Boardroom briefing: Dumb Things, nostalgia bad for business, and lateral phishing


The dumb things we do, thinking that the past is always better could be terrible for your business, and the dangers of lateral phishing.

Deloitte’s Pete Williams holds forth at Innovation PNG 2019

What dumb things do you do in your business? Pete Williams of Deloitte’s Centre for the Edge, talking at last week’s Innovation PNG 2019 Conference in Port Moresby, shared an innovation from his own office in Melbourne that got us thinking.

Every quarter, they have a Dumb Things meeting. The meeting encourages his team to identify the dumb things they do every day, no matter how simple, that could and should be fixed if only someone gave it some attention and thought of a solution.

The example he gave was deciding to print documents double-sided instead of single-sided. This simple measure saves his company a staggering AUD$250,000 (K580,000) a year.

To Williams, a frequent visitor to PNG, PNG’s Dumb Thing is queueing: ‘Why are people standing in queues staring at their phones – the very tools that could remove the queue?’ he asked.

Businesses shouldn’t be stuck in the past

With Papua New Guinea hoping to become an innovation nation, here is some food for thought for those who still think the good old days were better.

If you are yearning for the past because things were simpler or because there weren’t so many mobile phones around, here is something for you: nostalgia is terrible for your business, according to SmartCompany’s Ian Whitworth.

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‘No business has a right to survive forever in its current state.

‘Your business antennae need to be switched on at all times for new opportunities.

‘The business world now is jumping with new fun ways to change how you do things.

‘Don’t fall into the trap of thinking all great new ideas have to be tech-based.’

Whitworth also mentions that millenialphobics should stop considering young people a threat, and that there is no age limit for being forward-thinking because people of every age can adapt.

So embrace innovation and stop thinking about the past.

Lateral phishing

Better and faster internet also means better and cleverer ways of phishing, and with PNG on the verge of an internet revolution, it is time to make sure everyone in your organisation knows what these threats look like.

Researchers from the Data Science Institute at Columbia University analysed over 100 million emails from 100 companies to gather data about lateral phishing, ‘scams targeting users from compromised email accounts within an organisation’. These cyber attacks resulted in over US$12 billion in losses between 2013 and 2018 – and the researchers found that in the last two years these attacks have caused a 136 per cent increase in losses.

In the past, phishing usually came from email accounts external to businesses. Now, however, the attacks are coming from within the organisations, which means hackers are using company email accounts and tailoring content to guarantee employees will open those emails (and click on those links). So, what can you do to avoid these cyber crimes?

Talk to your employees. Make sure they understand that hackers are tailoring content and may use known email accounts to steal information.


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