Dave Coplin: how to envision the full potential of technology?

Writer Samira Joineau

New technologies, and more particularly artificial intelligence, are progressively gaining ground in the workplace. To the extent that most people are scared that they might steal their jobs, and fully reverse the trend. Dave Coplin worked at Microsoft for 12 years, latterly as the “Chief Envisioning Officer”, a role studying and exploring the impact of new technologies on human and the business world, now independent, he continues this work helping clients from all around the world, including Facebook, the BBC, Barclays, Vodafone and many others build a better relationship with technology that leads to better outcomes for their business, their people and of course, their customers…

He will be present at ICT Spring next June 30, to discuss how to exploit the full potential of technology to relieve the workload while driving performance for a company.

For over 30 years, Dave Coplin has worked together with the world’s largest companies, until most recently when he worked as Microsoft’s first Chief Envisioning Officer (CEO). Since then, he has focused on developing The Envisioners, founded back in 2009, of which he is also the CEO. 

Holding this unique position, he provides organizations and governments around the world with strategic pieces of advice and guidance enabling them to deliver lasting growth and market relevance through the adoption of technology. 

In other words, Coplin stands at the forefront of conversations around how individuals and organizations can make the most of digital transformation outcomes, and benefit from the full potential of current and emerging technologies. The idea behind being to best prepare to take advantage of them now, and in the future. 

Thanks to his singular vision, Dave Coplin is acknowledged in public, private, and academic circles, so as to help inspire and drive technology-enabled transformation. 

Besides, Coplin is an established author and mainly addresses topics related to the future of work and the relationship between humans and technology. He wants to crush common preconceptions – and even misconceptions – on technology overall, so as to instead understand how it can, when well-used, be groundbreaking. 

This is what he exposes in his books “Business Reimagined” and “The Rise of Humans”. Both of his publications offer an optimistic, new perspective, against the flow, on technology. Coplin actually encourages people to change their vision on work practices, and aims to guide them towards a working environment based on collaboration and flexibility; and where technology, when used correctly, has a real added-value so as to turn businesses more productive, more efficient. 

Business Reimagined

While technology is often met with skepticism in the workplace, it remains critical to help people understand the potential it can bring to them and to the business as a whole. Considering the impending rise of automation and artificial intelligence (both generative and general), most fear that they are doomed, that they will eventually be replaced. Technology can nevertheless create new opportunities and enhance their skills, improve working conditions, and increase productivity. 

As both businesses and by extension workers – and the society – are navigating changes, going through digital transformation processes, the question remains: how to embrace technology to transform, reimagine the workplace? In this context, Coplin offers ideas to remodel, even revolutionize work practices to eventually align them with technological advancements.

The Rise of Humans

Also ‒ no one can ignore that technology, in spite of its numerous advantages, has participated in disconnecting humans from reality. Set in the working place context, this digital deluge could hence impact workers’ productivity, drowning them in a torrent of data keeping them from doing meaningful and real work. As stated above, the rise of technology is often said to be threatening and dangerous for the human race; but what if we approach the problem the other way round? 

Technology – being machine learning, automation, blockchain, AI, immersive technology – has the potential to boost and enhance businesses, so they can stay in the course. It proves hence essential to embrace this ever-growing technological era, but it is up to humans to exploit this potential. The idea here is to understand and train on these new tools so humans remain in control, while diving deeper in this world of opportunities. Coplin then addresses how to turn this digital deluge into a key organizational asset? 

Overall, Coplin’s insights are thought-provoking, engaging and informative, he brings valuable insights on the on-going changes and more importantly, helps others understand how to take benefit from technology to surf through this ever-changing landscape, being at work or in society overall.