Alexa Will Influence Much More Than Your Grocery List

by

Almost two years ago, during one of my catch-up conversations with Scott Manuel from Thomson Reuters, I first heard of Alexa, the intelligent personal assistant service of the Amazon Echo. Scott said, “Trust me, you’ve got to get one of these.” His job is to investigate emerging technologies and determine if they can be impactfully implemented at Thomson Reuters. His “trust me” was all I needed to go pre-order my first Echo.

Once I got it set up, I quickly became dependent on this little black tower in my kitchen. When I had my hands in a bowl of raw chicken, I could say, “Alexa, add kosher salt to the shopping list.” “Alexa, what is on my calendar tomorrow?” “Alexa, play holiday music.” “Alexa, set a timer for 5 minutes.”

My love of Alexa only grew from there. I added another Alexa in my master bathroom so I can listen to the news or add things to my to do list while getting ready. Because of my infatuation with Alexa, I started using “Hey Siri” in my car to read and write text messages, hear what’s next on my calendar, and get directions to my next stop.

A few weeks ago, when my family was in town for the holidays, Alexa’s power became even more intriguing to me. Four of the ten people staying in my house were under six years old. One evening, when the laughter and screams had reached ear-piercing levels, my dad called the four grandkids into the kitchen and sat them in a circle on the floor. He put Alexa in the middle of the circle and said, “Alexa, play the animal game.” They spent a good twenty-three minutes thinking of an animal and then answering questions from Alexa so that she could guess it.

Clearly, life at home will never be the same again. There was something about that moment that opened my mind to what Alexa (and of course Siri and all of the other competitors) could do for us.

Fast forward to our company trip last week. I had the pleasure of hearing again from Scott. He joined us one evening for a “fireside chat” about technology trends. The conversation touched on everything from augmented reality to blockchain to the democratization of IT. I furiously took notes to capture all the thoughts they were tossing around and the resulting ideas swirling in my head.

One thought that has really stuck with me is Scott’s assertions that Alexa will change the way we work. Specifically, he said, “Alexa has set expectations on professional life.”

I started daydreaming about what Alexa could do for me if she were just a little smarter and more knowledgeable about my job.

“Alexa, search my notes from meetings over the last year with John Doe for any comments related to his financial reporting systems.”

“Alexa, please provide me company overview information on ABC, Inc. including any first connections we have on LinkedIn to executives there.”

“Alexa, take our six-person group through a prioritization exercise to determine topics for our meeting.”

Think about it. It isn’t that far away. Look at how far we’ve come on the home front in the last few years and play that forward in the world of work.

We live in a fun time. And I can’t wait for what’s next.

READ MORE

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

About a week ago, I completed the second live (virtual) training in the process of becoming a Certified Professional Coach through iPEC. Once again, my mind was blown! It reinforced for me that virtual workshops can, and do, work, and, in a lot of ways, I prefer them...

read more
Finding My Work-Life Balance

Finding My Work-Life Balance

In my previous post, I told the story of how I got back into consulting after becoming a mom. All of the diverse experiences I had during that journey have helped me to find my work-life balance by… Defining Boundaries “Go home,” my first boss said 12 years back —...

read more
How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

I Landed My Dream Job Throwback to 2014, I had completed my MBA, landed my dream job as a consultant, and was hoping that my new consulting career would exponentially ramp up my career growth for the next 5 years. This would position me to take on critical decision...

read more
Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

In August of this year, as part of our annual company meeting, our team at Thought Ensemble participated in the foundational session of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training led by Dr. Nika White, IOM, CDE (she/her/hers). One of the most meaningful moments...

read more
Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

It is often said that organizational culture is like a fog — it is all around us; it impacts our ability to see, to move quickly, and to deliver; but we cannot quite put our finger on it. Indeed, some organizations see their culture as a byproduct of operations,...

read more
We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

Why have we refreshed our brand, you ask? Well, as we have grown and matured as an organization, we felt that our previous brand elements no longer represented us as well as they could. You see, we founded Thought Ensemble back in 2008 to help companies better compete...

read more
Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

I recently wrote about how company purpose is being tested and inspired by all the events of 2020. This topic is very real for us at Thought Ensemble. We’ve been thinking a lot about what really matters as we’ve navigated the...

read more
How 2020 Is Testing and Inspiring Corporate Purpose

How 2020 Is Testing and Inspiring Corporate Purpose

In August 2019, the Business Roundtable rewrote their statement of corporate purpose. I followed this with significant interest being that I have never forgotten the debates about corporate purpose in business school almost two decades ago. We were taught that the...

read more
Why Purpose-Driven Organizations May Struggle With Change

Why Purpose-Driven Organizations May Struggle With Change

I love working with companies who really want to make a difference, beyond just making money for their shareholders. I mean, making money is fun and all, but it is even more rewarding to join in on a just cause. Plus, as this HBR article explains, companies who have...

read more