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Issue 2

Fall 2017

If the only constant is change, then adaptation and entrepreneurial activity are required.

As individuals, we deal with aging conditions involving eyeglasses and other assistance from people and devices. Companies have advisors, processes, and systems to monitor their present and prepare for the future.

We explore some of these challenges in this edition of ThinkSet, diving into both the near-term future of the corporation and ways to transition, whether the change is global, digital, or survival.

Some organizations are setting audacious goals or reenvisioning their central mission and value propositions according to their customers. Consider the SkillsPivot program now underway at AT&T Corp. This company looks nothing like it did 140 years ago. Today, thousands of employees need retraining to prepare for a future that includes digital networks, open-source software-based jobs, and industry combinations not yet envisioned.

John Donovan, chief strategy officer at AT&T Technology and Operations, indicates that bold collaboration is necessary because gradual or incremental learning cannot happen quickly enough. The company’s goal is to move 75 percent of its business to software by 2020—up from 30 percent in 2016. Colleges and universities, online courses from Udacity, and micro-degree programs for skills-based requirements all have been enlisted to upskill and reskill the company’s 280,000 employees.


Whether you’re the boss or a frontline employee, your job is changing. ThinkSet looks at ways people and companies find new approaches to help prepare for a faster pace with new options. Not deciding or not acting is a choice, but one that comes with its own consequences.

New approaches for keeping workers healthy and engaged also are defying conventional wisdom. For instance, medicine is ushering in an era of customized solutions.

In this new world, there is no assurance of the financial success of mass production and scale. Personal productivity is now an organizational goal to avoid burnout and retain workers.

Many organizations depend on growth and are finding it in unique places: capitalizing on their processes and knowledge, in partnerships outside their core industry, or restructuring to adapt. And, yes, some close their doors—not every corporate history ends well.

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