Does Big Data gen­er­ate com­plex­i­ty and uncertainty?

Ran­dall P. White, Ph.D

Where is dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion tak­ing us? Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion is a tool and not a goal. Is there enough dis­cus­sion regard­ing what we want to achieve and where the dig­i­tal age should be head­ing? Or are we so over­whelmed by the result­ing com­plex­i­ty and uncer­tain­ty that most of us react with either agony, fear or anger? If the lat­ter out­come is the case, rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion seems to be an inevitable con­se­quence. Or is it?

Con­tin­u­ing with her series of Duet inter­views, Dr Cal­daro­la, author of Big Data and Law, and Prof. Ran­dall P. White, best-sell­ing author of sev­er­al busi­ness books and lead­er­ship expert, dis­cuss whether empow­er­ing empa­thy is a solu­tion for rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion and what “dig­i­tal” empa­thy could look like. They also con­sid­er how it could be prac­ticed in the mod­ern era of machines, quan­ti­ta­tive meth­ods as well as an increas­ing lack of imma­nent human inter­ac­tion due to today’s chal­lenges which now involve work­ing from home, hav­ing class­es at home, online shop­ping and similar.

The world is fac­ing two major changes: Glob­al­i­sa­tion – mean­ing var­i­ous cul­tures, habits, com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills that move us clos­er togeth­er – and dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion – mean­ing the increase of automa­tion, dig­i­tal devices, use and flows of data… This brings us com­plex­i­ty with regard to trans­paren­cy, shift­ing pow­er struc­tures etc.… Is this the uncer­tain­ty you exam­ined in your lat­est book Relax, It’s Only Uncer­tain­ty: Lead the way when the way is chang­ing?

Prof. Ran­dall P. White: That is a great ques­tion- and a fair one. When we took on the ques­tion of uncer­tain­ty in our book, we took it from any direc­tion, com­ing from any place about anything. 

There is an abbre­vi­a­tion that was intro­duced many years ago, called VUCA (volatile, uncer­tain, chaot­ic, ambigu­ous). The issue is we are liv­ing in a VUCA world that is cer­tain­ly volatile and uncer­tain and full of chaos and a lot of man­i­fold mean­ings. When Phil (Philip Hodg­son) and I were first think­ing of this and writ­ing about it, we had already writ­ten a book, The Future of Lead­er­ship: Rid­ing the Cor­po­rate Rapids Into the 21st Cen­tu­ry, and a lot of lead­ers – the women and men we inter­viewed – talked about the uncer­tain­ty they faced when they took over a senior lev­el posi­tion or the most senior posi­tion in an organ­i­sa­tion. They knew they could lead and that they had cer­tain capa­bil­i­ties, but they were faced with mak­ing choic­es on a scale, scope and lev­el that they hadn’t faced before. Phil had noticed this in his oth­er work, and this gave us the orig­i­nal idea for what we want­ed to study: uncer­tain­ty. I had also researched that issue in oth­er books, such as, Break­ing The Glass Ceil­ing: Can Women Reach The Top Of Amer­i­ca’s Largest Cor­po­ra­tions?

 What we noticed is that there were lev­els that peo­ple went through in their learn­ing dur­ing their organ­i­sa­tion­al life: At the first lev­el – when you first super­vise peo­ple – you learn that peo­ple are a prob­lem; at mid-lev­els you give up on tech­ni­cal mas­tery and you are get­ting in an area where you expe­ri­ence that some­thing is tac­ti­cal and some­thing is strate­gic but you have prob­lems dis­tin­guish­ing which is which and you expe­ri­ence that peo­ple do not want you in that posi­tion because they do not want you lead­ing them.

The tough­est tran­si­tion is becom­ing a senior exec­u­tive, where you have to be strate­gic and say where the organ­i­sa­tion is head­ing – espe­cial­ly in a chaot­ic envi­ron­ment. And you have to – and this is a big les­son – embrace uncer­tain­ty by run­ning towards it, not away from it. We fur­ther under­stand that you as the senior exec­u­tive can­not do this all by your­self; you need a team of com­mit­ted individuals.

