Editor’s note: Jon Duschinsky, an entrepreneur, social innovator and firm believer in leading a purpose-driven existence, will be the closing keynote speaker at ISACA’s EuroCACS/CSX 2019 conference, to take place 16-18 October in Geneva, Switzerland. Duschinsky recently visited with ISACA Now and shared his thoughts on why being purpose-driven is more realistic than ever in today’s digital age. For more of Duschinsky’s insights, listen to his recent appearance on the ISACA Podcast.
ISACA Now: Why is being purpose-driven so important for professionals?
Purpose-driven means that you’re clear on what you do, you’re clear on how you do it, and most companies and professionals are pretty clear on those two today. The bit that tends to get lost in all this is why. Why has this group of human beings come together in this corporate structure to do the thing they do? And if the answer of that is to make profit, that is not the why. That is a result of the why. And so purpose-driven companies are companies that have understood what that why is and have gotten really clear what their purpose is – why they get up in the morning, why they work, why they innovate, why they create, why they make their product, why they serve their customers. … And the truth today is you make more money by making a difference.
ISACA Now: You have been described as a serial entrepreneur. What do you find so intriguing about entrepreneurship?
I kind of go through life encountering with curiosity, seeing things, seeing concepts, seeing ideas, and drawing connections between them – perhaps connections that others haven’t seen before or connections in new ways, and then from that being able to sort of articulate a vision to turn that connection into something that can be communicated and articulated – ‘What if we did this?’ – and then it’s really about enrolling and inspiring others to say ‘Oh, that would be cool, why don’t we all try and do that together?,’ because the first thing about entrepreneurship is you can’t be an entrepreneur on your own.
ISACA Now: In one of your past presentations you cited a statistic that nearly half of all jobs will be replaced by technology in the next 10 years, at least in some regions. What comes to mind when you think about that type of jarring possibility?
What’s happening is that today we don’t need people to work the machines anymore, and that’s the seismic shift. Shifts of that scale and their ripple effects are going to be felt in every family, in every community, in every company. There’s a lot of talk about how the US and other developed countries are heading toward massive levels of structural unemployment. That is false. I do not believe we are going there. … What we need to get as the humans are no longer needed to work the machines is to then tap into something that is fundamentally human, which is that when we are given a little bit of freedom from needing to work the machines, when we’re given the breathing room from needing to ensure our basic survival, then humans are free to seek more meaning. … We are seeing this new world of opportunity where human beings are actually given the time and the space to be able to pursue the things that matter most to them.
ISACA Now: What are the biggest keys to successful communication when it comes to social innovation in the enterprise setting?
The keys to communication come back to this idea of clarity on the why. It’s very easy to talk about what you do and how you do it. But actually, the communication at that level is fairly transactional, and it’s about the process and it’s about the what we’re doing. It’s a set of tasks. We’re communicating at a tactical level. When you get real communication, when you get real connection, what you get is something called enrollment. It’s buy-in. When you really communicate effectively with people, you get not just their understanding of them sitting there nodding and they know how to execute the tactics or the process, but you get their buy-in at almost an emotional level with the thing that you’re sharing. They really get it. And to get it you have to understand not just what it is and how it works, but you have to understand and be aligned on why it’s important. That’s the really critical piece, and it’s what differentiates so many companies that do this.
ISACA Now: How will the educational system need to adapt to keep pace with the evolving technology landscape?
When I spend time with CEOs and business leaders, they’re fairly unanimous in the [opinion] that the educational system, at all levels now, is not fit for purpose. … We need education systems and education styles that enable young people, and this starts very young, to grow into their creativity rather than having it tested and normalized out of them. That’s the first thing. The second thing is that we need to have a realignment between higher education and the needs of the workforce, which means that the two have to be much more closely aligned.