Ian Brooks - Maven Insights - SPARK 2019 by Sideways 6

SPARK 2019 | The future of "work"

Ian Brooks, founder of Maven Insights, discusses developments in AI and the potential impact on the ways in which we work.


Ian Brooks is the founder of Maven Insights, an organization that helps prepare senior executives for the long-term impacts of technology. Prior to this, Brooks spent 14 years as the Hewlett Packard European Head of Innovation.

This video from Sideways 6's SPARK 2019 event captures Brooks' analysis of the potential impact of advances in technology on the ways in which we work.

Q&A with Ian Brooks

If you've watched the video, you probably won't be surprised that we still had more questions about the engaging topics Ian raised at SPARK. Sideways 6's Alex Roden had a catch up with Ian after the event to discover more.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, Ian! We couldn't stop thinking about your talk and wanted to ask a few more questions, starting with a nice personal one – what’s your proudest work-related moment/achievement?

I'd actually go slightly earlier than working life and say my proudest achievement was developing a working fibre optic photo-plethysmograph in my final year degree project. It measures heart-rate and your oxygen saturation level in your blood, and is used in hospitals just about everywhere – a real example of technology improving people’s lives. It's now also become the basis of all fitness trackers!

Incredible stuff! You mentioned the ‘rise of the digital native’ and how technology can hinder loyalty – how can service providers continue to engage and retain this demographic?

I didn’t actually say that technology hinders loyalty, but the “digital natives” are far more “aware” and open to change. To court them, suppliers need to up their game, using integrated systems to prevent asking repeatedly for the same information, offering differentiated experiences, rewarding loyalty and starting to earn their respect.

Gotcha, that makes a lot of sense in the age where information is immediately available. What would you therefore say is the value of ‘trust’ in the evolving workplace?

People often misconstrue a brand as being a logo. The brand is actually enhanced or destroyed by the myriad engagements that customers have with an organization on a daily basis. Stating one thing in the annual report and demonstrating the opposite in real, everyday life will soon, particularly with social media, become apparent, visible and damaging. Without trust, a brand becomes worthless.

Something else we found hugely interesting was your reference to artificial intelligence. How might we be engaging with AI already without knowing it?   

Every time that people use email (spam filters), traffic management (Waze), finding a lift (Uber), voice-to-text conversion (Dictate), image recognition (Facebook/(Google), speech recognition (Alexa), etc. The list goes on, and while it's uses are currently quite mundane (e.g. "Alexa, what's the weather today?"), this won't be the case for long.

In this evolving world, what do you see as ‘the currency of ideas’ and how is this concept affecting the future of work?

Large scale trends such as IoT and Smart Cities won’t have a single owner. The true value will thus come from open APIs and the constant evaluation and integration of new ideas. The foundation of this is an organization’s ability to understand changing requirements, map these onto current capabilities, and form new consortiums or propositions based on the aggregation of ideas. These ideas thus become a basis for collaboration/value exchange and winning business.

And finally, who would you love to see talk at SPARK 2020? 

Dr. Edward De Bono – creator of 'Lateral Thinking' and the 'Six Thinking Hats'.

Interesting you should say that – Sideways 6's name is taken from the very concept of the six thinking hats! Thanks again for your time, Ian. 

You can learn more about Ian and his work at Maven Insights via LinkedIn.

Share the love