I gave you all that pre­am­ble because you are ask­ing whether glob­al­i­sa­tion and the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion are either con­tribut­ing to the uncer­tain­ty or whether they are the uncer­tain­ty we are talk­ing about. Glob­al­i­sa­tion and the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion each stand sep­a­rate­ly as a source of uncer­tain­ty but also togeth­er cre­ate a whole class of uncer­tain­ty, some­thing that over 50 years ago when a leader took over a senior posi­tion had no idea about. And now these are phe­nom­e­na that a leader has to deal with. These are phe­nom­e­na that bring uncer­tain­ty and the unknown that a leader by neces­si­ty has to deal with. Glob­al­i­sa­tion and dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion make the uncer­tain­ty faster and more com­plex.

The indus­tri­al rev­o­lu­tion already cre­at­ed big changes with a lot of uncer­tain­ty, because dai­ly life changed, cul­tures came clos­er because of new mobil­i­ty…. And today we are fac­ing anoth­er big rev­o­lu­tion- we could even call it a sort of Indus­tri­al Rev­o­lu­tion 2.0- where dai­ly life will change again: with glob­al­i­sa­tion because dif­fer­ent eth­i­cal per­cep­tions move clos­er togeth­er and with dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion because automa­tion rais­es the ques­tion of the role of human beings in pri­vate as well as in work life. Take, for exam­ple, the new stores of Ama­zon, “Ama­zon Go”1 , with­out any cashiers, where you take prod­ucts reg­is­tered by video and sen­sors off the shelves of the super­mar­ket, put them in your shop­ping bag and where pay­ment is done auto­mat­i­cal­ly by deb­it­ing the Ama­zon account by hold­ing the mobile device equipped with the “Ama­zon to go App” at the entrance and exit. The sur­prise is that Ama­zon is say­ing that they will use the same amount of per­son­nel as before and that they will not get rid of them. The fear of human replace­ment by machines doesn’t seem to exist but I think it is there and we are not address­ing the prob­lem. I don’t think we’ve prop­er­ly explored the inter­ac­tion between machines and humans.

But let us look at the leader who needs to answer the ques­tion: Where do I see the future head­ing? And how is the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion in indus­try affect­ing the busi­ness and strat­e­gy that I want to accom­plish? That is a lot of uncer­tain­ty from a lot of dif­fer­ent directions.

So, when we wrote our book, we looked at uncer­tain­ty com­ing from any source. Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and glob­al­i­sa­tion are just two of many sources. But let us also look at the veloc­i­ty of change. We all can feel this veloc­i­ty. I won­der whether peo­ple can get used to that veloc­i­ty. I won­der whether peo­ple feel over­whelmed by the veloc­i­ty and the amount of change. So, the ques­tion is whether we can digest and feel okay with this amount and veloc­i­ty of change. This is an impor­tant ques­tion and I don’t pre­tend to know the answer.

If we acknowl­edge increas­ing com­plex­i­ty and uncer­tain­ty, then most psy­chol­o­gists could pre­dict the reac­tions of human beings: fear and anger because humans can­not deci­pher today’s com­plex­i­ty.  The chal­lenge for every one of us would be to bear the ambi­gu­i­ty of open ques­tions – even those that we can­not solve. Is that a cor­rect obser­va­tion or assumption?

I think that the human being is fear­ful of the unknown and we tend to run away from it and not towards it. I won­der whether the pan­dem­ic has exac­er­bat­ed the degree of the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion and I also won­der whether the pan­dem­ic opened a win­dow of oppor­tu­ni­ty for us to tune into the veloc­i­ty of change. Fur­ther­more, I am won­der­ing whether this is the moment we begin to try to imple­ment some of the con­cepts and ideas that have been out there for a while. We can say that we need change and that we need to try imple­ment­ing those con­cepts and ideas since we have noth­ing to lose because we can’t oper­ate as we did before. I think it is time to embrace the veloc­i­ty of change.

