Futurist conversation: Ross Dawson and Gerd Leonhard on the role of a futurist

Continuing our series of conversations with Gerd Leonhard of The Futures Agency, and myself, here is the one we kicked off with: what is the role of a futurist?

Here are a few of the topics we discuss:
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How Arthur C. Clarke almost 50 years ago accurately predicted our world of global distributed work

Arthur C. Clarke was certainly one of the most prescient people of the last century, anticipating many developments and in fact inventing the geo-stationary satellite on which much of the early media and communication revolution was based.

In this fantastic segment from a BBC broadcast in 1964 he confidently makes two predictions, one absolutely accurate, one completely wrong.

He says (from 1:45 to 3:13):
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Futurist conversation: Gerd Leonhard and Ross Dawson on the future of music

Continuing our series of conversations on the future between Gerd Leonhard and myself, today’s session is on the future of music.

Here are a few of the points we made:
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How technological and social change are feeding on each other in an accelerating spiral

In my recent keynotes I have frequently used variations on my Transformation of Business framework, which looks at how Technology Drivers and Social Drivers lead to a changed Business Landscape, and in turn New Drivers of Success.


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How large professional service firms are shifting to networked services and open innovation

I recently ran a workshop on the future of business at the strategy offsite of one of the world’s largest professional services firm.

During the evening I had a very interesting conversation with one of the regional directors about how professional service firms are tapping external networks.

For over a decade I have written and spoken about the rise of networked professional services, looking at the trend for independent professionals to collaborate in order to compete with large firms. As I wrote in Chapter 9 of Living Networks:

Professional networks, although hardly a new phenomenon, are rapidly rising in importance. Their evolution is being driven by both the new ways of working enabled by connectivity, and the swift shift to professionals working as free agents. Corporate clients are increasingly happy to consider independent professionals as service providers, and in some cases actually prefer effective professional networks to expensive global firms with cookie-cutter approaches. The bottom-line is that for many types of business, professional networks are increasingly viable competitors to large, established firms. This is already apparent, but will become more obvious in coming years.

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Futurist conversation: Ross Dawson and Gerd Leonhard on the future of money

My friend and fellow futurist Gerd Leonhard, who runs The Futures Agency (which I am part of), was recently in Sydney for a speaking engagement. We took the opportunity to record a series of conversations on the future. Here is our conversation on the future of money.

The key points we make are:
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Launch of the Transformation of Government framework

The vast majority of my work over the years has been in the business sector, however I am increasingly being pulled into government and the public sector. As I spend more time in the government space, it is becoming increasingly evident to me that the public sector can lead fundamental positive structural shifts in society and the economy, making me keen to put more of my time and attention into this arena.

To help support a number of keynotes and other engagements in the public sector I have created The Transformation of Government Framework, as below. This was first shown this morning when I gave the opening keynote at the Institute of Public Administration NSW annual conference, and I will be using an adapted version for my keynote at the Local Government Association of Tasmania’s annual conference this Thursday, which celebrates their 100th anniversary.

The Transformation of Government framework (click on image for full-size pdf)

The framework is derived from The Transformation of Business framework that I created recently, as some of the driving forces are exactly the same across business and government, while other issues are expressed differently or have different prominence across the domains.

The framework is primarily intended to support my keynotes, workshops, and strategy sessions, though hopefully it will also be useful as a stand-alone to help frame fundamental issues around change in the government space. I will expand on and discuss these key themes in greater detail when I get an opportunity.
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The fabulous case study of Queensland Police on Facebook

I am at the NSW IPAA conference on The Future Course of Modern Government, where I gave the opening keynote on The Transformation of Government.

We have just heard about how Queensland Police used Facebook and Twitter for disaster communication during the extensive flooding in January. It may now seem obvious that these are the best communication channels for the purpose, but it required foresight and courage to engage in a way that allowed them do that when needed.
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Peter Shergold on The Ethical Framework (of Professional Public Service)

I’m at IPAA NSW conference on the Future Course of Modern Government, where I gave the opening keynote on The Transformation of Government

I was followed by Christian Bason, Director of Denmark’s MindLab. The third keynote was delivered by Professor Peter Shergold, previously Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australia’s most senior public servant, and now Chairman of the NSW Public Sector Commission Advisory Board.
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Christian Bason of MindLab on public sector innovation

I am at IPAA NSW where I have just given the opening keynote on The Transformation of Government. I will endeavor to blog the event as I go.

Next up is Christian Bason, Director of MindLab, a cross-ministerial institution for innovation in the Danish government, presenting by Telepresence.

MindLab is a government organization that helps Danish government departments to co-create with the public solutions to “wicked problems”. 
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