Innovative collision: Where diversity, agility and power skills thrive

By Alasdair Munn for Box News

Recently the Box Media team headed over to Dublin to spend time with Accenture Research at Accenture Dock. 

Mark Purdy, Managing Director at Accenture Research, said something that resonated with us, and perfectly articulates how we think at Box Labs: 

“If the trends that create the future are already at work, why should the future surprise us?”

And yet, we often misread trends or even get ‘future predictions’ spectacularly wrong. 

Why might this be? 

According to Mark, it’s because we tend to look at trends in isolation, and we don’t focus on ‘collision’.

When worlds collide, there’s magic in the air

‘Collision’ is a brilliant way to describe trend analysis. Innovation requires disruption. Behaviour change can only happen if we are willing to shake up the way we work, think and structure our processes. We must be ready to open up silos and change the way we work.

Collision goes way beyond analysis …

We often hear the term ‘agility’ when someone’s talking about beating a path to innovation and behaviour change. And, they’re not wrong, agility is an important attribute. But, we need to reposition ‘soft skills’ as ‘power skills’ too. These skills are often overlooked but are critically important. 

Soft skills to power skills

Regardless of the origins of the term soft skills, the term ‘soft’ has led to an image of fluffy, secondary, or ‘nice to have’ 

In a world that’s becoming increasingly automated and augmented, the very skills that differentiate us from software and hardware are the skills that make us human. 

If these are what differentiates us, and where we bring our best value, there is nothing soft about them. Make no bones about it – these are power skills.

 For the future of work, these skills are of equal importance to our technical and STEAM skills. As machines are augmenting our work, doing repetitive tasks and providing organised data sets, our power skills will help us to deal with ‘collision’.

Embracing true diversity for a preferred future

Diversity is not about targets. Although this is a way of correcting a historically produced inequality, the focus of diversity should be that the future success of a business depends upon it.

At Box Media, we see diversity as essential if we are to innovate, open up our silos and create meaningful, impactful and behaviour-changing systems, process and content. 

If we surround ourselves with people with the same ideas, backgrounds and life experiences, we run the risk of cementing our silos, not opening them up. 

If we don’t push previously excluded people to the front, how will they gain the exposure and experience they need to allow them to bring their best selves to shaping a better future?

As a business, we need to ensure we are relevant, robust and fit for future purpose

Working with the folks at Accenture Labs, Accenture Dock and Accenture Research has shown this to be true. They embrace diversity. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is a real competitive advantage, and it is a deep part of their working culture. 

Separate tables of AI scientists, Design thinkers, Neuroscientist, sociologists, accountants, management consultants may push people towards ‘best in field’ thinking, but it is only when you have a table that brings everyone together, diverse skills, ages, genders, cultures that you reach collision.

We are committed to collision, collaboration, and cultural change

At Box Media, we are a multicultural and multidisciplinary team. We are entrepreneurs, filmmakers, behavioural scientists, editorial experts, industrial product designers, artists, communication experts, technologists and strategists. 

Everything we have done has been leading us to this point. Our purpose, experience and expertise have collided with advances in technology, changes in human behaviour and an increased consciousness around responsible business. 

We are on the cusp of a new renaissance, and we have a chance to shape a future that works for the majority. 

At Box Media, we wake up every day ready to collide with like-minded people to drive innovation and purposefully help shape the future.