For human beings it is dif­fi­cult to cope with the veloc­i­ty. Let us take the exam­ple of trav­el­ing. There is the Indi­an wis­dom “We have to take a break from time to time and wait for our souls to catch up with us again”. I am get­ting ready for a long trip after hav­ing not trav­elled for many months due to the pan­dem­ic. My pro­fes­sion as con­sul­tant and pro­fes­sor required that I lived on an air­plane out of a suit­case. I learned to show up imme­di­ate­ly. I learned to be present imme­di­ate­ly. I would play lit­tle tricks on myself to be ready on Mon­day in Paris for teach­ing, the day after for con­sult­ing in anoth­er place etc. Although I have been trav­el­ling before and although I have been trav­el­ling so much, I am now full of anx­i­ety with regard to my next trip, full of feel­ing the uncertainty.

I am out of prac­tice! Deal­ing with uncer­tain­ty is not some­thing I think peo­ple do light­ly. I think we need to be pre­pared. I think we need to prac­tice. I think there are some things we need to be open and will­ing to do to run toward the uncer­tain­ty. So, if we need a break from time to time, that is an indi­ca­tion for not trav­el­ing often, that is a sign for our adap­ta­tion and that is the time we need to get pre­pared. I think I was pre­pared to deal with a cer­tain lev­el of uncer­tain­ty, but now that I haven’t trav­elled for a long time, I have regressed and I am out of prac­tice and I have to relearn.

To be sure, liv­ing in an inter­na­tion­al bub­ble cuts down the uncer­tain­ty because peo­ple in this bub­ble are sim­i­lar, the hotels and meet­ing places resem­ble each oth­er… So, in such a bub­ble one feels safe and that is a way of nav­i­gat­ing the uncer­tain­ty. Where­as when we trav­el as a sin­gle enti­ty, we do not have that sort of pro­tec­tion and then we tru­ly enter into anoth­er cul­ture, anoth­er bub­ble… and we face the dif­fer­ence, the unfa­mil­iar, the chal­lenge, the need to explore dif­fer­ent handling…

I believe that the idea of glob­al­i­sa­tion and dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion accel­er­ates the veloc­i­ty of change and I won­der if we have knocked down some of the nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring bar­ri­ers in some way so that we are cre­at­ing a dif­fer­ent kind of bub­ble that allows us to move very quick­ly and allows us to cre­ate a dif­fer­ent space.

So, we no longer per­ceive of France, Great Britain or Chi­na as coun­tries. Instead, we cre­ate oth­er bub­bles, sort of affin­i­ty groups or idea groups or cor­po­rate set­tings. Con­tin­u­ing in this direc­tion, cer­tain states and bor­ders, groups and beliefs don’t mean as much as before and that is the way we nav­i­gate the uncer­tain­ty by find­ing human beings who agree with us. As a result, we might have ecosys­tems – bub­bles – like Face­book, Ama­zon, Apple… where peo­ple need to decide to which bub­ble, they want to belong. We dis­tin­guish between the word cul­ture with a cap­i­tal C or a small c. The bub­ble with the cap­i­tal C of Cul­ture are the exist­ing nations, where­as the bub­bles with a small c are the cul­tures of the dig­i­tal ecosys­tems. There­fore, the cap­i­tal C Cul­ture is falling away and will be replaced by the cul­tures with the small c.

Dig­i­tal plat­forms and com­mu­ni­ties will help us in cre­at­ing these new cul­tures, bub­bles… And that helps me to nav­i­gate the uncer­tain­ty I face in the world around me. That means, if I face some kind of dis­con­ti­nu­ity and the uncer­tain­ty it brings, then I might turn to a Face­book spe­cial group. And that becomes my cul­tur­al ref­er­ence. It scares me to lose the old cul­tur­al val­ues, but they do fall by the way­side – and now I am aging myself by admit­ting that there is a part of me that does not want to lose these cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences. There is a dis­cus­sion about these cor­po­rate actors of the ecosys­tems tak­ing so much space and hav­ing so few com­peti­tors. They are cre­at­ing “the only game in town”. More con­trol leads to a nar­row­er out­look and a devel­op­ment which is not as broad as it once was.

