Six radical visions for the future of health – Health futurist Ross Dawson


Recently health futurist Ross Dawson gave the closing presentation at the National Medicine Symposium, rounding out deep discussion over several days on how to get better use of medicines. He developed six radical ideas that could be part of the future of health. The intention was to be provocative rather than rigorous, generating new ways of thinking about how healthcare may evolve.

Here are brief summaries of the six visions he presented:

1. Complete data.

future of health

Image source: Toto

The amount of information that we have about the health of an individual could become comprehensive, generating terabytes of data from just one person. Bathrooms that monitor not just what we excrete but also analyze our skin color and tone as we look in the mirror are just the beginning. Images and sensors could record everything we eat and all medicines we take, providing far better analysis on the effectiveness of drugs. Odor is a highly data-intensive yet effective way to identify maladies. We could build virtually complete data sets of our health on a second by second basis.

2. Personalized medicine

health futurist

In a world in which individual genomes can be sequenced, we can not only identify which drug will be most effective for the individual, but potentially also synthesize pharmaceuticals for one specific person. While the cost will be high, some will be prepared to pay and there will be pressure for insurers to bear the cost.

3. Radical life extension

health trends

The trend for over two centuries is that for every decade that passes, life expectancy in developed countries increases by two years. If this varies, it is most likely to the upside, severely aggravating the existing aging of the population. The implications for healthcare would include not just new treatments, but a massive increase in aged care support.

4. Robot help

Robots and artificial intelligence will have manifold roles in future healthcare, including avatar doctors, exoskeletons for nurses, and automated surgery. One of the most important tools will be emotional robots that can demonstrate empathy and help patients in their recovery.

5. Modular R&D

pharma R&D

The current pharmaceutical research and development chain is broken in many ways, driven by creating blockbuster drugs and rapidly running out of steam. There is an opportunity to break down R&D into discrete components from discovery through to clinical trials and regulatory approval, each of which is funded separately. If effective profit-share mechanisms can be created, risk will be distributed and there could be a flourishing of drugs developed for smaller markets. Innocentive, originally founded by Eli Lilly, is just the first step in distributed pharma innovation.

6. Self-serve pharma

Image credit: C-Ali

Patients now have massive medical information available, and they have the time and incentive to do research into what would be relevant to them. Why not throw out drug regulation, and leave people to make their own choices if they want? Most would rely on doctors, but others would self-medicate, usually extremely well. The world of self-serve pharma has already begun. How far will it go?

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Energize your event with leading health futurist and keynote speaker Ross Dawson’s compelling and inspirational presentations that leave audiences stimulated. Contact Ross Dawson’s office today to discuss the precise keynote topic and title that will best meet your requirements.

The power of social media and future organizations – Social media analyst Ross Dawson


Recently, social media analyst Ross Dawson gave the external keynote at a closed conference for senior client executives run by a major professional services firm. They knew the technical content they were presenting was rather dry so Ross’ role was to provide a highly engaging kick-off to the day which was also practical and useful for attendees.

The presentation was unique as it combined two of the topics from Ross’ general list of speaking topics, bringing together the ideas from The Power of Social Media and The Future of Work and Organizations. In fact every presentation by social media analyst Ross Dawson is customized for the specific context and audience, including many topics not on the list, but it can be useful for clients to use the general speaking topic list to work out what they are looking for.

Below are the slides to the keynote. The keynote slides are designed to accompany the presentation and are not intended to be useful on their own. However, they have been provided for illustrative purposes.

The basic storyline of the keynote was about social media and how that is shaping what organizations are becoming. In this inspirational presentation, social media analyst Ross Dawson offered suggestions on how to build personal value from engaging in social media, and particularly given the seniority of the audience, their leadership role in helping their organizations to create value from the adoption of social media both internally and externally.

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Energize your event with social media analyst Ross Dawson’s compelling and inspirational presentations that leave audiences stimulated. Contact Ross Dawson’s office today to discuss the precise keynote topic and title that will best meet your requirements.

How much is the right amount to tweet?


