Reinvent Australia: how can we shape a positive future for nations?

A few days ago I attended the launch event of Reinvent Australia, organized by Annalie Killian of Amplify Festival at PwC’s Sydney offices. It was a very interesting event, digging into the issues of how we can bring together many people’s ideas to create better futures for nations.

Graham Kenny, President of Reinvent Australia, described the organisation as a collaborative initiative to create a conversation on a shared vision for the nation. The bottom line of its endeavors is to increase the quality of life for all Australians, by influencing government and business in how they work.

Kenny quoted Henry Mintzberg in a recent Harvard Business Review article, Rescuing Capitalism from Itself.
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What happens when the home of the future crashes?

This morning I was interviewed on the Mornings TV program about the future of homes, based on an interesting interactive infographic of how our homes may change over the next 15 years.

Click on the image below to watch a video of the segment.
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The potential of open source 3D printed housing and community

This morning I was interviewed on the Mornings program about open source 3D printed houses.

You can view a video of the segment by clicking on the image below.
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We primarily discussed the fantastic Wikihouse project, which provides Creative Commons plans for parts which can be 3D printed or machine cut and readily assembled to build inexpensive homes.
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Jobs of the future: sports referees out, emotional designers in

This morning I was interviewed on the national breakfast program Sunrise on the future of jobs, discussing a report that suggested 40% of jobs could be replaced by automation in the next 10-15 years.

Click on the image to see a video of the segment:
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In the segment I pointed to some of the broader trends shaping the future of work, as well as particular jobs that would be disappearing or growing.
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Shazam will recognize objects as well as music: the implications for retail and design

The music recognition service Shazam will branch out into new domains, said CEO Rich Riley at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today.
Reuters reports:

The next phase of development will be to enable phone users to Shazam actual objects, said Riley, such as a cereal packet in the grocery store to get more nutritional information or a DVD case at home to buy the movie soundtrack.

The capability is not new, with services such as Amazon Firefly allowing users to identify objects and buy them on Amazon, and Slyce identifying objects within a store for lookup and purchase. However Shazam’s excellent and long-standing service suggests they will execute well on object recognition and take the domain further.

There are massive implications for both retail and product design.

Design
A couple of years ago, anticipating this development, I wrote about the idea of “Shoezam“, that could recognize and order shoes on the street. I wrote:
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Mobile and design are shifting to the center of technology and work

Today I am giving a keynote at the The Youth Festival of ICT (YITcon14) in Melbourne, with participation from over 1,000 students and young professionals.

The Australian newspaper yesterday featured an article titled Mobile exposes need for design skills, programming languages: Ross Dawson based on an interview with myself and Alan Patterson, CEO of the Australian Computer Society, which is organizing the conference.

The article begins: Read more

Driving retail success through visible uniqueness

My wonderful wife, the talented jewellery designer Victoria Buckley, has had her boutique in Sydney’s historical Strand Arcade for 21 years.

The Strand is the best possible location for her in Sydney, with its classic Victorian architecture and rosta of leading Australian designers such as Akira, Alex Perry, Scanlan Theodore and sass & bide.

The Strand is producing a series of videos titled We Are The Makers, featuring the stores in the arcade. Below is the video of Victoria, which in less than 2 minutes successfully captures some of the vitality and creativity that is expressed in her jewellery. A very nice write-up of the interview is also available.


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“Shoezam” app mimics Shazam to image, identify, and replicate shoes on the street

This morning I attended the Innovation Bay breakfast on Where to for retail now?.

It was a fascinating discussion, which was definitely useful as I develop my forthcoming Future of Retail framework. (Still working on it, I don’t know when it will be ready for the public, more later.)
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Michael Fox, founder of the highly innovative and successful Shoes of Prey, spoke about some of what they envisage for the future of retail.

One of their internal initiatives is an app they dub “Shoezam”, which acts like Shazam in that people can take an image of a shoe they like in the street, which the app analyzes so that users can immediately order that shoe for themselves.
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Keys to innovation: Tapping communities of lead users

Today I was interviewed on ABC Radio National’s ByDesign program on how our expectations of beauty are increasing. You can listen to the interview here.

At one point the conversation shifted to how companies could generate the innovation that will meet the soaring expectations of users.

Notably through the work of MIT’s Eric von Hippel, companies have grown to recognize the critical importance of co-creation in innovation, and in particular the role of ‘lead users’. Lead users are typically those who find new applications for products, extend their use, and are the most discerning.

In the interview I was asked how companies can find these lead users to help them innovate.
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How soaring expectations of beauty are shaping technology and society

I recently travelled to Provence in the hills above Nice to give the keynote at the annual EuroCIO conference.

I used my framework for the future of the CIO to point to the macro drivers of change in technology and society, and how these are shaping the technology function in organizations, and in turn the role of the CIO.

iMac

The single most important shift in society is that we expect more on just about every front that we can imagine. We expect more in everything around us, in terms of excellence in quality and service, opportunity for ourselves and our children, flexibility in our work, and openness and transparency from business and government.

We also expect beauty.
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