04 April 2024

La Salle-URL Corporate Event | Business, Technology and Vision for Global Impact

We face a rapid succession of transformations that challenge conventional notions of business, society and leadership.

At this crossroads of technological innovation and socio-political change, leaders around the world are seeking to understand and adapt to a constantly evolving landscape.   

In this context, the perspectives of Matthew Griffin, an expert in the field of technological evolution and strategic foresight, shed light on the challenges and opportunities facing business and society at large.  

An event designed for leaders and managers in which all the organizations that are part of the business ecosystem of La Salle-URL, formed by:  

  • The Corporate Board Council, which deepens the active collaboration between its university ecosystem, companies, organizations and leading entities in their sectors.    

  • The startups of La Salle Technova, our innovation park with incubation and acceleration services for technology-based startups.  

  • Entities that participate in Tech Transfer projects with the university's innovation and research groups.  

  • Companies that count on La Salle-URL to look for talent among our students by participating in events such as Talent Week.  

  • Companies that rely on La Salle Executive Education to train their employees and managers.  

CBC | Corporate Board Council   

The Corporate Board Council (CBC) unites universities, companies and leaders to face global challenges, promote technology and build a more sustainable and responsible future.   

During the event, there was a keynote session led by Matthew Griffin, advisor to G7 governments and companies such as Google and Microsoft; a space for reflection on ethics and philosophy, led by Carles Llinàs, professor at URL and dean of the Faculty of Philosophy La Salle-URL; and finally, a panel discussion with leading companies that will share key insights on global trends that are having the greatest impact on their businesses.   

Innovation and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of the campus character, and all of the services of the La Salle Campus Barcelona Business Council represent a step forward in maintaining a structured, proactive and ongoing relationship between the university and the companies involved.  

Three axes of change: speed, breadth and depth 

Griffin emphasizes three key dimensions of change:  

  • Speed: The pace of technological change is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, surpassing the historical norm. If you go back 10 years, the pace of change was slower than it is today.  

  • Breadth: Change is not limited to individual technologies; it spans the entire economic, social and political landscape. Examples include the rise of artificial intelligence, immersive technologies and a multipolar world order.  

  • Depth: Change penetrates to the core of how we operate, impacting how companies are built, how products are developed and how consumer behavior evolves.  

We have significant exponential technological change with artificial intelligence, immersive technologies, web 3.... and we also have seismic economic and social shifts, political shifts... we're moving toward a multipolar world."

- Matthew Griffin

This "multi-axial" nature of change presents significant challenges and opportunities for leaders and individuals alike.  

A turning point in history  

Griffin argues for a paradigm shift, a turning point characterized by seismic changes in the digital world that profoundly impact the physical world.  

When we really take a look at the physical world around us, it's very easy, from a human perspective, to think that the world isn't really changing that much, that change is still relatively slow.  

The built world changes slowly, but right underneath our feet, the digital world is changing faster than ever."

- Matthew Griffin

We have artificial intelligences building new artificial intelligences at the speed of light or the speed of the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). We have artificial intelligences that evolve, self-iterate and learn on their own.  

This rapid evolution requires leaders to understand the immense capabilities of digital technologies and their implications for the present, near and long-term future. 

Essential leadership in a changing world  

During the session Griffin emphasized how leaders are increasingly feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, in part, by the speed, breadth and depth of change.   

They are finding it difficult to understand what such changes mean and navigate them to ensure that they, their staff and their businesses are profitable in the future.  

The average CEO tenure in the world's large multinational organizations has fallen from about six years to five years, so that's a 20% change in the last five years."

- Matthew Griffin

During the session he advanced crucial tips for navigating this dynamic landscape:  

  • Mental resilience: Leaders must prioritize their mental well-being to cope with the overwhelming pace and breadth of change.  

  • Open-mindedness and curiosity: Embrace continuous learning and adapt to the constant emergence of new technologies that surpass science fiction.  

  • Positive mindset and action: A leader's perspective and actions significantly impact the organization. Optimism and proactive engagement with the future are crucial.  

  • Vision and hope: Leaders navigate uncertainty by fostering a shared vision of the future and encouraging hope in its positive potential. 

Universities have a vital "anchoring role" in this changing world 

According to the expert, universities have a vital "anchor role" in this evolving world. They must prioritize training people with the skills and knowledge to navigate continuous change and thrive in the future.   

That's why, universities are uniquely positioned to:  

  • Stay at the forefront of change: They are breeding grounds for new knowledge and innovation, allowing them to stay ahead of the curve.  

  • Empower people: Their focus on people enables them to design customized learning and development programs that foster personal and professional growth.  

  • Adapt and thrive: Unlike rigid organizations, universities have the inherent flexibility to adapt to an ever-changing landscape.  

Navigating the current wave of technological change requires a multifaceted approach. By embracing resilience, curiosity and a positive outlook, leaders can overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by this era. In addition, universities play a critical role in equipping individuals with the essential tools to thrive in this ever-evolving world.  

Beyond the impact on public debate and reflection on the future of society, the session achieved a fundamental objective: to create a space for change agents from business and academia to meet. 

This union between both sectors is crucial for the process of social transformation promoted by La Salle-URL. 

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