The Lead: IBM’s New AI Research, EU Not Renegotiating Brexit, Measles Cases in Europe

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

IBM’s New AI Research Hub

Focusing on computer-chip research, development, prototyping, testing and simulation, IBM is investing $2 billion into a new artificial intelligence research hub in partnership with New York State. Governor Andrew Cuomo said “artificial intelligence has the potential to transform how we live and how businesses operate, and this partnership with IBM will help ensure New York continues to be on the cutting edge developing innovative technologies.”

Our View: Creating incubators or hubs for research and innovation highlights leadership’s priorities. Idealistically, things happen faster and become more streamlined at these innovation centers. When approached at the state level, the concentration of talent is able to build synergy and utilize community resources to bring prosperity and betterment to everyone. Further Reading

EU Still Not Renegotiating Brexit

As discussions on the Brexit deal continue with British Prime Minister Theresa May arriving in Brussels to convince EU leaders of key changes, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU can only “add wording” to the Political Declaration about what they aim for in their future relationship. Businesses, travel, and food and medicine supply will all be adversely impacted if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Our View: Compartmentalizing problems to explore every aspect of them is a good way to arrive at thoughtful decisions. When you are in the weeds of a decision making process, talk to people to seek advice and not answers, and instead, cultivate your own solutions after exhausting multiple perspectives. Further Reading

Related AchieveForum Content: Leading Complex Decisions

Highest Number of Measles Cases in Europe in a Decade

The World Health Organization has recorded the highest number of measles cases in Europe in a decade. Even with vaccination rates improving, measles cases in Europe tripled between 2017 and 2018 to 82,596. The highest number of measles cases last year were reported in Ukraine which had more than ten times that of Serbia, the next highest.

Our View: Problems of climate change, indigenous disadvantage, obesity and other serious health issues can all be categorized as “wicked problems” in that they are highly resistant to resolution. Strategies to attack these types of problems include authoritative, competitive, and collaborative strategies. Each strategy has its own key advantages and disadvantages, but the collaborative strategies are supported the most in literature as being the most effective in dealing with wicked problems that have many stakeholders amongst whom power is dispersed. Further Reading

Related AchieveForum Content: Leading in the Digital Age: Collaborative Co-Creation

Wearable Tech for Restaurant Workers

Presto launched Presto Wearables, a smartwatch-like device for restaurants workers that notifies them of guests’ needs. A highly specialized algorithm, Presto A.I., analyzes data in real time to provide actionable recommendations and predictive modeling for servers and restaurant managers to make data-driven decisions. Presto currently works with ten out of the top twenty restaurant chains in the U.S., and their technology is helping wait staff to cover over twice as many tables while providing a better customer experience with reduced ordering errors.

Our View: The magic ingredient to adopting new technology successfully is good leadership. Business leaders influence their company’s culture, and when they lead by example and demonstrate a mindset that embraces change and technological innovation, they set the stage for complete integration and not just another investment. Further Reading

Related AchieveForum Content: Leading in the Digital AgeAccelerating Strategic Initiatives

SunTrust’s Merger with BB&T

SunTrust and BB&T merged, and Jim Cramer wrote about its importance in his Real Money column. He said “Thursday’s stunning merger announcement between SunTrust and BB&T was, I think, all about ‘disrupt to thrive,’ as BBT’s CEO Kelly King said on its conference call. Sure they had a cultural fit. There are strategic similarities and tremendous economics to the deal. The efficiency ratio — the expenses as a percentage of revenue — will be an astounding 51%. I think this SunTrust-BBT deal may be more about digital defense and offense. It’s about having the scale and the money to invest in more tech to keep those clients at these banks — and keep them happy in a digital world. Keep them from migrating to Bank of America.”

Our View: Leadership development during mergers significantly increases the chances of successful integration planning, cultural integration, and capturing value, growth, and performance. When leaders are inspired, and not just able, to take charge, they succeed in managing the merger at hand (regardless of its complexity) and increase their capacity for future deals. Further Reading

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