If we fur­ther recog­nise fear, anger, hate and low self-esteem as being a reac­tion to the cur­rent com­plex­i­ty and uncer­tain­ty, then the “auto­mat­ic” and inevitable reac­tion is rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion; Is rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion the most prob­a­ble reac­tion? Can we observe an increase in rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion with the emer­gence of glob­al­i­sa­tion and digitalisation?

Rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion sim­pli­fies the com­plex­i­ty and uncer­tain­ty by shrink­ing pos­si­ble answers to just a small num­ber of answers (for or against, right wing or left wing, pro and contra…).

If I am self-con­fi­dent, self-reliant and self-suf­fi­cient as an indi­vid­ual, and, as I face uncer­tain­ty, I am will­ing to have a debate in a het­ero­ge­neous group and I am will­ing to explore shades, nuances, details… But if I don’t feel secure enough to lis­ten to anoth­er opin­ion or solu­tion then I am drawn to a par­tic­u­lar view or an affin­i­ty group that gives me the feel­ing of being attached to some­thing that is big­ger than I am. And the dig­i­tal plat­forms give me much more and eas­i­er oppor­tu­ni­ties and space to find fol­low­ers than if I am out in the world with­out these dig­i­tal con­nec­tions in this glob­alised world try­ing to phys­i­cal­ly meet peo­ple. It would take me far more effort, far more poten­cy to attract those fol­low­ers around the world.

It is a ques­tion of het­ero­gene­ity and homo­gene­ity. Since the 1980s in the lead­er­ship lit­er­a­ture, you see var­i­ous researchers enter­tain­ing the idea of het­ero­gene­ity. Human beings, how­ev­er, enjoy being homoge­nous – espe­cial­ly in group work – cloning them­selves because it is easy; it is easy to estab­lish trust, there is low con­flict… Het­ero­gene­ity leads to var­i­ous ideas, requires a longer time to decide on some­thing, pro­duces con­flict and chal­lenges trust.

Rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion gives room for sects, cults and extrem­ists to devel­op although I have to admit that I do not know the lit­er­a­ture on cult-like behav­iour. There is a soci­ol­o­gy called Mil­lenar­i­an Move­ment. These are move­ments that promise some deliv­er­ance at some lat­er point in time – they are cults but a dif­fer­ent kind of cult – and it is inter­est­ing that some of the groups that I’m think­ing about seem to want fol­low­ers, and you begin to be sucked into these groups because they give you a sense of belong­ing, poten­cy and a sense of being part of some­thing that is big­ger than you. They give you a sim­ple answer to a com­plex set of prob­lems that are full of uncer­tain­ty and confusion.

Rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion sim­pli­fies the com­plex­i­ty by shrink­ing the many pos­si­ble answers to just a small num­ber of answers (for or against). In addi­tion, alleged debates in affin­i­ty groups are most of the time rarely based on knowl­edge and facts but rather on opin­ions (likes and dis­likes). Fur­ther­more, the role of sci­ence is trashed (Agno­tol­ogy) because sci­ence is an iter­a­tive process and actu­al­ly explores uncer­tain­ty – answers change as we test and reject hypothe­ses. The affin­i­ty groups do not change their mind and they trash sci­ence and the role of experts because they do not want to wait for an answer. They reject the uncer­tain­ty that comes with hypoth­e­sis testing.

My opin­ion is:

“It is time to embrace the veloc­i­ty of change. Uncer­tain­ty is what makes the world go round. Uncer­tain­ty is the way we make progress, the way that inven­tions come to pass, and it is the new and nov­el: It is to be embraced!”

