Tag Archives: McKinsey Global Institute

Are You Ready for AI?

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) is a pretty high falutin’ outfit. It’s the business and economics research arm of McKinsey & Company. Not focused so much on middle-market HR folks, it publishes a wealth of well-researched papers that focus on the evolving global economy. Highly scientific in their approach and academic in their tone, they publish some great content. It’s tough slogging from an average professional’s reading perspective, but if you hang in, it’s worth it.  It’s McKinsey, for Pete’s sake.

A June 2017 publication caught my eye:  Artificial Intelligence, The Next Digital Frontier? is a long (80 pages) read, but a fascinating read. And it takes a deep dive into the investment in artificial intelligence (AI), how it is being deployed, and its potential to disrupt organizations and business. I like MGI research because it isn’t sponsored by any other institution, which fits MGI’s mission which is “to help business and policy leaders understand the forces transforming the global economy identify strategic imperatives, and prepare for the next wave of growth.”

The brief of this “discussion paper” includes:

  • AI investment is growing fast, dominated by digital giants such as Google and Baidu.

  • AI adoption outside the tech sector is at an early, experimental stage.

  • Adoption patterns show a growing gap between early adopters and others.

  • Early evidence suggests that AI can deliver real value to serious adopters and can be a powerful force for disruption.

  • Companies cannot delay advancing their digital journeys, including AI.

  • AI promises benefits, but also poses urgent challenges that cut across firms, developers, government, and workers.

By looking at the contents page, you can see the flow of the information and delve first into the parts that are most interesting to you. The paper has 3 sections and 2 appendices:

  1. Artificial intelligence is getting ready for business, but are businesses ready for AI?

  2. Artificial intelligence promises to boost profits and transform industries

  3. Businesses, developers and governments need to act now to realize AI’s full potential.

Appendix A: Five case studies

  • Retail
  • Electric utility
  • Manufacturing
  • Health care
  • Education

Appendix B: Technical appendix

I’m personally fascinated that in picking 5 sectors, Education made the grade. But truly, if ever there was a sector ripe for disruption, it’s the Education sector.

The following is one of the very interesting graphs/charts included in the paper:

It’s fascinating to see the level of current AI adoption compared with the AI demand trajectory. Of particular interest is MGI’s opinion that “variation of adoption within industries will be even larger than between industries.” That means, I think, that the AI divide – the haves and have nots – won’t be so much defined by industry as by early adoption status and investment. I can see a future bifurcated by this variable. This means that every organization, regardless of industry, has the ability now to decide to on the side of early adoption and industry disruption.

This is a fascinating paper. You might not read every word, but the whole AI discussion will be framed for you in a way that will allow you to participate – and even lead – in a meaningful way.

It’s a good discussion paper. It’s McKinsey. Read it.

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Filed under AI, Artficial Intelligence, Big Data and HR, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, McKinsey, McKinsey Global Institute

Next Up On The Workforce Landscape: Independence Pass

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Independent Work:  Choice, Necessity, and the Gig Economy, published this week by the McKinsey Global Institute, is fascinating reading. If you’re in HR, Talent Acquisition or are a leader of people, you’ve probably been paying attention to the coverage of the “Gig Economy” or the “Contingent Workforce.” Mary Meeker wrote about it in this year’s Global Internet Trends report, and I wrote about it here. But this white paper really delves into the phenomenon of independent work and it’s hard to look away. The report is 148 pages of fun and the Executive Summary is a mere 24 pages. They both pack a punch with data and graphs galore. Let’s just focus on the Executive Summary. If you like that, you can dig even deeper into the full report.

The premise of looking at the why of independent working arrangements is quite compelling. We all know that there are people driving for Uber or Lyft because they can’t connect back to the world of full-time employment following the Great Recession. McKinsey calls them “Reluctants.” We also know there are lots of people driving for those organizations because they want to pick up some extra cash; they are the “Casual Earners.” The “Financially Strapped” are those who would never choose this arrangement but for their financial situation. But we’re also probably aware that there are more and more people in the economy who are choosing to be “Free Agents,” who are intentionally leaving traditional employment models behind and reveling in their freedom.

There are a number of insights here that are worth noting:

  • Independent work has three defining features: autonomy; payment by task, assignment, or sales; and a short term financial relationship.
  • 20-30% of working adults in the U.S. and the EU-15 are independent workers of one kind of another. That’s up to 162 million workers! (54-68 million of them in the U.S.)
  • Free Agents (independent by choice as a primary source of revenue) report greater satisfaction with their work lives than those in traditional jobs.
  • Currently only 15% of independent workers use digital platforms like Uber, Airbnb and Etsy – although their use is growing rapidly.
  • 1 in 6 workers in traditional jobs would like to become primary independent workers. (That’s your 1 in 6.)
  • Independent workers who sell goods (Etsy) or lease assets (Airbnb) are more likely to use digital platforms than those who provide labor services (TaskRabbit).

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The Executive Summary ends with a discussion of the future:  the impact of a continued shift toward independent work and noting that benefits, income security protection, and other worker protections need to be addressed. The stakeholders of these issues are not currently known to work well with each other, however policy makers, economic intermediaries and innovators, organizations and the workers themselves clearly need to work through critical dynamics to prepare consumers, employers, governments and workers to create a more workable framework for independent work success.

As you wonder which of the 16% of your workers is planning to step into the gig economy full-time and by choice, you may want to start addressing some cultural relics that are accelerating their choice to work independently. This report has some great data and insights to help you think it through.

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Filed under China Gorman, Contingent Workforce, Data Point Tuesday, Gig Economy, Independent Workers, McKinsey Global Institute