How looking at the computer games we play can predict the future


I occasionally compile interesting quotes. I was just adding one to my list today and I came across a gem I mined some years ago:

“Computer games don’t affect kids; I mean, if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music”.

– Kristian Wilson, Nintendo Inc, 1989

So perhaps all we need to do is to look at the computer games of today to predict the future… 🙂

Predictions for the future of the home and immersive technologies


Connected Home magazine’s January/ February issue has a feature article titled Beyond Tomorrow, based on a presentation I gave at the Influence conference on Six Trends that are Transforming Online (the link has some more detail on what I covered), followed by an interview with me. The intro reads:

“Techno ‘crystal ball gazers’ have got their predictions horribly wrong in the past, but this has not put off one commentator. Ross Dawson puts himself on the line talking to Paul Skelton about ‘immersive’ technology in the automated home of the future.”

Unfortunately the article is not on the web, so below are the parts of the article that directly quote me – the rest of article consists of anecdotes about futurists and references to specific current technologies that illustrate my ideas.

“Rather than dwelling on fantastical ideas, Future Exploration Network chairman Ross Dawson, the best-selling author of Living Networks and the award-winning Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, has made it his business to realistically predict how technology will affect our lives in the future.

Speaking in September at the Media Connect IT industry’s Influence Forum in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Ross said Internet protocol (IP) and home entertainment technology will become a much more immersive experience.

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We’re looking for an Extremely Talented Part-Time Office/ Events/ Digital Media Assistant in Sydney – please pass on!


This year looks set to be a very interesting – perhaps transitional – period for my organizations Future Exploration Network and Advanced Human Technologies. While they currently function as highly virtual firms with only a small core team, they may start to grow more as we do larger projects and also get involved in some online ventures. Our strategy is to largely hire people in part-time roles, which gives us access to a whole pool of students, parents, enterpreneurs, and deviants who find it hard to get stimulating and challenging work within their constraints, and keeps us fluid and flexible.

We’ll be advertising a couple more roles in the next little while. For now please pass on this ad to anyone who you think might be interested – thanks!

Extremely Talented Office/ Events/ Digital Media Assistant – Part-Time

Media | Internet | Strategy| Events | Future : Work in a boutique international firm in a highly diverse role including administration and using your talents

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Digg, DataPortability, and business models


Following my post last week on the DataPortability Working Group, Digg has just announced on its blog that it is joining it too. It says:

Want to sync your Digg friends network with another service? We want to help you do that.

Want to use your Digg activity to get recommendations from another web site? We’re working on that, too.

Digg already supports many of the open standards that let you use your data on sites other than Digg… We’ll be adding more open standards… in the coming months.

VentureBeat offers some interesting thoughts on what this might imply, including social network portability and targeted advertising models.

Just as important is the further momentum this adds to DataPortability. Mashable shows the results of a user survey on what people think about DataPortability, showing just under half think there are great results already. With Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and now many of the other relevant parties involved, it’s up to the Dataportability group to fulfil its promise. Knowing the people involved, their technical competence and their passion for doing this right, the odds are strongly stacked in favor of this significantly changing the online landscape this year. Internet business strategists will have to reconsider business models. And most importantly, as I wrote the other day, the real potential is to massively increase the value of the Net to all users.

2008 will be the year of Enterprise 2.0


This year will be when Enterprise 2.0 becomes firmly established. Different countries are at different stages of development and uptake, but the broad trend is clearly visible. This is not to say that at the end of this year all organizations will be using Web 2.0-style tools and approaches, however the momentum this year will become undeniable. We are already at the point where virtually all large organizations have some kind of recognized activities in the space, even if it’s just a department trialling a wiki. If we take into account unofficial activities, then we can say that all organizations are doing something. In all of my research and conversations with large organizations, it’s clear to me that the space is ripe to become

According to ReadWriteWeb, Forrester’s report Top Enterprise 2.0 Predictions for 2008 (a very expensive 8 page report) agrees, and suggests a few reasons why Web 2.0 tools will hit the mainstream this year.

First is that the geeks in IT are already playing with these fun tools on their own behalf, and that the visibility and the value will mean they are trialled more broadly in the organization.

Second is that so many employees are already using online applications and web tools because it’s easier than asking IT to get things done, so companies will prefer to offer them robust, secure applications rather than incur the risk of things not being done well.

Third is that using Web 2.0 tools demonstrates leadership and innovation, which among other benefits, attracts and retains talented staff.