Of the many issues when engaging on social media, one of the most central is how much to post.

If you don’t post enough, you’re barely visible. If you post too much, you annoy people who are likely to unfollow you, and you make any individual post far less likely to be seen or acted on.

Last week I was the host for #crowdchat, my first ever Twitter chat. I had avoided doing Twitter chats before, as it would deluge my followers with tweets. However I decided to do it, both to support Crowdsourcing Week, which I am on the advisory board for, and also as an experiment. No-one objected, but clearly only a small minority of my followers were engaged in the conversation.
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Strategic overview of AHT Group: sharing our ventures, projects, and enablers


I believe that open business is an important and valuable foundation for success today. We actively share our activities and priorities on an ongoing basis, and intend to share considerably more over time.

Two years ago I shared our AHT Group Business Model Overview and a year later I published our 2012 Priorities, and found sharing these useful for ourselves and for others.

To help me and our team to strategize and act effectively in 2013 and beyond, I have created an overview that describes the activities, projects, and current priorities across AHT Group, which currently comprises Advanced Human Technologies, Future Exploration Network, and The Insight Exchange.

The document does not explain the relationship between the companies or the logic of our business models. I will extend this overview soon with an updated visualization of our business model.

Below is our group Strategic Overview as of January 2013, with a brief explanation of each of the major elements. We will provide more detail on the ventures, business models, and lessons learned during this year.

Click on image to see full size pdf

Description of the elements of the Strategic Overview:
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How to prepare for the jobs of the future: Learning, Love, Collaboration, Design


A little while back I was interviewed for a cover story on the jobs of the future for the Careers section of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Here are the sections of the article that drew on my thoughts:

According to the futurist Ross Dawson, the world of work has always required employees to be on the front foot.

“Jobs have always disappeared and others come up,” he says. “It’s just that the pace of change has become far faster than ever before.”

Dawson say there are two overarching issues to consider when predicting which jobs will survive the next change to the work world: remote work and automation.

Employees with an eye to the future should ask themselves, “Is it is possible this work could be automated?” and “Is it possible that this work could be done by somebody else somewhere else in the world?”, he says.

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The isomorphism of inside and outside – why exploring our minds and the world are the same


On my recent holiday I was in extraordinarily beautiful surroundings, in the Jervis Bay area of Australia’s Eastern coast.

Being in that environment helped me to recall my thoughts from when I was much younger, when it struck me that the world inside us and the world outside are isomorphic: they have exactly the same shape and structure.

We can learn about our minds and the richness of who we are by studying and exploring the world around us, particularly the natural world.

Equally, we can grow to understand the external world by delving into the unlimited richness of our minds. There is as much to discover within us as there is in the entire universe around us.
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Today show: when will we entrust child care to robots?


I was in Sydney over New Year (nowhere better to celebrate it!) before heading off for holidays, and was invited onto the Today national breakfast program to talk about some of the themes from my 2013 and Beyond Appearing and Disappearing framework.

Click on the image below to view a video of the segment.


One of the ideas they wanted to talk about was “robo-nannies”. We originally dreamed of robots that could do more than help with manufacturing and mechanical processes, and we are now on the verge of robots being engaged in what we consider very human functions. However there are a number of elements required before we entrust our children to robotic nannies.
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A change of tack for Trends in the Living Networks


Happy New Year! I wish you a most wonderful year ahead. I for one am very, very excited about what 2013 holds.

I’m just back from close to three weeks holiday over Christmas and New Year, including some wonderful time on the beach and among the kangaroos in Jervis Bay.

As always after a holiday I have a broader perspective on where I am and what I am doing. The time was ripe for other reasons too, but I realized while I was away that it is time for me approach this blog a little differently than I have.

It is a constant struggle to keep the blog active given all my other activities and commitments, but it is still a high priority so I will do what I can to keep it alive and flourishing.

I will continue to share as I can snippets of ideas from my speaking and media appearances, as well as particularly relevant content that illuminates key trends in how the networks are coming to life.

However there are a number of other ways I will also intend to use this blog, including:
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