Q&A with Dr. David Bray (Pt. 1 of 3)

by | Apr 6, 2018

As CVP enters its 15th year in business, we continue to witness first-hand an accelerated rate of change in the markets we serve and in society in general. CVP and George Washington University (GW) have partnered on a new, ongoing speaker series focused on change, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

The CVP Speaker Series @ GW debuts April 25, 2018 at 6pm with Champion of Positive #ChangeAgents and Executive Director for the People-Centered Internet coalition, Dr. David Bray, at the Lehman Auditorium in GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) building at 6pm.

Dr. David Bray’s keynote is entitled “Needed Now More Than Ever: Positive #ChangeAgents Across Sectors” and will focus on why and how we all can be change agents in our rapidly changing world while highlighting meaningful multi-sector strategies for delivering results differently and better.

In this first of three special blog posts, our founder and CEO, Anirudh Kulkarni, asks David Bray a few questions about the topic of his talk.

Q: Your 4/25 talk at the CVP Speaker Series @ GW is titled “Needed Now more than ever: Positive # ChangeAgents Across Sectors.” Why is it needed now more than ever?

A: In 2013, there were the same number of network devices on the face of the planet that there were humans: 7.1 billion human beings on the face of the planet, and 7.1 billion network devices. Less than two years later, the number of networked devices doubled to 14 billion network devices, and by 2022, it’s estimated there will be more than 75 billion networked devices globally relative to about 8 billion human beings. That’s not linear change. That’s exponential change.

At the same time, we’re seeing the among of data on the planet double every 18 to 24 months, such that by 2022 estimates project more than 96 billion terabytes of data globally. Some estimates peg this as more than twice all the conversations our human species ever had. In addition, by 2022 if trends continue, another 2.5 to 3.5 billion human beings will gain access to the internet.

All these rapid changes will strain how private and public sectors operate. We all will have to rethink and reimagine how we work together as societies, how we co-exist and produce value both individuals and collectively, and how we live as increasingly interconnected humans on this “pale blue dot” we call home.

Q: What is the biggest struggle some sectors have with change, and what are the best methods for adapting change?

A: Even though several people claim to like change, they don’t like to have to change themselves. As the philosopher Thomas Hobbes pointed out: people aren’t prone to change when they’re happy. Similarly, organizations – which are made of people – aren’t prone to change when things are going well. It’s not until things get bad that people, and similarly organizations, recognize that things need to change.

This also is true of both private and public-sector organizations. When an organization is doing well, the few prescient voices scanning the future and urging the organization to change its business model to avoid an approaching chasm are ignored, marginalized, and potentially even fired as they’re impeding the organization from enjoying its happy success at that moment.

Then when the environment in which the organization operates changes, and the business model no longer works, there usually remains a lot of denial that the world has changed – often refrain of “if we just get back to our principles X years ago”.

Organizations that deny the world has changed will try push to work harder at the old business model, or perhaps an incremental improvement, attempting to get back to what was so successful just a few years, or months, earlier. It’s only when things get bad that the organization might finally embrace those voices that say they need to do something completely different in the new environment.

This avoidance of the need to adapt and change unfortunately is akin to waiting until a metaphorical airplane has descended from a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet to less than 2,000 feet in the hopes of pulling the plane, with all its weight and inertia, back up before it hits the ground. Proactive adaption is less painful and more purposeful than reactive adaption, unfortunately too many organizations and people avoid change until they absolutely must do as such.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see David Bray speak live on April 25 at GW. We look forward to seeing you at this debut event.

Anirudh Kulkarni, CEO

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