“Generative AI will revolutionize client interactions, bring new efficiencies to advisor practices, and ultimately help free up time to do what you do best: serve your clients.” -Morgan Stanley co-President Andy Saperstein

Morgan Stanley is taking its AI @ Morgan Stanley Assistant fully live for all financial advisors. The tool provides financial advisors rapid entry into the bank’s knowledge repository, which houses about 100,000 research reports and related documents.

Quick, easy access is a first-order effect. The second-order effects will be much larger. But these will take time to materialize. And they will only materialize after advisors not only incorporate the new tools into their workflows, but also build new processes and procedures as a result of the new tools.

Some food for thought on the future of fast food in the era of AI:

➡Personalized Experiences : AI algorithms are delving deep into customer preferences and buying patterns to offer personalized recommendations, enhancing the customer experience and boosting sales.

➡Automated Ordering and Delivery : From chatbots taking your orders to robots delivering your cheeseburgers, AI is revolutionizing the way we order and receive our food.

➡ Sustainability : AI is aiding fast-food chains in becoming more sustainable by optimizing supply chains, reducing energy consumption, and helping with food waste, moving every cheeseburger a step towards a greener planet.

➡ Fan Experience: The goal of AI is to improve the fan experience. Restaurants everywhere are starting to us AI to deliver better service and a better product.

Here’s to the future of fast food, where every day is #NationalCheeseburgerDay!

Last week I was deep in the heart of (Dallas) Texas and had the incredible honor to take the stage in front of a packed house at GBTA Convention 2023. This year’s conference was incredible! You might even say it was ten-gallon hat BIG! The event drew a massive crowd of over 5200 attendees representing 58 different countries, all eager to unravel the mysteries of where business travel is headed.

Each year I am privileged to collaborate with the wonderful teams at GBTA | Global Business Travel Association and CWT, working together to peer into the future and predict the trajectory of corporate travel pricing over the next 18 months. These recent years have been marked by significant price fluctuations – for instance, corporate airfare took a wild 72% leap just last year. While we don’t foresee quite the same level of volatility ahead, numerous factors are still gently nudging prices in an upward direction. If you’re curious, I invite you to delve into the comprehensive forecast, complete with our projections for air travel, hotel stays, and ground transportation. And if you’re up for it, there’s an array of news coverage waiting for you to explore from sources like Skift, PYMNTS, and the Business Times.

Joining me on stage this year was Richard Johnson, who leads CWT’s global solution group. Rich and his brilliant team possess an uncanny ability to deliver tailor-made value to clients by masterfully navigating the intricate landscape of business travel. Collaborating with these consummate professionals is a true privilege and a joy. My heartfelt gratitude extends to Emma WoodhouseAmanda CumineSiddharth Singh, and the entire team at CWT who steadfastly guide this project year after year.

I want to extend my warmest congratulations to Suzanne Neufang and the entire GBTA team for orchestrating an undeniably successful Convention. A special note of thanks goes out to Chris ElyPeggy Miller Dolphin, and Debbie Iannaci for their invaluable contributions.

Thanks to all of the sponsors that helped make GBTA Convention 2023 so successful. Choice Hotels InternationalSkyTeamUnited for BusinessAmadeusAmerican Express Global Business TravelBCD TravelBWH HotelsCWTTravelportTurkish Airlines, American Express Global Commerical Services, Marriott BonvoyShell International, and Southwest Airlines.



Technology is transforming logistics and transportation in stunning ways. 

Did you know human reaction time is around 100 milliseconds? And prior to 5G, the best we could hope for from a wireless network was around 200 milliseconds of latency. Fast, but not fast enough for remote operators who are working with millimeters of precision. But a new 5G system powered by Huawei and Vodafone is able to deliver data with just 8 milliseconds of latency. Operators are now able to move hundreds of millions of freight with the simple convenience of dual joysticks in what looks like the world’s most expensive RC toy. 

This is not some distant, theoretical future. This is happening now at Europe’s newest intermodal transport terminal. The East-West Gate (EWG) railway terminal is located in Fényeslitke, a small village near the Hungarian-Ukrainian border. EWG is not only Europe’s newest inland port, it is also one of Europe’s largest, with a capacity to handle millions of shipping containers per year. But what really sets EWG apart from other inland ports is its use of cutting-edge technology including sensors, private 5G networks, artificial intelligence, automation, and digital twins.

Moving shipments between Asia and Europe is challenging because railways in each continent use different size standards. Much of Europe uses the standard gauge, sometimes called the Stephenson gauge, which is 1,435 millimeters wide, while the dominant track gauge in former Soviet Union countries like Ukraine is the broad gauge which is 1,520 millimeters wide. The difference between the two is only about three inches but it is enough to make the rail networks incompatible with each other. Any freight moving between the two continents has to be offloaded and reloaded, or put onto trucks to continue the journey further into Europe. 

The process of transloading cargo between trains has historically been a time consuming, labor-intensive process. But technology being used at the EWG terminal is enabling new processes and workflows that are introducing significant improvements to the world of logistics and transportation. On a recent trip to Hungary, I got to see this future firsthand. 

Digitization and ‘Data’fication play a pivotal role from the moment trains arrive at the facility. As trains enter and exit the railyard, they pass through an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) gate which produces a 3D scan of each and every railcar. The system can identify and read relevant information on containers and generate and store photos for effective damage claims management. These data are also used to create real-time digital twins of each and every train. The digital twin data enhances throughput efficiency by identifying the exact position of every container and correcting possible operational or input mistakes made earlier in the train’s journey. 

The real magic of the facility starts to unfold when cargo transloading begins. Massive orange cranes move containers between trains sitting on parallel tracks – one standard gauge and one broad gauge. But these cranes are unlike ones in other inland ports that require operators to physically sit high up in the crane. These cranes are operated by remote operators working in the friendly confines of a nearby office. Each of the cranes is equipped with 20+ high-resolution cameras and 5G connectivity that together provide the remote operators with a real-time view. The cranes also use AI, sensors, and advanced technology to operate with a high degree of accuracy and speed. 

Operating a crane remotely requires large bandwidth to move high-res images to the operators. It also requires low latency and low network jitter, or the change in latency, to accurately control the crane’s movements in real-time. While everyday consumers are most concerned with downlink bandwidth, for industrial applications like this one, uplink bandwidth is what really matters. All of this functionality is made possible through the private 5G network that enables wireless real-time control across the entire terminal. 

EWG is the first terminal in Europe to control cranes remotely through 5G technology. 5G connectivity at the terminal also enables real-time tracking and management of cargo. This helps deliver more accurate forecasting of processing time and reinforces supply chain stability. 

EWG also incorporates various sustainable attributes and will help achieve some of the EU’s climate objectives. The terminal relies on renewable energy sources like solar panels for power generation, while also implementing a rainwater harvesting system to minimize water consumption. Further, all vehicles operating within the facility are electrically powered. By transloading freight arriving from Asia from broad gauge trains to standard gauge, cargo can continue further into Europe via train instead of being loaded onto roadways. EWG can also load full trucks and conventional road semi-trailers onto rail which enables shifting freight traffic arriving at the EU border to rail, consistent with the EU’s climate objectives.  

EWG points to a new future for logistics and highlights how 5G unlocks new forms of productivity and efficiency. The promise of EWG is found in the new infrastructure. But that new infrastructure is only unlocked through the power of 5G. For example, it is the change of the track layout that enables 5G to be valuable but the change in the track layout is only able to be valuable when combined with 5G. 

Real transformation comes when technology and process change come together in new ways. It is system-level changes that unlock massive growth and in this case, a variety of technologies coming together in unique ways to create entirely new processes.  

You can see more of the site in this video.



Last week took me to Nashville, though sadly not for Taylor Swift. Instead, I was privileged to join the Unleash HR Summit. I have been fortunate to cross paths with Dirk Beveridge over the years and witness his remarkable efforts in transforming legacy distributors into dynamic and innovative market leaders. It’s great to see him extend his expertise to HR executives, because the radical reinvention of people and culture is central to any organization’s transformation. The conference was truly exceptional, and I was delighted to be part of such an incredible community.

My keynote centered on the intersection of HR and technology. Here are a few of the thoughts I shared:

  1. See the lasting impact technology, and the shift from digitization to ‘data’fication, is having on HR

Technology has revolutionized nearly every aspect of modern life, and the field of human resources is no exception. To stay ahead of the curve, HR executives must keep up with the latest advancements. New tools and software can provide valuable insights into workforce analytics, increase employee engagement, and improve talent management. HR executives must understand how these technologies impact the future of work and their teams on a personal level. It’s important to remember that technology often has unforeseen second-order effects, which can be much larger and more impactful. HR executives need to spend time understanding the second-order effects of tomorrow’s technologies.

  1. Embrace the Changing Nature of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The future of work is decidedly human and AI is unlikely to take your job anytime soon. However, a burst of new AI applications does suggest those who can fully leverage its potential will have the most significant impact on their organizations. AI is disrupting the HR role in specific and special ways. Ultimately, it is also elevating the HR role to a more strategic level than it has sometimes played in the past. HR executives should aggressively experiment with new AI tools to find the ones that best support their unique mission and culture. These might be chatbots to answer employee questions and provide support 24/7 or perhaps predictive analytics to identify employees who are at risk of leaving so HR executives can take proactive measures to retain them.

  1. Understand how demographics shifts are changing HR

As Gen Z enters the workforce and becomes a larger consumer base, their tastes preferences are exerting a greater influence on workplaces. This generation values quick access to information and the ability to independently solve problems. They expect services to be available “on demand” and facilitated by technology. HR technology tools need to change with changing demographics. At the same time, most organizations now have employees in their workforce from more generations than ever before and HR executives will need to balance different needs. Technology can be utilized to improve the employee experience. HR executives can use tools such as employee self-service portals to provide convenient access to information. You might also use virtual and augmented reality to provide immersive training and enhance onboarding experiences. These tools can also be used to help scale the expertise of some of your most seasoned employees.

  1. Employees need more from their companies

Current data on employee sentiment is troubling.

  • Workers are broadly dissatisfied with their company when it come to their work.
  • Half of the workers report that they do not understand what is expected of them at work. I am concerned hybrid work environments might exacerbate this problem because they often eliminate the small clarifying conversations that occur serendipitously throughout a workday.
  • Only approximately one-third of workers feel that their company’s mission and purpose make their job feel significant, and similarly, only about a third of workers feel they have the chance to utilize their unique strengths every day to do what they do best.

Employees need more from their employers. They need to feel they are making a difference and be recognized for their contribution in meaningful ways. HR executives will play a central role in delivering these needs in the future, and technology will also play an important role.

  1. Growth requires new processes

James Clear’s assertion is that “you do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.” This means that having lofty goals alone is not sufficient; we must also establish effective systems to reach them. It is not enough to apply new technologies to old processes. Modern technology demands new processes and procedures to harness its complete potential. HR executives should prioritize agility by fostering a culture of experimentation and innovation. They should inspire employees to contribute novel ideas and offer opportunities for learning and growth.

  1. Executives need to think differently about the future

HR executives must think differently about the future to remain competitive and relevant. The time to act is now. HR executives, in particular, must anticipate future trends and adapt their strategies to attract and retain top talent.

This week, I took the stage in Neenah, Wisconsin, joining nearly 200 leaders of SECURA Insurance. In my keynote, I discussed the ongoing shift from digitization to ‘data’fication, what that means for the future of the insurance industry, and how this shift is creating new opportunities for insurers to better serve their customers.

In addition to the keynote, I delivered a separate workshop for the leadership team. We explored the leadership characteristics that make big technical migrations successful. SECURA, like many companies, is working hard to build the future. We discussed what leaders can learn from Amazon’s Day 1 mentality and how we can avoid the trap of Day 2. Leaders need to maintain a long-term focus, obsess over customers and their needs, and boldly innovate to meet those needs. We also ran through a pre-mortem exercise to identify and prioritize risks and build and implement preemptive mitigation strategies.

It is no longer enough to have the best people or the best technology. In order to thrive in the decade ahead, organizations need strong leaders, creative employees, and the newest technology. These three things need to work together to unleash an organization’s full potential. Technology alone will not drive growth. Most great transformations require new workflows.

The strategic use of data is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for businesses looking to stay competitive in today’s rapidly evolving market. By leveraging the power of data in new ways, businesses can develop innovative solutions that truly meet the needs of their customers, resulting in greater customer satisfaction and ultimately, increased profits.

It’s an exciting time for the insurance industry, and I was thrilled to be part of the conversation at SECURA’s event. SECURA has a rich 123-year history, and the leadership team is doing an artful job of embracing this history while also building the future.

Trust is the lifeblood of well-functioning teams, but a lack of trust might be inhibiting teams from truly excelling within hybrid work environments.

Additional layoffs at Facebook parent Meta recently filled the headlines, but in the memo to employees, Mark Zuckerberg revealed new insights on the future of work, the importance of relationships, and how teams need trust to thrive.

Here’s what Mark wrote:

Our early analysis of performance data suggests that engineers who either joined Meta in-person and then transferred to remote or remained in-person performed better on average than people who joined remotely. This analysis also shows that engineers earlier in their career perform better on average when they work in-person with teammates at least three days a week. This requires further study, but our hypothesis is that it is still easier to build trust in person and that those relationships help us work more effectively.

While hybrid work environments might be giving employees the flexibility they want, it might not be delivering the trust teams need. In his seminal research on the neuroscience of trust, Paul Zak shared eight behaviors leaders can follow to stimulate and sustain a culture of trust. Zak’s research stresses the importance of intentionally building social ties at work. These social ties strengthen trust, which in turn improves employees’ self-reported energy levels, satisfaction with their lives, and engagement at work.

What is your organization doing to build trust among team members and coworkers?

Earlier this week I joined US Bank’s Elavon for their latest masterclass. I discussed the disruptive trends impacting businesses and what it means for the future of payments and finance. These are some of the trends we explored:

#1 shift from digitization to ‘data’fication

#2 new faces of commerce that are emerging

#3 new paths to purchase

#4 blurring lines between our physical and digital worlds

The implications for the payments industry, and for the financial sector more broadly, are pronounced. We are already seeing some of these materialize in the following ways:

  1. Cryptocurrencies and the tokenization of the internet. As Mark Twain wrote, “the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” While it might feel like a crypto winter, and the collapse of FTX feels like a blizzard, viable use-cases continue to emerge. For example, earlier this month the Federal Reserve Bank of New York issued results on the Phase I results of Project Cedar, its inaugural project to develop a technical framework for a theoretical wholesale central bank digital currency (wCBDC). Currently, it takes two days for most FX spot trades to settle. In the test environment, transactions on the blockchain settled in under 15 seconds on average.
  2. Embedded everything. Platforms and marketplaces are leading a revolution in embedding payments, instant payouts, and other embedded finance tools. Delivery Hero, Postmates and Uber are just some of the examples. Shopify offers embedded finance products to its customers and half of their revenue comes from their ability to offer loans to their customers. In 2021 they loaned over $3B.
  3. Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) is here to stay. Consumers can get large ticket items right away while paying for them in several smaller installments over just a few weeks or months and merchants love it because they can increase their basket values and move more expensive items.

Axios CEO Jim VandeHei writes about the conflict brewing between management and workers over the future of work-from-anywhere policies. VandeHei notes he is worried about two big risks: “younger workers benefit more than they realize from being in the trenches, in person, grappling with tough, teaching moments. There is a magic in human interaction [and] it is way harder to create strong emotional bonds with colleagues and your company from your couch. People stay in jobs and thrive when they feel tight connections.”

