Blockchain, disruption and changing talent needs

Blockchain, disruption and changing talent needs

By Yanouk Poirier Partner and Global practice Leader for the technology, Media & Telecoms group

Yanouk Poirier and Michael Zinn of Penrhyn International’s TMT practice group explain how the application of blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt business models across many industries.

This report also includes a Q&A with security, technology and business strategy expert Gilbert Verdian, who discusses with TMT group member David Goldstone the transformative power of the blockchain on the banking sector.

Understanding the disruptive potential of the blockchain and what it means for business.

Key takeaways

  • Blockchain technology is on course to change the way that every sector in the world economy does business.
  • Blockchain cuts out middlemen in complex processes and transactions.
  • This technology has the potential to improve the efficiency and security of transactions, simplify compliance and ensure privacy and anonymity.
  • Executives facing this new reality will require core competencies in leadership, change management, digital comprehension, innovative thinking and continuous improvement, along with entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Values such as curiosity, openness to others, being brave in challenging how things are done, collaboration, adaptability and agility will need to be integrated into the workforce for an organization to respond and succeed.

A shifting global political landscape and constantly evolving technology are transforming industries around the world. The financial services sector is no exception. Not only has it faced widespread change and upheaval over the past decade, but it must now adapt to, and embrace, the disruptive potential of fintech.

Technology and talent

In this rapidly evolving and innovative environment, it is vital for companies in the financial sector to review their business models. Trust and transparency will be critical to this. Finding the right people to lead businesses through this period of transformation and harness the potential of fintech to drive growth and innovation are hot topics in the sector. In particular, the potential application of blockchain technology is creating a huge buzz across the financial services community, as well as in a range of other sectors.

Originally developed through the creation of the first digital cryptocurrency known as bitcoin, new uses for the technology are being discovered in a variety of other industries such as law and real estate.

Defining blockchain technology?

There is growing awareness of the potentially transformative power of the blockchain, a digital database that stores, manages and transmits a growing list of records known as blocks.

Each block contains a timestamp and is linked to a previous block. A blockchain is usually managed by a peer-to-peer network, which follows a protocol for authorising new blocks. Accessible and easily distributed, a blockchain is cryptographically secure and impervious to modification and corruption. It serves as a historical record for all transactions, providing proof of who has owned what at any time, from the genesis block to the latest block, hence the name.

The blockchain is usually thought of as a secure repository of common knowledge. BlockchainFrance, for example, describes it as a “very large notebook, which everyone can read freely, at no cost, on which everyone can write, which is impossible to erase and indestructible”.

Reshaping industries

As explained in our Q&A with Gilbert Verdian in this report, over the past two years blockchain technology has attracted huge investment and experimentation around the world and across a diverse range of sectors.

Applications being explored include tracking the ownership of cars and property, updating medical records and use in cloud computing. This technology has the potential to change the way that every sector in the world economy does business and the interactions between customers, vendors and employees. Many current business models will need to be re-evaluated to prepare for this disruption and for the inevitable eruption of new businesses created by visionaries and entrepreneurs.

Blockchain technology is set to create new opportunities and reshape business models in a similar way that social media and technology have transformed and disrupted industries and changed the way we interact with the world by bringing us smartphones and companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google.

Financial transactions

The financial services industry’s particular interest in blockchain technology lies in its potential to improve the efficiency and security of transactions, simplify compliance and ensure privacy and anonymity. For example, it will allow ‘smart contracts’ to be created algorithmically.

While blockchain technology may not automatically or directly make existing companies more money, the ability to immediately and securely transfer or exchange funds creates opportunities for others to create businesses that may not have been possible previously because of limitations and time lags built into legacy systems.


Yanouk Poirier is global lead for technology, media and telecoms at executive search firm Penrhyn International, and managing partner at Leaders International, Penrhyn International’s member firm in Canada. He can be reached at or for more information, visit or

Original article is available here: Blockchain, disruption and changing talent needs

Leaders International