Instinctive Enterprise
Aug 14, 2018

Evolution revolution: Leading in the Age of Instinct

Every living being has to earn its place on earth. For millions of years, plants, animals, and insects have undergone the trials of climate and competition; they prove themselves by building on skills, repairing weaknesses, and evolving to become better and stronger in all kinds of ways.

Thanks to these adaptations, roses have their defensive thorns. It's why armies of ants work together to build colonies, find food, and defend themselves. This is the survival of the fittest. Only those who evolve can thrive. In the business world, the same Darwinian rules hold true, as estimates suggest that 75% of companies on the S&P 500 will be replaced by 2027. As leaders, we can take lessons from the natural world, harnessing instinct to lead our companies into the future.

If you read the signals from the fourth industrial revolution, we are entering the Age of Instinct. Only companies that have the foresight to see what's coming – and the ability to act and react with speed – will thrive in the next generation of business. At Genpact, we see that future.

We see the potential for business leaders to guide this evolution by changing their organizations, industries, and society at large. With connected ecosystems, predictive insights, and adaptive workforces, the world's most advanced companies will evolve to become instinctive enterprises and define the next era of business.

The evolutionary unlock

Just as the octopus demonstrates how it's hard-wired for survival by adapting dynamically to its environment, next-generation enterprises will leverage artificial intelligence (AI) as their neural wiring, ushering in a new era of business. AI, in the right hands and the right context, connects people, processes, and domain knowledge in a way never before possible, allowing businesses to make accurate real-time decisions that benefit customers. AI is the evolutionary unlock that makes an instinctive enterprise possible, enabling it to move markets, reinvent business models, and amplify human potential.

An instinctive enterprise has three hallmarks:

1. Connected ecosystems

The future of business relies on companies collaborating freely, both internally across functions and externally with partners. Sharing information in a connected environment – across partners, industry players and even competitors – reframes problems, provides insights that no one entity could gather or interpret on its own, and brings businesses closer to their customers. By breaking down internal silos and collaborating externally, an instinctive enterprise offers instant access to new sources of data and improved insights.

Why does this matter? Because only well-connected ecosystems can nimbly reinterpret and reshape their environments to improve customer experiences and anticipate market demands.

2. Predictive insights

The future of business belongs to those with the ability to perceive the previously imperceptible and the decisiveness to act before others can. An instinctive enterprise has an insatiable appetite for data. It devours huge volumes of information, spots patterns, and generates insights that anticipate customer needs, potential threats, and market opportunities before others see what's coming.

We're already witnessing how digital technologies like AI and machine learning, together with advanced analytics, are making prediction both more precise and real time. As Ajay Agarwal, professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto, has noted, prediction will become ubiquitous. And when that happens, the ability to predict with precision and at scale will change business models – and once again redefine consumer expectations.

We've only scratched the surface of technology's potential predictive possibilities. Businesses that embrace prediction as an agent of change and invest in wiring their organizations to take advantage of what prediction enables will drive coming industry shifts.

3. Adaptive workforces

Tomorrow's leading businesses will nurture their workforces – not as siloed, structured functions, but as nimble, agile pools of talent that can access the right skills for the right task at the right moment, working towards common goals. Talent in an adaptive workforce is empowered by technology and a desire to learn. People move away from functional roles in favor of more fluid, purpose-driven career paths that embrace change.

In an instinctive enterprise, careers will not be defined by physical boundaries. Jobs will not be limited to discrete tasks. Workers will not be marginalized by job descriptions. Instead, the instinctive enterprise will liberate employees from traditional roles and siloed expectations, allowing employers to mobilize the people they need regardless of function or geography, so that the business can pivot and make informed, strategic decisions in a dynamic environment.

It's time to evolve

As Albert Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination." To lead successfully in this environment, we must be willing to dream, to innovate for the future. In the right hands, AI will be the enabler that rewires businesses, empowering them to act, react, learn, and adapt instinctively, with every encounter making them smarter and better.

Predictive insights will enable companies to foresee customers' needs in real time. Connected ecosystems will uncover opportunities that no single, siloed organization could find alone. And adaptive workforces will reshape themselves as markets change.

But only those who are daring enough to dream and bold enough to act will get there. Welcome to the Age of Instinct.

About the author

"Tiger" Tyagarajan

"Tiger" Tyagarajan


Based in New York, Tiger Tyagarajan is credited as one of the industry leaders who pioneered a new global business model and transformed a division of GE (formerly GE Capital International Services) into Genpact, a global professional services firm that makes business transformation real.