How will AI impact the future of work and business operations around the world, and to what extent will Asian leaders play a role in dictating that future? Moreover, how do we keep jobs human-centered and AI ethical as robots and machines increasingly become co-workers?
These are some of the critical questions renowned leadership advisor, digital transformation strategist and technology futurist David De Cremer addresses when guiding organizations through change in what he calls the “New Tech Era.”
Provost Chair and Professor at National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, director and founder of its Centre on AI Technology for Humankind, and a widely respected behavioral scientist, De Cremer helps leaders in every industry make tactical and ethical decisions around integrating new technologies, particularly those that will impact their organization, its employees and the development of products they sell.
In his latest book, “Leadership by Algorithm: Who Leads and Who Follows in the AI Era” (Harriman House, May 2020), De Cremer reveals his futurist side, identifying key areas where algorithms will likely collide with human skills as AI becomes a bigger part of the workforce. The kindle version of the book quickly topped Amazon’s charts, was named among the 15 best leadership books by Wharton School Press, and was recognized by The World Economic Forum. De Cremer is also the bestselling co-author of “Huawei: Leadership, Culture and Connectivity,” which was awarded Best Business Book by PwC in 2018.
“The question of whether AI will replace human workers assumes that AI and humans have the same qualities and abilities — but, in reality, they don’t,” De Cremer explained in a July 2021 Venturebeat article. “AI-based machines are fast, more accurate and consistently rational, but they aren’t intuitive, emotional or culturally sensitive. It is in combining the strengths of AI and humans that we can be even more effective.”
As an advisor, speaker and executive educator to leaders in Asia, Europe and North America, De Cremer brings a human-centered approach to the study and application of AI, teaching leaders how to be more proactive, the importance of building trust, and why compliance requires less rule-based approaches and more purpose-driven leadership. Among his other noted accomplishments, he has contributed to significant executive development and corporate culture initiatives in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and advised such clients as Novartis, AB Inbev, KPMG, Solvay, IBM, Barclays, Rabobank, Nestle, Bank of Singapore, Bosch, ING, Cisco, Mizuho, Bayer, Exmar, and DSM, among others.
KEEPING DIGITAL SYSTEMS HUMAN-CENTERED
To ensure a successful transition and avoid significant financial losses, De Cremer stresses the importance of getting input from people across the organization before starting the digital transformation process.
“You can have a lot of technology but if people can’t use it or don’t understand it, it is of no use and companies waste a lot of money,” explains De Cremer, who is a master at connecting the dots and bridging conversations between tech experts and non-tech experts. “You must first define ‘optimizing AI’ then ask key questions that specifically relate to your business and your employees to be sure your investment will be worth what you get on the other end. The point is, don’t be digitally obsessed and forget about the people.”
Named to Thinkers50’s radar class of 2021, and nominated for the distinguished Digital Thinking Award, De Cremer is a strong supporter of gender diversity and inclusive practices, and he is particularly valued by organizational leaders looking for a unique perspective on navigating Asian economies.
“Getting to know China is like getting to know the world,” says De Cremer, who has lived and worked in China and now resides in Singapore. “Many Western leaders try to jump into a relationship with Chinese executives quickly. But that tactic often fails because in China you have to prove your value first.”
A futurist at heart, De Cremer is passionate about helping organizations prepare for a new era where success will be defined by how well they balance the Human+AI equation.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DAVID DE CREMER
“Prof. David De Cremer has provided in-house training and education seminars for the executive committee of Exmar Shipmanagement NV since 2013. He was instrumental in developing the necessary strategic tools to grow in our position as a market leader in offering complex but elegant logistic solutions to the oil and gas industry. Apart from being a well-published and astute academic he’s also a fun person to be with. His thought-provoking insights are a must-have for every company involved in value-based entrepreneurship.” – Capt. Marc Nuytemans, FNI – CEO Exmar Shipmanagement NV
PRAISE FOR “LEADERSHIP BY ALGORITHM”
“David De Cremer, one of the top gurus in corporate culture, provides unique insight in ‘Leadership by Algorithm’ as to what leadership means in the AI age. Ignore at your peril!” – Alexandros Papaspyridis, Director Higher Education at Microsoft Asia Pacific Japan
“The tech revolution is happening. But what we need now is a revolution in leadership and in organisations. David De Cremer expertly maps out how this can and must happen.” – Stuart Crainer, Co-founder Thinkers50
“Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence, but no one has a clue how it will affect the way organizations are managed… until now. David De Cremer, a leading expert, has written the most informative book I’ve read on how algorithms will change leadership―and which parts are unlikely to be replaced by a machine.” – Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of ‘Originals’ and ‘Give and Take’