Yaël Eisenstat image source: yaeleisenstat.com
I am part of the Strategic Foresight Team at Autodesk whose purpose is to assist the CEO and senior executives in developing and implementing company-level strategy to help Autodesk operate intentionally as an integrated, coordinated system. We envision how our customers will work in the future and then work backward to determine what steps our software needs to tale to get our customers there. Alternatively, we look at what our customers do today and project forward as to how those practices will improve over time. The focus of our team is to catalyze Autodesk's long-term thoughts about the industries we serve and synthesize stories that articulate those thoughts and place them in the context of company strategy. As part of Autodesk Research, we create stories about the future and help Autodesk make them come true.
One way to catalyze our thinking is to bring in external experts who have a different perspective and point of view.
As such, the Visiting Fellows program was established.
The Autodesk Visiting Fellows Program recruits senior-level, industry-shaping talent to help light the future path of Autodesk. Although fellows have rich sectoral expertise, they tend to focus on defining and pursuing cross-industry issues emerging at the intersection of our traditional markets and technologies. For example, construction, manufacturing, and media/entertainment are converging. This has implications for the future of work and artificial intelligence. How can Autodesk better serve its customers given this future?
I have mentioned some of our visiting fellows in previous blog posts:
- Applying his Naval experience, Commander TJ Kneale helped us consider solutions for Autodesk customers with maritime operations.
- Based on his Army experience of constructing runways under extreme conditions, Colonel Zachary Miller, helped us address infrastructure for cities of the future.
- As an expert economist, Marco Annunziata, helped us explore the economics associated with the future of work.
- Futurist and co-author of Trillions, Mickey McManus is helping us define what "better" means in terms of the future of making.
- Leveraging his vast Air Force background, Colonel Tim Spaulding, is helping us explore all possible avenues that can lead to innovation.
Our newest "fellow" is Yaël Eisenstat. (Actually, in this case, fellow is a member of any of certain learned societies.) Yaël will bring a completely unique perspective to Autodesk. She's spent 18 years working at the intersection of ethics, technology, security, and government policy. Yaël has served as an intelligence officer, a national security advisor to Vice President Biden, a diplomat, Facebook's Global Head of Elections Integrity Operations, a corporate social responsibility strategist at ExxonMobil, and the head of a global risk firm. She is currently also a policy advisor to the Center for Humane Technology, headed by Tristan Harris, and sits of the Council of Foreign Relations. Her work has appeared in publications like the New York Times, TIME, WIRED, Quartz, and The Huffington Post. Yaël has appeared on BBC World News, CNN, CBS News, PBS, and C-SPAN, in policy forums, and on a number of podcasts. Check out her latest WIRED article entitled "The Real Reasons Tech Struggles with Algorithmic Bias." Yaël was recognized by Forbes in 2017 by being included on the list of "40 Women to Watch Over 40." Her full bio and press pieces can be found on her website.
Please join me in welcoming Yaël to Autodesk. She will be helping us explore the future of work as well as how artificial intelligence factors into designing and making.
If an ethics/technology/security/policy expert like Yaël were visiting your place of business, what questions would you ask her?
Send your suggestions to [email protected]. Here's hoping your suggestions are jolly good for she's a jolly good fellow which nobody can deny.
Autodesk has always been an automation company. Today, more than ever, that means helping our customers automate their design and make processes. We help them embrace the future of making, where they can do more (e.g., efficiency, performance, quality), with less (e.g., energy, raw materials, time frames, waste of human potential), and realize the opportunity for better (e.g., innovation, user experience, return on investment). There are many paths to better. Autodesk Research explores them on behalf of Autodesk customers.
Fellowship is alive in the lab.