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Tim Leberecht’s TED Talk on Humanizing Companies in the Age of AI

gryphon agency SF pr media relations communicationsTim Leberecht, the German-American author, speaker, and consultant, gave a talk at TEDSummit in June 2016 on how to build a more human company in the Age of AI. Leberecht asserted that the last jobs available to humans will be related to work that can be done beautifully, rather than efficiently. He went on to explain four principles that entrepreneurs should embrace for building beautiful, humane, and efficient organizations:

  1. Do the unnecessary. Leberecht used the example of yogurt company Chobani offering stock to its 2,000 employees, a completely unnecessary and unexpected gesture. However,  in doing so, the company gained employee loyalty.
  2. Create intimacy. Studies show that the way people feel about their workplaces is dependent upon the way they feel about their co-workers. Breaking down hierarchy, which limits interactions, can strengthen organizational intimacy.
  3. Be Ugly. To be authentic is to be ugly. Speaking the ugly truth and encouraging people to keep asking questions about business success and failures are imperative for cutting out organizational bureaucracy. Leberecht said, “Things tend to get ugly when there’s only one meaning, one truth; only answers and no questions.”  
  4. Remain incomplete. The most beautiful organizations have ideas worth fighting for even when their outcomes are uncertain; they are never fully organized, so they avoid becoming banal.

Leberecht concluded, “These are inherently human characteristics, and these are also the qualities of what we call home. And as we disrupt and are disrupted, the least we can do is to ensure that we still feel at home in our organizations . . . Beauty can save the world when we embrace these principles and design for them.”



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