Prof. Ran­dall P. White

We are not run­ning towards it but we are run­ning away from it. We avoid adven­tures because there is the fear of doing some­thing wrong, get­ting a wrong answer or mak­ing a mis­take – but it is part of the game to do some­thing wrong.

Often there isn’t a cul­ture of fail­ure because we fol­low the mer­it prin­ci­ple. There is an attempt to incor­po­rate fault tol­er­ance in schools, work, organ­i­sa­tion, and this attempt is grow­ing. It is true that chil­dren before they start school are curi­ous, and attempt to learn and to improve, try­ing again and again to learn how to walk, for exam­ple, ear­ly in life ask­ing ques­tion after ques­tion (an aver­age of 250 ques­tions a day which decreas­es to 50 by the age of 11 or 12). We train scep­tics, in our for­mal edu­ca­tion, so that when you come up with a new idea or a new approach, we show you three things that are wrong with your approach ver­sus three things that are right with your idea or approach. We have many ways to eat at a person’s self-con­fi­dence and indi­vid­u­al­i­ty. Fur­ther­more, there is a lot of con­for­mi­ty because with con­for­mi­ty I am part of a larg­er group that gives me my ideas, which are a direct response to uncer­tain­ty. There is con­cern because there seems to be less and less inde­pen­dent think­ing and less and less abil­i­ty to judge in the flood of infor­ma­tion and trashed sci­ence. We need to frame uncer­tain­ty as a good thing, some­thing to be embraced and train our­selves to engage in learn­ing and chal­leng­ing each other.

If we fur­ther admit that rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion is on the rise, what tools are avail­able to us to fight this trend? Trust? Edu­ca­tion? If so, who is able to train peo­ple to con­sid­er open ques­tions that most of us can­not decipher?

What I per­ceive to be hap­pen­ing on the dig­i­tal plat­forms is that they pro­vide sim­ple answers to com­plex prob­lems of uncer­tain­ty and they do not pro­vide for review, cura­tion, learn­ing and feedback.

We need thinkers who think broad­ly, we need lead­ers who think from a vari­ety of direc­tions, points of view ‑and I do not want us to lose the oppor­tu­ni­ty and the impor­tance of debate for explo­ration and try­ing to come up with bet­ter solu­tions. We are lack­ing lib­er­al arts edu­ca­tion, we lack vari­ety, we lack diver­si­ty and debate and once I turn to or am drawn to a spe­cial group in an ecosys­tem and those groups start telling me things that I do not ques­tion, I find ready-made answers that I believe and accept. Then, I become a believ­er of some­thing that might or might not be true. There are no debates, there is less and less crit­i­cal judge­ment which is need­ed to nav­i­gate the huge amount of infor­ma­tion avail­able; we are not lis­ten­ing to each other.

A good leader embraces the uncer­tain­ty, is not afraid to ask ques­tions, admits that s/he does not have the answer and invites oth­ers from dif­fer­ent back­grounds and per­spec­tives to sit togeth­er and debate pos­si­ble solu­tions. This is deliv­ered by a lib­er­al arts education.

We know from authors like Don­ald Ham­brick and Ran­dall Peter­son that het­ero­gene­ity in groups increas­es the time it takes for deci­sion-mak­ing which comes off as counter-pro­duc­tive in the dig­i­tal era where the veloc­i­ty I was talk­ing about is increas­ing. Isn’t it inter­est­ing that as het­ero­gene­ity goes up, trust goes down in groups, and con­flict increas­es? We know from the research of Tere­sa Ama­bile and oth­ers that het­ero­gene­ity does not guar­an­tee inno­v­a­tive solu­tions. So, it is not that easy to cope with uncer­tain­ty by putting togeth­er a het­ero­ge­neous group to find a good solu­tion. Het­ero­gene­ity only increas­es the like­li­hood of find­ing that solu­tion. True het­ero­gene­ity would appre­ci­ate the var­i­ous dif­fer­ences in thoughts and stand­points around the table and encour­age an open debate.

