‘Business unusual’ is a good summary of the central themes of our third and final day at the 2019 TED Summit.

The stage was lit up by a number of speakers, encouraging the audience to challenge the status quo and assumptions of what business is and can be.

The effervescent Margaret Heffernan questioned whether scientific management and the quest for endless efficiency and certainty through prediction was useful in a world of increasing complexity and uncertainty.

Using examples as diverse as banking and climate change, she argued that we need to be more comfortable with ambiguity and adopt a ‘Just in Case’ versus a ‘Just in Time’ perspective on management.

She also warned of the dangers of ceding too much of our thinking to machines, passionately defending the role of imagination and experimentation, against endless optimisation and a worrying trend towards ubiquity as a result of increasing automation and analytics.

Bob Langert , formerly of McDonalds, took the audience through his journey from corporate suit to sustainability leader. He championed the need to embrace and work with critics, to be open and transparent with information and to invite differences of opinion into our organisations as a way to improve what we do day to day.

Rose Mutiso was passionate in her appeal to end energy poverty in Africa, where off-grid solutions are not sufficient to support the needs of the region, and Mariana Mazzucato called for the creation of more value via reinvestment and innovation.

We also heard from Intel’s video pioneer Diego Prilusky , who wowed us with a sneak peek of the next revolution in storytelling – volumetric video, where sensor technology and 3D camera rigs enable immersive cinematic experiences, changing our relationship with cinema and allowing us to step inside the film.

We left feeling excited about the ideas and optimism that surrounds TED, as we continue to develop our own curious mindsets at Capita.

Thinking about your organisation?