Futurist Mike Walsh—CEO of Tomorrow and consumer innovation-technology expert—launched into his vision during the ending general session on Wednesday (Nov. 2) at REACH 2016 of what the future will probably look like for consumers and workers in the post-Millennial cohort age, also know as “NextGen” or the “AI generation” (artificial intelligence): a time of data-driven experiences and decisions.
“For all this talk of technology and disruption, it’s the human perspective that’s missing,” he said. “We are profoundly changing our behavior. How will you need to change your credit union for the next generation? Who are they? And how will they shape your credit union’s operations and decisions?”
Leaders and industries who study kids 8 years of age and younger today have “ringside seats” to what’s coming. This generation doesn’t think about digital disruption—it’s part of daily life. They are growing up in a world shaped by data-driven experiences, which will drive the next big shifts in business. Every retail environment they interact with will increasingly be personalized. “When they walk into your branch of the future, your credit union will know how to help them before they even start talking.”
Some examples of what this generation (and those who are older) will experience: toys that collect data and have conversations with children before sending a report to the parents; wireless headphones that act more like permanent implantable devices; “smart” sneaker-shoes that buzz in metropolitan cities when something interesting is happening nearby; bathroom mirrors that scan your face and tell you why you look “so good or so bad”; and smart watches that track your health and give you daily updates on your life’s longevity. “NextGen will have a deeply personal relationship with their technology,” Walsh said.
And when it comes to workers, companies and organizations have the opportunity to create platforms that support “work and employee culture” as the operating system. “Really smart companies are increasingly looking at culture as the key lever for getting more creative, more productive, and more efficient,” Walsh said. Work in the 21st Century must focus on problem-solving instead of operational tools, and data can help transform work culture to help employees find new ways to communicate for efficiency. “Data is key to productivity,” he said.
For leaders of the future, they will be “algorithmic leaders” as artificial intelligence automations activities—not occupations. “Great leaders will combine insight into human experience with a flair for computational thinking,” he said. To become better, they should spot and understand how data creates value; leverage opportunities to study human behavior; and augment their teams with the data they need to succeed.
“Our ability to understand people’s experiences will be key to the future of our companies,” Walsh said. “We need to think big, think new, but most importantly think quick. The future is now.”
Leo H. Shapiro Award Recipient
Marla Shepard, retired CEO of California Coast CU in San Diego, CA, was honored with the Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award on stage—the California Credit Union League’s highest honor recognizing excellence in credit union philosophy and a lifetime of contributions to the California credit union movement.
“We had a great team,” Shepard said as she recounted collaboration efforts with local credit unions on the political advocacy front. “We were involved and made a difference. I want to thank everyone for their support during those years.”
The award is named after Leo H. Shapiro, father of the California credit union movement and founder of the League. Shepard is being recognized for her more than 40 years of service, including serving as president and CEO of California Coast from 2007 until her retirement in 2015, and for being such a strong advocate of the credit union movement.
She created and chaired the first regional Political Action Committee for credit unions in California, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years and served as the bellwether model for credit unions in other regions to emulate.
Shepard started as a teller at Santel Credit Union in 1972 and moved up the ladder becoming CEO in 2001. In 2008, she put together one of the largest mergers “of equals”—merging two large, financially sound credit unions: First Future with California Coast Credit Union. This resulted in Shepard overseeing a merged entity of $1.85 billion in assets, of which she was the CEO with 20 branches in San Diego County, CA.
Caption for “Walsh” photo (L-R): Futurist Mike Walsh—CEO of Tomorrow and consumer innovation-technology expert