We need to learn to have debates involv­ing het­ero­ge­neous par­tic­i­pants. So, the ques­tion is: How do we cre­ate a space where peo­ple can learn to be more self-reliant, more self-con­fi­dent, more potent and more able to have their own view, where they are chal­lenged by oth­er views and don’t fall into line just because they get an easy answer- a space where peo­ple don’t con­fuse dis­agree­ment (het­ero­gene­ity) with not being loved or not belong­ing to a group. The ques­tion, then, needs to be asked: How do we pre­vent giv­ing room to sects and cults in times of uncer­tain­ty? This is espe­cial­ly dif­fi­cult if there is a lack of broad-based lib­er­al arts edu­ca­tion where we are taught the fun­da­men­tal ideas of chal­leng­ing ortho­doxy, lis­ten­ing, and build­ing on one another’s ideas which all fos­ter a cul­ture of debate… I’m think­ing par­tic­u­lar­ly about de Tocqueville’s Democ­ra­cy in Amer­i­ca and his con­clu­sion that wide access to edu­ca­tion is the key to pre­serv­ing demo­c­ra­t­ic ideas.

How about empa­thy? Can empa­thy and emo­tion be a way to reduce radicalisation?

Empa­thy is a West­ern ide­al, and I believe empa­thy is one of the main EQ com­pe­ten­cies for any leader. In this con­text, empa­thy means to be able to walk a mile in some­one else’s shoes. It is the secret to cross-Cul­tures with a cap­i­tal C. I might not speak the oth­er lan­guage, but I might be able to inter­act and com­mu­ni­cate at a lev­el that allows me to make some sort of connection.

The prob­lem that I note is that affin­i­ty groups aren’t very empa­thet­ic- espe­cial­ly towards oth­ers who do not share their point of view. Most peo­ple try to get rid of the peo­ple who have dif­fer­ent ideas so a homo­ge­neous group comes into existence.

We have often thought, as we debate or argue or try to find the best solu­tion, that we need to lis­ten and build on one another’s idea. We even prac­tice empa­thy when we dis­agree and take the prob­lem from their point of view.

I think the world has already done this a few times and I find that thought a scary one at this point and that is why in my class­room I have tried with all my might to show that uncer­tain­ty needs to be embraced. The num­ber of places and debates which fos­ter this sort of think­ing is get­ting small­er. Whether dig­i­tal plat­forms will serve as “trust cen­tres” or whether gov­ern­ments and big reg­u­la­tors will try to break them apart, much as hap­pened ear­ly in the 20th cen­tu­ry with the large oil com­pa­nies, I just don’t know. Fur­ther­more, if we break them, what will happen?

What I do know is that we need to encour­age peo­ple to embrace the uncer­tain­ty. We are fright­ened about what we do not know. Uncer­tain­ty rep­re­sents what we do not know and our basic needs of comfort/protection/acceptance/love can seem at odds when faced with uncertainty.

Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion gives peo­ple access to infor­ma­tion – a lot of infor­ma­tion- but para­dox­i­cal­ly, it does increase uncer­tain­ty and peo­ple dis­ap­pear in these cult-like groups that give them sim­ple answers. Maybe our human tech­nol­o­gy has not caught up with our machine-based tech­nol­o­gy to digest the infor­ma­tion flood and there is not a lot of emo­tion in those machines when we embrace the uncer­tain­ty and solve a prob­lem togeth­er. I do not know what abil­i­ty in par­tic­u­lar cap­tures the imag­i­na­tion of fol­low­ers, whether it is the charis­ma of a leader or some­thing else, but what I do know is that a leader needs the abil­i­ty to com­mu­ni­cate sim­ply- but with­out giv­ing sim­ple answers.

Empa­thy requires observ­ing how the per­son vis-à-vis to us feels by using our dif­fer­ent sens­es. How can we estab­lish “dig­i­tal empa­thy” in times of work­ing and hav­ing school at home which has result­ed in reduced human inter­ac­tions due to the pan­dem­ic? Any ideas?

