Enhance the Human Mind with Smart Technology

In this Hot Topic, we will explore the role of human expertise and the use of technology in organisational contexts, examining how human thinking and learning can work together with technology and Artificial Intelligence to get the best of both worlds. We hope that this Hot Topic will stimulate you to re-think the value of intuition, inspiration, and the spark of creativity in shaping human thinking and the future of technology.

September 2019

Human skills cannot be replaced, however Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming good at many ‘human’ jobs and more and more responsive to us. Intelligent machines now possess extraordinary capabilities, while smart technology is improving quickly and reshaping the way work gets done and who does it. What will be the impact of such technological changes on management and leadership? How can you future-proof your management career in a world that is being radically altered by technology?

Humans vs Machines: Will AI replace us?

Inevitable as it seems that technology will replace jobs and people, research has found that the most significant performance improvements will be achieved when humans and machines work together. Technology’s larger impact will be on complementing and augmenting human capabilities, not replacing or outperforming them. How can companies take full advantage of the collaboration between humans and machines?

Businesses require both kinds of strengths: human soft skills, creativity, and talent, and machines’ ability to instantly analyse gigabytes of data. Research suggests that companies should (1) reimagine business processes to embrace experimentation and employee engagement, (2) actively direct technological change and incorporate digital strategies in the business, and (3) understand technology but also make it ergonomic to facilitate users’ experience and interaction. Embracing collaborative intelligence and treating smart machines as “colleagues” will ultimately heighten human creativity and boost decision-making abilities.

New Mindset = New Results

As the progress of technology is accelerating, our world is becoming more and more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA). To counteract the chronic volatility of the modern age, recent research highlights that leaders should adopt a new mindset, focusing on soft skills and emotional intelligence. The key drivers and foundations identified by this study are wisdom, agility, trust and transparency (WATT), which can transform the challenges posed by VUCA into opportunities.

In this new light, digital technology is an enhancement of the human mind: leaders can take advantage of ever-growing technological challenges by adopting a test-and-learn mindset, being curious, and fostering internal collaboration. Managers across all levels should become aware that, while change is rapid, acquiring a digital culture takes time; they should value diversity and stay focused on decisions that require human judgement and insight beyond technological capabilities, leaving administrative and analytical tasks to AI and automation.

With a renewed mindset, leaders in the digital age can create a new culture and keep their organisations relevant.


Referenced techniques


Artificial Intelligence

Discover the potential of AI to observe, analyse and make decisions, especially for extremely complex problems or for a set of data too large to be interpreted by human brains.


Human Capital

The view of human resources as a form of capital is not new, but only recently practitioners and academics have turned their attention to the benefits of the efficient employee management. The concept describes these benefits and reviews the success factors and implementation information that will help you improve your HR strategies.


Optimised Production Technology

Simulation can be used to investigate the performance of a business process, forecast its future performance or improve existing processes. The concept is designed to help practitioners and business owners discover better and more efficient ways to improve their business and processes.

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