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#75—Tony O'Driscoll: Reconciling Humanity and Technology

#75—Tony O'Driscoll: Reconciling Humanity and Technology

Tony O’ Driscoll is a Professor, Research Fellow and Academic Director at Duke University. His central message emphasizes that the key digital-age differentiator is not technology, but people.

Tony is the co-author of the new release, Everyday Superhero: How You Can Inspire Everyone and Create Real Change at Work. His role as adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Pratt School of Engineering afford him the unique opportunity to apply cutting-edge academic research to increasingly complex business challenges. He has spent the bulk of his professional and academic career at the nexus of business, innovation, technology, change, and learning, creating and implementing strategies that enable organizations to realize the full potential of their most valuable asset: human beings.

There are few people in the world who have thought as deeply about the interface of technology and human organizations and imagined what the future models might be for how organizations will evolve than Tony.

In this podcast, he shares:

  • Why AI is going to transform the way we organize in ways we have never experienced in history

  • The key reasons why strategy execution fails and some tips for addressing them

  • Why attempts at organizational and digital transformation so often create resistance and how you can help mitigate that response


"I started to realize at the end of the day, organizations are nothing without humans. The humans literally breathe life into every organization on this planet. And if they don't understand the why behind something or as they disagree with the premises or assumptions upon which any strategy has been formulated, you're going to have a really hard time. It'll be executed in the wrong way; it'll be killed rather than done. And that's where I became really interested in the human part of the system."

-Tony O'Driscoll


Episode Timeline:

00:00—Short preview of Tony's episode

00:58—Introducing Tony + The topic of today’s episode

2:37—If you really know me, you know that...

3:55—What's the difference between productive learning vs. creative learning?

5:10—How AI has changed the new capabilities to change the human-machine interface

7:13—Why is this level of technological revolution with AI and machine learning happening now, and how is it different, and how can we learn what will unfold?

10:15—Why do 60-70 percent of strategies fail?

11:39—Why humans are at the center of systems and technology

12:53—What should strategists be thinking about human-centered transformation?

15:48—How do you build accountability alongside trust?

19:00—Could you explain how we are shifting paradigms as a global culture?

20:39—How can people connect and learn from you?


Additional Resources:

Personal Page:




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The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.