Robotics and Automation

This keynote session, “Robotic Process & Cognitive Automation – the Next Phase”, is presented by Leslie Willcocks, Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science and the Digital Disruption Research Group (DDRG) and Sydney Business Insights (SBI). The session will draw upon three years of research into automation and the future of work by Leslie Willcocks and Mary Lacity. The research covers multiple industries, applications, and shared services, and uses case studies to establish action principles that mitigate automation risks. The presentation will draw upon multiple real-life cases of automation being used in a range of organisations.

Professor Leslie P. Willcocks
Leslie P. Willcocks is Professor in Technology Work and Globalization at the Department of Management at London School of Economics and Political Science

Leslie will focus on an update on robotic process automation adoptions – success factors, risks and challenges. He will also talk through examples of robotic process automation (RPA) and cognitive automation being used together. He will provide examples of more advanced cognitive automation – based on machine learning, data visualisation technologies, natural language processing, and fast powerful computing – which is still an immature market but is experiencing exponential growth that will stretch over the next five years. He points out both the power and the distinctive challenges in deploying such technologies, and points to distinctive emerging management practices needed to gain significant business value from investments in service automation technologies.

Finally, in this and later discussion, Leslie tackles popular misconceptions regarding the threat of automation to the job market. He will discuss how future net job loss as a result of automation is much overstated, and will present a more nuanced and complex picture of the role of automation at the individual, organisational, and macro levels in the major economies, and how automation can be progressed.

11 May 2018, (9:00-12pm), Sydney CBD, coffee and refreshments will be provided (registration is now closed).

9:00 – Guests arrive
9:15 – Welcome
9:20 – Leslie Willcocks Keynote “Robotic Process & Cognitive Automation – the Next Phase”
10:15 – Coffee break
10:45 – Panel Discussion with Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights), Kai Riemer (DDRG, The University of Sydney), Leslie Willcocks (LSE), Fiona McLean (Social Index)
11:30 – Leslie Willcocks “Automation, skills and the Future of Work: myths and realities”
12:00 – Session closes

A limited number of signed copies of the forthcoming book Robotic Process and Cognitive Automation: The Next Phase will be available on the day at 30% discount (cash only). The book can also be ordered online  from

The Digital Disruption Research Group (DDRG) brings together colleagues from academia and industry who share an interest in the wider topic area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and change.

Sydney Business Insights is a University of Sydney Business School initiative aiming to provide the business community and public, including our students, alumni and partners with a deeper understanding of major issues and trends around the future of business.