I think dur­ing the pan­dem­ic when we have been forced into cap­sule-like envi­ron­ments, peo­ple have been exper­i­ment­ing with var­i­ous human tech­niques to check in with oth­ers on their teams or in their class­rooms. We need to con­tin­ue to fig­ure out these tech­niques for estab­lish­ing con­nec­tion and empa­thy as we go for­ward. We should be col­lect­ing exam­ples of these tech­niques and inter­ven­tions so that they become more wide­ly used and study which ones are most effec­tive in cre­at­ing deep and mean­ing­ful interactions.

Randy, thank you so much for shar­ing your opin­ion, your thoughts and your view on uncer­tain­ty, rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion and empa­thy in the dig­i­tal age.

Thank you, Cristi­na, and I look for­ward to read­ing your upcom­ing inter­views with rec­og­nized experts, delv­ing even deep­er into this fas­ci­nat­ing topic.

1 https://​www​.ama​zon​.com/​b​?​i​e​=​U​T​F​8​&​n​o​d​e​=​1​6​0​0​8​5​8​9​011

About me and my guest

Dr Maria Cristina Caldarola

Dr Maria Cristina Caldarola, LL.M., MBA is the host of “Duet Interviews”, co-founder and CEO of CU³IC UG, a consultancy specialising in systematic approaches to innovation, such as algorithmic IP data analysis and cross-industry search for innovation solutions.

Cristina is a well-regarded legal expert in licensing, patents, trademarks, domains, software, data protection, cloud, big data, digital eco-systems and industry 4.0.

A TRIUM MBA, Cristina is also a frequent keynote speaker, a lecturer at St. Gallen, and the co-author of the recently published Big Data and Law now available in English, German and Mandarin editions.

Randall P. White, Ph.D

Randall P. White, Ph.D., is head of the leadership program in the English modular eMBA at HEC and co-head of leadership in TRIUM. Dr White has taught at the Johnson School of Business, Cornell University and at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. He is the founding partner of Executive Development Group LLC, a high-end firm specialising in leadership development and regularly works with C-suite executives from large global organisations.
In 1987, Prof. White co-authored the best-selling business book, Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Can Women Reach the Top of America's Largest Corporations? He has co-authored a number of books including The Future of Leadership: Riding the Corporate Rapids into the 21st Century (1996) as well as Four Essential Ways That Coaching Can Help Executives in 1998 and Relax, It's Only Uncertainty in 2001, which culminated in the development of Ambiguity Architect, a 360° assessment that measures the ability to cope with uncertainty. A revised edition of Relax was released in 2020. In 2009, he contributed a key chapter to The Perils of Accentuating the Positive, challenging the strengths-based leadership movement.
Prof. White earned a B.A. from Georgetown University, an M.S. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Cornell University. As past president of the Society of Consulting Psychology (SCP), Division 13, a Fellow in Divisions 1 and 13 of APA, a Lifetime Fellow of the American Psychological Society, and a Salzburg Fellow on Women’s Issues, Prof. White has continually participated in the advancement of consulting psychology for leadership development. He was awarded Division 13’s highest honour of the RHR International Award for Excellence in Consultation. He currently serves as APA’s Chair of the Council Leadership Team.

Dr Maria Cristina Caldarola

Dr Maria Cristina Caldarola, LL.M., MBA is the host of “Duet Interviews”, co-founder and CEO of CU³IC UG, a consultancy specialising in systematic approaches to innovation, such as algorithmic IP data analysis and cross-industry search for innovation solutions.

Cristina is a well-regarded legal expert in licensing, patents, trademarks, domains, software, data protection, cloud, big data, digital eco-systems and industry 4.0.

A TRIUM MBA, Cristina is also a frequent keynote speaker, a lecturer at St. Gallen, and the co-author of the recently published Big Data and Law now available in English, German and Mandarin editions.