The report emphasizes RSS as a key platform for Enterprise 2.0, and says that enterprise mashups will eat into existing markets including portals and search. Absolutely – what used to be difficult and expensive is becoming easy and inexpensive. Of course, that’s if it’s done well…

DataPortability looks set to massively increase the value of the Net to users


Over the last few weeks excitement has been mounting over the DataPortability movement, which has a mission of giving users control over their data. It brings together a range of existing initiatives, including APML, OpenID, RSS, and others to enable personal data to be shared between applications and vendors. The initiative is spearheaded by Chris Saad, with a broad global team involved, and rapidly growing membership of the group.

The latest hot news is that Microsoft is joining the DataPortability group. Other recent new participants include Facebook, LinkedIn and Flickr. Many of the big names in technology and other key social networking sites are believed to be on the verge of announcing their participation. Critical mass is essential for this kind of initiative; it now seems to have reached the point at which this is likely to become a true industry-wide initiative. The media attention DataPortability is getting, including from mainstream press such as the Financial Times, shows this is not just a geek thing.

Last year I wrote many times and about the trend to openness on the web, and the reinvigoration of the concept of infomediaries. Several commentators have suggested that DataPortability is one of the most important initiatives on the web for 2008. The issue is absolutely a defining one for where the information economy goes, and the momentum on the initiative just in the first month of the year suggests that the group will bring together the energy the community has in making data portable.

If we look at the really big picture of the Internet, a large part of what is holding back value to users is how applications are fragmenting people’s data and attention. Having true data portability would make the Net far easier to use and far more valuable to people. Just the last year or two has convinced me that people believe they should control their own data. The Net is inevitably going to follow those desires. It’s looking like DataPortability is going to be a central mechanism in this transformative shift in the online world.

Michael Pick has created a neat 2 minute video explaining the key concepts of DataPortability – see below.

DataPortability – Connect, Control, Share, Remix from Smashcut Media on Vimeo.

User Filtered Content (UFC) is what Web 2.0 is about… and Digg is a UFC site


At the Crunchy awards last week Digg was named best User Generated Content (UGC) site. As many people pointed out since then, Digg is in fact not a user generated content site, since the people don’t submit content to the site, but links to other sites.

Allen Stern suggests that Digg is a UGC aggregator. Josh Catone thinks that UGC is perfectly accurate for Digg.

Back in 2006 I posted the notes to my speech at the Influence conference on Web 2.0 and User Filtered Content, pointing out that Web 2.0 is largely about users collectively filtering content after they have generated it. Earlier in the year the content section of our Future of Media Strategic Framework showed how both media and users create and filter content. Creating and filtering content are different activities.


I think it’s well time that User Filtered Content comes into its own as a term, and isn’t confused with User Generated Content.

See our latest Trend Map! What to expect in 2008 and beyond….

By and Future Exploration Network have once again collaborated to create a trend map for 2008 and beyond.

Our Trend Map for 2007+ had a major impact, with over 40,000 downloads, fantastic feedback (“The World’s Best Trend Map. Ever.” “I got shivers” “Amazing” “Fascinating” “Magnifique” etc. etc.), and inspired several other trend maps including Information Architects’ first map of web trends.

While last year’s map was based on the London tube map, the 2008 map is derived from Shanghai’s underground routes. Limited to just five lines, the map uncovers key trends across Society, Politics, Demographics, Economy, and Technology.

Click on the map below to get the full pdf.


Trends mentioned in the map include:

Read more

Knowledge-centered support: Greg Oxton workshop in Sydney


I first caught up with Greg Oxton a few years ago while I was in San Francisco. It seemed like an obvious connection, as he runs the Consortium for Service Innovation, a group of very large organizations with significant service and support operations. Their focus on Knowledge-Centered Support overlaps with my idea of Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, and in the second edition of my book on the subject I referred to the very interesting work of a couple of their members.

Greg will be in Sydney on 20-21 February to speak at the Services Industry Best Practice Showcase and to run a one-day workshop on Knowledge-Centered Support. This material definitely represents leading global practice for service and support.

Podcast interview on social networks in business and Enterprise 2.0


I recently met Stan Relihan, having been introduced to him separately by Cameron Reilly of The Podcasting Network fame, leading tech journalist Brad Howarth, and also from further afield Charlene Hutt, one of the leading HR practitioners in Canada. The diverse introductions in themselves illustrate the deeply interconnected nature of social networks.

Stan is an executive recruiter, and also a keen student of and participant in social networks. He ranks in the top 50 most connected people on LinkedIn, with something in the order of 10,000 links, and has a great podcast series, The Connections Show, focusing on the business value of social networks, which is now ranked 4th most prominent business podcast series by Digg.

Stan has just interviewed me for The Connections Show:

Click here to go to the podcast interview on Improving Performance and Profitability.

Some of the themes I cover in the interview are how social networking platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn are being used in business, social networking tools specifically for business, the value of organizational network analysis, and the role these network tools play in Enterprise 2.0, including a mention of our Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum.