The more we rely on technology to make us efficient, the fewer skills we have to confront the unexpected. On Wednesday, April 27, we welcomed writer and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan. She shared why we need less technology and more messy human skills to solve problems in an unpredictable age. "Efficiency works really well when you can predict exactly what you're going to need, but when the anomalous or unexpected comes along... well, then efficiency is no longer your friend," she says. "In an environment that defies so much forecasting, efficiency won't just not help us, it specifically undermines and erodes our capacity to adapt and respond."
Margaret Heffernan was born in Texas, grew up in the Netherlands, and was educated at Cambridge University. She produced drama and documentary programs for the BBC for 13 years, then moved back to the US where she became a serial entrepreneur and CEO in the early days of the internet. All of Heffernan's work challenges accepted wisdom about good lives and good work. Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril, named one of the most important business books of the decade by the Financial Times, looked at how our most cherished beliefs, behaviors, and rules blind us to what matters most. In 2015, she was awarded the Transmission Prize for A Bigger Prize: How We Can Do Better than the Competition, a book that upended the idea that competition forces the best to the top, arguing that it mostly proves wasteful and destructive where collaboration is more sustainable and creative.