News & Articles

Robo-Apocalypse cancelled?
Reframing the automation and future of work debate

Robotics and the automation of knowledge work, often referred to as AI (artificial intelligence), are presented in the media as likely to have massive impacts, for better or worse, on jobs skills, organizations and society. The article deconstructs the dominant hype-and-fear narrative. Claims on net job loss emerge as exaggerated, but there will be considerable skills disruption and change in the major global economies over the next 12 years. The term AI has been hijacked, in order to suggest much more going on technologically than can be the case. The article reviews critically the research evidence so far, including the author’s own, pointing to eight major qualifiers to the dominant discourse of major net job loss from a seamless, overwhelming AI wave sweeping fast through the major economies. The article questions many assumptions: that automation creates few jobs short or long term; that whole jobs can be automated; that the technology is perfectible; that organizations can seamlessly and quickly deploy AI; that humans are machines that can be replicated; and that it is politically, socially and economically feasible to apply these technologies. A major omission in all studies is factoring in dramatic increases in the amount of work to be done. Adding in ageing populations, productivity gaps and skills shortages predicted across many G20 countries, the danger might be too little, rather than too much labour. The article concludes that, if there is going to be a Robo-Apocalypse, this will be from a collective failure to adjust to skills change over the next 12 years. But the debate needs to be widened to the impact of eight other technologies that AI insufficiently represents in the popular imagination and that, in combination, could cause a techno-apocalypse.

Establishing Digital Maturity

Digital Maturity

For most organizations well into their automation journey, understanding how they compare to their peers and how to address their weaknesses is critically important. On this podcast, Brad Hairston talks with Dr. Leslie Willcocks, professor at London School of Economics, and Darshan Jain, Head of Financial Services at Blue Prism, who explain how they have collaborated on a digital maturity assessment to address this need.

Listen to the podcast HERE...

Greater automation is coming but it will not drive unemployment in Europe

Automation will destroy 12 million jobs in Europe's five largest economies by 2040, according to a new forecast by IT analyst company Forrester. But instead of driving unemployment, this will help companies withstand a decline in the working-age population, Forrester predicts, and will be counterbalanced by the creation of new green and digital jobs. Other experts broadly agree with Forrester's forecast, but warn that the impact of technology on employment is especially difficult to predict.

by Peter Sawyer, Tech Monitor


Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Automation

If you're looking to incorporate new marketing strategies into your business or improve on your existing ones, social media is one thing you should certainly prioritise. Hootsuite’s report found that social media users have increased by more than 13% over the past year, meaning there is now 4.2 billion active users across the world. Users in the UK spend an average of 1 hour and 49 minutes a day on social media, which is more than half the global average (2 hours and 25 minutes).

To succeed at social media marketing, however, you have to post consistently. If you go weeks without posting anything, your content will be buried under the billions of other accounts that are generated daily. As such, plenty of businesses turn to social media automation tools to calendar their posts.

But much like any tool, there’s a right way to use them. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts:

ISG Smartalks - Expert Views from Automation's Front Lines

Leslie Willcocks is a professor of technology, work and globalisation at LSE. His forthcoming book is Global Business Strategy In Context. This will be available from

Covid-19: Business must get ready for the new abnormal

Future scenarios research uncovers six major trends that accelerated during the pandemic

Leslie Willcocks is a professor of technology, work and globalisation at LSE. His forthcoming book is Global Business Strategy In Context. This will be available from


Strategy seeks to answer three fundamental
long-term questions ...

With the Customfoner in Mind: Becoming Strategic With Robotic Process Automation

By Dr Leslie Willcocks, Professor, Department of Management, London School of Economics & Political Science, Dr John Hindle, Managing Partner, Knowledge Capital Partners; Dr Mary Lacity, Professor, Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas.

FOCUS: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Your guide to the hottest trend in data analytics and business applications -

And the winner is ...

We are thrilled to be the recipients of the 2019 Association of Information Systems Outreach Practice Publication Award.

The AIS Outreach Practice Publication Award was created to recognize members who successfully transfer research to practitioner audiences in practice-based publications.

Scaling your RPA
(ML-UiPath Webinar) 2018

Mary Lacity interviewed for the UiPath Webinar follow this link to the video. LEARN MORE...

LSE Service Automation Online Certificate Course

Over the course of six weeks, you’ll examine Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Cognitive Automation (CA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and how these technologies are changing the way businesses are seeking to increase productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction. You’ll also explore the ethical implications employers face as they prepare for the future of work, and consider how intelligent automation technologies can be applied for social good LEARN MORE...

Strategy and Robotic Process Automation – Time To Say Hello

Strategy is a much abused word in management, having a longer pedigree of hype than say… artificial intelligence. Strategy seeks to answer three fundamental questions for the organization: where are we now? Where do we want to be/must we be? And how do we get there? Enter robotic process automation (RPA). To become strategic, RPA needs to be significant in its impact on process improvement/change and business value, but also part of a larger automation and digital transformation plan tied to strategic business goals. LEARN MORE...

Hidden in plain sight: the ghost in the automation and future of work debate

Looking at the big picture it is not easy to pick your way through the media representations of the debate around automation, robots and the future of work. Sources and multiple studies are, in fact, very variable in quality, evidence and rigour. Nevertheless, media narratives seem to polarise around two storylines — hype or fear.“Hype” tells us that it is largely going to be fine and most of us are going to live in a well-run technologised world — “Automotopia” — with more than enough goods, services, and leisure... LEARN MORE...

The Future of Automation Free Expert Seminars

At a series of Free Seminars in August 2019, Professor Willcocks will outline how to take advantage of the next generation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), namely Intelligent Automation, and examine how RPA and Intelligent Automation are changing the workforce across the globe. LEARN MORE...

Blockchain for Business Conference 2019 University of Arkansas

The Center for Blockchain Excellence at the Sam M. Walton College of Business presents the Blockchain for Business Conference 2019.


Professor Leslie Willcocks Presentation DX Seminar November 18

Professor Leslie Willcocks from the London School of Economics discusses Robotic Transformation, the challenges to be faced by enterprises as a result of global skills shortages and the future of automation with Artificial Intelligence and Smart Technology. LEARN MORE...

Planning for the Human-Digital Workforce

The robots aren’t coming - In this webinar, Mary Lacity, Walton Professor of Information Systems and director of the Blockchain Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas, discusses how companies can achieve that triple win by thinking strategically, starting right, and institutionalizing fast. LEARN MORE...