Humans often make one of two mistakes when they think about the future: they either overestimate the good or they underplay the bad. It’s called Optimism Bias and while it has some benefits, it also introduces the risk of real miscalculations. For example, “We think … yes there’s a talent shortage but the market will sort it out and provide whatever we need,” former psychologist and EY Oceania Markets Managing Partner Jenelle McMaster says.
In the digital context, the challenge we currently face is underestimating the risk posed by not adapting to technological change. At a personal level, McMaster says, “this impacts someone’s employability, potentially missing out on new jobs or roles that require new or different skills. Organisations, meanwhile, risk becoming redundant because they’re not moving at the same pace as those who have accepted the need for rapid change.”
EY Fellow for Digital Society and Innovation, Uschi Schreiber, says, “that while Australia is a fantastic country with an educated population, innovative talent, quick technology adoption, and highly developed digital skills”, the assumption that we’ll be fine doing as we always have, will fail us.
She warns that data from the OECD, World Bank and World Economic Forum all point to a decline in how well Australia is managing the transition away from a resource-sector supported economy to a digital one. “That’s why we need a conversation as a nation, [to] develop a plan for Australia’s success in a global digital economy.”
The share of the pie for those who succeed is enormous. Artificial intelligence alone represents a $2.2 trillion opportunity for the Australian economy by 2030, which would go a long way in helping solve some of our greatest challenges such as those faced in the energy sector, agriculture and financial services. According to EY Asia-Pacific Advisory IoT Leader Jeffrey Feldman “Ninety-nine per cent of the time when businesses have stumbled with emerging tech, it’s because the ‘why’ is missing, instead of leading with technology and asking ‘what’, you should be focusing on the ‘why’. Why is it important for your organisation? Why would your customers care?”