what would it look like to protect the people and say the auto bailout or in the current circumstance in germany i suppose looks to the leaders like they don't have the levers to pull that will achieve like that kind of end immediately that's a good question i i i in the case of germany it's not a simple answer um maybe that's because i know i'm more familiar with the situation um with the bailout in the the financial crisis in 2007 in the us basically the housing market disaster i think the alternative to bailing out the banks is pretty obvious instead of spending you know the better part of a trillion dollars or whatever it was i forget if you add the three or four different programs up it was more than a trillion dollars we should have been paying people's mortgages off we shouldn't be we should not have been bailing out the banks financial institutions them we shouldn't have been bailing out wall street we should have been mailing out main street as they say that was the expression and i agree with that i think that that would have made a lot more sense protect people rather than protect the companies or industries um but at any at any rate the principle is is is what i'm trying to get at here which is that you know um you want all you want all of these sorts of options on the table like you want direct financial assistance you want to you know help people adapt so if that means like retrain or you know shift to some other occupation or find some other
way to secure a livelihood or whatever it happens to be um then you know that that would be the best place for um decision makers to try to focus their efforts is to stay grounded on what really matters which is people's lives not the survival or the well-being of these these abstract entities like corporations and government agencies and and you know non-profit organizations and you know quasi-governmental things structures like you know public utilities and whatnot those things don't those are all just abstract abstract means to an end and um it's easy to get lost it's easy to get confused and think that they are what really matter and not not the people who who make who make them up and the people who are served by them okay so that's that's the fourth principle this is i think that's pretty clear and then the fifth one what's the fifth one um what's the fifth one i'm gonna have to look at my list that's our fifth principle pardon my language um oh oh it's um it's it's to use you you want it so yeah this is this is yeah okay this is this is kind of like fortune cookie wisdom a little bit but it you want it you want to use disruption as an opportunity to challenge your assumptions and to think differently like a system shock is is um yes it's terrifying and yes you know your instinct is often to just hunker down and weather the storm kind of thing but what we've seen again and again and again i think throughout history is that um disruptions offer a an opportunity to peak to to the industries or even individuals but certainly the industries and institutions that are willing to you know introspect to examine themselves to challenge the assumptions and that they're making to to challenge their own internal you know status quo as it were and um open their mind to the possibility of doing things very differently right and so i mean a few things may have even come out of the pandemic for example where we just we challenged a bit of the status quo like you know this whole working remotely right i mean that the pandemic was the system shock and it took that kind of shock to to really challenge the assumption of does it make sense to do what we've been doing throughout the industrial revolution which was having people go into offices well you know maybe we didn't maybe technology means that we don't really need to do as much of not none of it but maybe not as much of it anymore and so that's just one tiny little example but um i think the larger principle applies
here too which is which is is there a way for us to take this the ai disruption that's coming this massive system shock and use that leverage that is to say okay holy crap this is coming let's look around and re-survey the terrain right around us let's let's let's check our own house see what's what's in order and what isn't you know revisit some of these fundamental assumptions we're making maybe they're no longer fit for purpose right um so yeah those are i think those that's sort of the big those big five are are yeah when people ask us what the hell should we do we we're often stuck saying well we don't we can't give you all specific answers that you want but here's here are a bunch of principles that you can use to kind of begin asking the right questions to get answers that makes that will mean something for you yeah that's useful i mean i don't know how useful it really is in this situation well yeah i've noticed that is the boiler i mean i guess i i don't usually think about things in this kind of mode right i mean i suppose for people in management or higher up in organizations thinking at these kinds of levels in terms of these kinds of phrases is much more common i guess for people like me i guess it's easy to be a little skeptical or dismissive of kind of um you know pithy lists and kind of things like that but i've seen how important it is in practice so a good friend of mine does uh water management in australia you know and brings together stakeholders to do with various sources of water and tries to figure out policies and get them to discuss things and i have to say i mean she was doing her phd at the same time as i was and i read some of her books and discussed with her what she was doing i thought it was kind of all well not but just like seems so content free you know like so but the thing is it's it's easy to overestimate how good the cognition of people is when they're in a discussion and the stakes matter and i'm not talking about other people including myself right if you're in a room with four or five other people and you're trying to reach some sort of decision that will shape you know the lives of many other people it's so easy to miss basic things right to kind of skip steps or fall into kind of false consensus or you know let the status hierarchy over influence the way things go and these lists can be like life rafts to just grab onto and try and reassemble some semblance of the kind of thinking you'd be able to achieve on your own without any stakes