In response, he offers four steps Axios takes to mitigate these risks:

  1. Hire self-motivated, driven people
  2. Create new human interactions
  3. Communicate until you annoy yourself
  4. Create new performance measurements

All of these steps ultimately speak to the importance of corporate culture and how to build it in a work-from-anywhere world. Corporate cultures often develop organically when everyone is in the same place, housed under the same roof. Sure, organizations can help culture along, but a meaningful portion of culture happens through the patterns and rituals of office life. And it happens serendipitously in-person because an organization’s culture is, in part, the amalgamation of its people.

When the pandemic hit companies tried to replicate some of these rituals in the digital realm – think Zoom happy hours and digital water colors – but their successes were largely short-lived. These approaches often miss the mark, because they force banter, but it is deeper human connection and shared culture that individuals really want. As Rita Ramakrishnan, head of people and talent at Cadre put it, “the single greatest indicator of retention and engagement is whether you have a best friend at work.”

Here are three mindsets to drive culture in a work-from-anywhere environment:

  1. Shift from an office-first to a remote-first mindset. In an office-first mindset, organizations helped culture along by offering amenities and decor that aligned with the culture they desired. And culture developed overtime through the events and gatherings that play out when everyone is in the building. Think welcome bagels, birthday lunches, and new parents stopping by with their babies. But work-from-anywhere requires a remote-first mindset. An often-overlooked aspect of remote workforces is that employees work and collaborate asynchronously. Sure, there are the Zoom calls, but the bulk of work, and communication, is happening asynchronously. This is especially true when teams span the globe.
  2. Be excessively intentional. It is not enough to think that the culture you want will develop naturally in a work-from-anywhere environment. Leaders need to be excessively intentional in their efforts to build the culture they want. Communicate until you annoy yourself, as VandeHei recommends. Build workflows and communication approaches that ensure everyone has equal access regardless of time zone or location. Create new remote-first cultural ties.
  3. Over invest in in-person experiences. It may seem counter intuitive, but remote-first organizations need to invest heavily in in-person gatherings. As Pamela Hinds and Brian Elliott wrote last year in Harvard Business Review, “plenty of research shows that our ability to connect meaningfully to others is less satisfying when we’re not physically present and that shared understanding is harder to establish and more likely to suffer from “drift” as we spend time apart. The absence of shared context, from body language to the type of snacks made available in the shared kitchen, dilutes these myriad of signals that convey culture.

Many companies lost their mooring when the pandemic hit. They went into triage mode, grasping onto the nearest video conferencing platform, and many have not reemerged. Now is the time to rethink your approach to culture.

We have more data on the impact the pandemic has had on our kids and their education and the results are disheartening.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) ran a special administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) long-term trend (LTT) reading and mathematics assessments for students who are 9 years old. Average scores declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics compared to 2020. This is the largest decline in reading in 30 years and the first ever decline in mathematics.

NAEP, sometimes called the “nation’s report card,” is a congressionally mandated program administered by the U.S. Department of Education.  It is the nation’s only ongoing, representative assessment of what students in different grades know and can do. The main NAEP is given to students who are in 4th, 8th, and 12th grade, whereas the LTT assessments are administered to students sampled by age.

The test results also showed greater score decreases for lower-performing students. For both math and reading, age 9 students showed steeper declines in the lowest percentiles. For example, for students in the 90th percentile, reading scores declined 2 points and math results declined 3 points. For students in the 10th percentile, reading scores were down 10 points and math scores were down 12 points.

The test results also show widening performance gaps between different subgroups of students. For example, those eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), a common proxy for poverty, saw reading scores fall 6 points, compared to 2 points for those not eligible for NSLP. Mathematic results fell 8 points for those eligible for NSLP compared to 5 points for those students who were not eligible for NSLP. The LTT had previously shown a gradual narrowing of achievement gaps between racial and ethnic groups. In this year’s data, the performance gap in mathematics widened sharply between white and African American students and white and Hispanic students, pointing to greater inequality.   

The pandemic has had a profound impact on every aspect of our lives, and education is clearly no exception. The new results are sure to add fuel to the already heated debate over how best to improve America’s schools and how to help our kids recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.

NCES will be releasing more data from the both the main NAEP and this LTT administration in the coming months.