Karim Lakhani on HBR Ideacast: Blockchain — What You Need to Know

Andrew Young — July 14, 2017

In a recent edition of Harvard Business Review’s Ideacast podcast, Karim Lakhani discusses how blockchain works and its likely impact on industry and other sectors. The 20-minute podcast features Lakhani in conversation with HBR editor Sarah Green Carcmichael, and is available on Soundcloud, iTunes, among other outlets.

In response to a question on blockchain currently being in its “dial-up modem” days, Lakhani predicts a rapid uptake of blockchain-enabled activities, and calls for greater experimentation to see what blockchain can achieve across a variety of use cases:

“…[T]he uptake I predict will be faster than will be had in the last world wide web revolution, or even the mobile phone revolution.

What that means for managers then is that the time to experiment is now. What you want to do is make a bunch of bets, make some small investments so that you can learn. I bet you for senior executives that are listening, there’s a bubbling up of energy within their organizations amongst their IT groups, amongst their innovation groups, amongst the marketing groups.

Let’s do something with Blockchain. Let’s do something with Blockchain. You should help finance that. You should help fund that. Give them the space and the room to experiment and learn from that. So I think that’s the first thing you should do. And then as the prototypes get built, you might see, oh, this is promising. Let’s actually go after that.

As much as there is going to be a technological burden, there will also be an organizational burden. You’ll have to change your processes. You have to change your organizations to best adapt to what the technology offers you. There’s a lot of worry and anxiety about Blockchain. It’s viewed as this scary “woowoo” esoteric technology.

I’d encourage you to not be scared, to embrace it, to learn it. Start experimentation, encourage your staff to go after this and figure things out. Build up prototypes that will be applicable to the organization. I think that’s the key lesson for all of us around these kinds of technologies.”

Listen and view the transcript here