Heather E. McGowan
Heather E. McGowan
Past speaking engagemens
Recognized for her ability to identify patterns and connect the dots, McGowan empowers individuals and organizations by enlightening them about the centrality of continuous learning in the future of work. Her innovative approach to learning enhances innovation in employees, empathy in leaders, and effectiveness in businesses navigating a fast-evolving marketplace.
Author of notable books like "The Adaptation Advantage" and "The Empathy Advantage", McGowan holds an undergraduate degree from Rhode Island School of Design, an MBA from Babson College, and an honorary Doctorate from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design.
Heather E. McGowan
loves to inspire you on...
The Adaptation Advantage
Her latest book The Adaptation Advantage, co-authored with Chris Chipley, is a guide for navigating the highly complex and ambiguous Future of Work
Overnight companies remapped supply chains, pivoted product lines, and transformed to distributed work-from-home organization. Entire university and school systems adopted virtual delivery exclusively, something many said they would never do. This new normal, or normal of now, requires a focus on culture, purpose, trust, psychological safety as we embark on the largest social experiment in human history.
The future of identity is purpose and play
We ask children and young people “What do you want to be when you grow up?”; we ask university students “What is your major or area of study?”; and we ask each other “What do you do for a living?”. These questions refer to an application of knowledge and skills at a moment in time. That moment in time is rapidly decreasing. According to research, as change rates accelerate--driven by technology and globalization--it is possible for us to work numerous jobs from many different industries in our lifetime. Despite this, we continue to limit our definition to one occupational self. Studies have shown that the loss of a job can take longer to recover from than the loss of a primary relationship.
The human capital era
Throughout much of our history human talent was primarily a function of the production of tangible, physical assets. Recent research has revealed that over the past fifty years the source of value creation shifted from tangible, physical assets to intangible assets, notably human capital. In 2020 intangible assets, primarily human capital, comprises 90% of all enterprise value in the S&P 500. Additionally, as we hand off more and more mentally routine or predictable tasks to technology, human talent and ingenuity become increasingly important.
The Future Company: Culture and Capacity
The organization of work and focused goals have long been measured by the outputs—i.e. brands, products, services, and business models. Accelerated change driven by exponential growth in technology, as well as a hyper connected and interdependent global economy has dramatically reduced the lifespan of a product, service, or business model. In this reality, we can no longer focus on the outputs, or the exhaust, and but should instead focus on the inputs: culture and capacity.
Culture is the external expression of the brand and the internal operating systems of how the organization creates value. Capacity is the organization’s ability to respond to challenges.
The Robot Proof Myth: the Future of Work is Human
A technical, single disciplinary skills list for creating a future proof workforce does not exist. Using our factory pipeline to work where we merely substitute STEM, or any other skills, to create a robot-proof workforce is faulty logic.
We can see that our old model of codifying and transferring existing skills and predetermined knowledge used to create a deployable workforce once worked in industrial revolutions but falls apart with this speed of change.
In this reality, the solution is both learning and adapting with a focus on uniquely human, nontechnical skills that enable more meaningful work through augmentation of computerized technologies. The future of work is human. Once we stop lunging at single disciplinary skill sets while and in fear of being replaced by technology, we can focus on developing our uniquely human skills and leverage rising technological capabilities to unleash the potential of humanity.