Change leaders look out for each other, and share insights that can help with current challenges or questions.
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Welcome new members! In this edition of S3T: What leaders are talking about this week
- Macroeconomics: Healthcare costs spiking to unprecedented levels in 2024. What's next for the Fear index? Where high networth indivduals are migrating across the globe.
- Emerging Tech Key Themes for Leaders: More AI Tools and Solutions, big uptick in VC funding, the company introducing Asia to blockchain.
- For Paid Memberships: Agile getting fragile: Today's change initiatives don't fit neatly into agile. How to adjust. One key ingredient that makes the biggest difference regardless of what delivery method you use.
Opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not reflect the official positions of companies or organizations those individuals may be affiliated with. Not financial advice. Authors or guests may hold assets discussed.
The Fed left interest rates unchanged this week, but signaled other rate hikes are possible in the future, or that rates may stay higher for longer.
Health benefits costs spiking
2024 will bring the biggest healthcare cost increases in a decade for employers, per the latest forecasts from the benefits consultants that help firms select and tailor health coverage for their employees.
Market fear has been subsiding, but...
The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index aka the "fear index" is at its lowest level since the eve of the pandemic. Some think this is about to change, especially if "higher for longer" interest rates become a new norm.
Above, CBOE Volatility Index Chart courtesy of FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis as of September 20, 2023. This forward indicator of expected uncertainty is calculated using S$P 500 index option prices.
Where the 'aires are going
High-net-worth individuals are leaving BRICS nations, Asia, and Mexico and moving to Australia, UAE, Singapore, Europe and North America. Australia has been a favorite haven for these individuals since 2015.
AI Tools & Solutions
- GitHub Copilot Chat beta now available for individuals not just business users.
- Corti plans to use AI to handle healthcare paperwork so doctors can focus on care. The system automates the preparation of documentation for insurance and care.
- Stack Overflow is launching OverflowAI a new GenAI powered search and question answering service. Go here to get on the waiting list.
Blockchain for Asian Central Banks
Fascinating profile on a little-known Japanese company that is introducing Aisa to blockchain-based finance. The company got its start designing and delivering Bakong, Cambodia's blockchain payment network that serves 8.5 million accounts and handled $12.2B in transactions in 2022.
VC Funding for Tech Startups - New Trend?
One couldn't help noticing the barrage of VC funding announcements this week (aggregated on Techmeme/river as of 9:30PM September 20). During the 3-day period of September 18-20, investors poured $1.9 Billion into a range of startups in AI, DeFi, Security and other sectors.
The table below helps put this into context against the average fundraising per day over the course of 2023 so far.
As shown above, this is a 95% increase over the daily rate of fundraising in Q2 2023 and a smaller but still impressive increase over Q1 figures (as reported by EY's Q2 VC report). Anamoly or new trend?
Notable: Raleigh NC based AI startup Pryon raised $100 Million this week from investors. Pryon aims to equip businesses with their own AI Assistants that aggregate internal business data and then use it to provide answers and insights to company staff.
Change Leadership Discussion: What is the best way to make things happen
One of THE BIGGEST challenges in leading change initiatives is keeping the momentum going. It can be so hard to just keep things moving, especially if others may not feel the same urgency.
What is the best approach for driving an initiative so that the desired outcome happens in the most timely and optimal way?
Santiago's recent post struck a nerve:
How Well is Agile Aging?
Today's initiatives often don't fit the mold of "software project lifecycles" ...they may involve software development, but they also involve a lot of other things that don't fit neatly into agile frameworks or software development life cycles:
This is especially true for change leadership initiatives.
Change leadership initiatives often require the change leader to bring multiple organizations along a path of change. The processes of these organizations will often differ.
Sometimes you'll have to work with traditional approaches ...for example you may have to depend on another organization that follows a process that is non-agile, or requires long lead times.
In addition, you'll be in new territory in at least one aspect of what you're doing: introducing new technology, getting a business to try a new approach, or getting an industry to change its financial model.
There will be no handy framework a consulting company or agile coaching team can pull down off the shelf and show you the way. You'll have to suffer through some trial and error. You'll have to borrow from other industries or domains you aren't familiar with. You'll need to pair up with other disciplines and experts and blend what you both know.
If your change leadership initiative is data-driven - or makes use of AI, this will bring additional challenges. The data and software engineering-intensive AI delivery lifecycle is different - very different - from the typical software delivery lifecycle.
In spite of all this, you'll need to provide stakeholders and or investors with assurances that you can deliver specific capabilities and enablers by specific dates. The answer can't be "We're not sure yet, we're agile."
Challenges of 21st century projects: What can go wrong
Here are some typical examples of issues that impact agile / scrum teams trying to navigate the increasingly non-standard and complex initiatives of the 21st century.