Use Radical Transparency to your Advantage

In a recent blog post by Peter Diamandis, he speaks about the fact that an abundance of data is leading to “Radical Transparency”. This is a transparency that is essentially forced onto people due to the large number of sensors and internet connected devices that will be constantly monitoring everything. When one reads a blog like this there are a number of thoughts and differing thought streams that go through your head.

First there is the issue of privacy, Peter suggests that potentially privacy may become a thing of the past. Next there is the fact that with all this data it is possible to program what is shown around us and the question of brainwashing comes up. Interestingly due to the primitive parts of our brain we do tend to think about the negative consequences of these technology advancements. But what about the positive ones where we are for example able to reduce traffic accidents to zero, crime drops dramatically due to the fact that AI enabled drone cops will see what you are doing, fatalities from natural disasters is dramatically reduced due to early warning systems and potentially stopped altogether.

Technology is advancing rapidly and whilst we cannot be naive to the fact that there is potential for these technologies to be used negatively, the positive effects will outstrip the negative. Radical Transparency can in fact be used very successfully in your favour. If you are a manufacturing company that wants to ensure that your customers trust you then use technology to show them how you produce your products. A simple live stream of your factory floor is a simple way to do this. An online dashboard of safety or cleanliness metrics can imbue trust.

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Do not wait for radical transparency to be used as a tool against you it is time for you to be ahead of the curve and to show that your company can be trusted by being open to radical transparency. I have written previously about idea meritocracy and the need for radical transparency here. I also suggest watching Ray Dalio’s TED talk 

If you are unsure how to go about taking advantage of these exponential technologies and business models and culture then I highly recommend that you do a deep dive into the available online resources of books, podcasts, videos, courses and advisory services. I am being radically transparent now to say that together with ExO Works I can help you and your business to navigate this terrain in order to future proof your business.

It is important to realise that technology can be a great enabler for your business and your life. Whatever you do I ask that you embrace this and start learning!

Is an idea meritocracy the way to encourage experimentation in your organisation?

Firstly you may be asking yourself what is an idea meritocracy? This is an ideology and way of working that let’s the best idea win regardless of who the idea comes from. Successful companies such as Bridgewater associates and Pixar animation studios use such techniques to build a culture of radical transparency and this ensures that innovation continues to prosper.

A quick aside, I wrote this blog a few weeks ago sitting at the Amazing V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and then forgot to publish it. The picture below was taken on the day. ADVERT: Cape Town is an amazing place to start a business!

I first came across this idea from Ray Dalio’s book Principles and would highly recommend that you read this book. Bridgewater Associates which Dalio founded over 40 years ago runs on a radically transparent culture and is the number one hedge fund in the world. The stories in the book are amazing such as junior employees having the openness to tell Ray Dalio that his performance in a meeting was D- and that he was obviously unprepared. There are many organisations where this would be seen as insubordination but not at Bridgewater where honest feedback is valued and required.

This type of culture is not an easy one to follow as it is very different to what many of us know but I believe that it is a very good model to use to promote experimentation. Experimentation requires failure and honest feedback to improve. Where people are punished for failure experimentation is unlikely.

So what steps can you take to move to an idea meritocracy and a radically transparent company culture?

  1. Have an open mind
  2. Learn more about it by reading and studying other companies following this ideology
  3. Discuss this with your team
  4. Implement and know that you will make mistakes and have failures along the way. The important thing to remember is that as long as you are learning from these then you are moving forward

For more information check out this great article by Edward D. Hess that I used when writing this blog.