SWITCH festival shows the power and potential of cross-industry collaboration

I first met Mark Zawacki when I did the opening keynote at the ANZA Technology Conference in Silicon Valley in 2004, and Mark was also a speaker at the event. Mark has since founded the highly-regarded corporate accelerator 650Labs, which helps leading global corporates to drive innovation.

More recently I have met Catherine Stace, CEO of Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, who has brought inspiring and truly disruptive approaches to medical research philanthropy, by focusing on making research far more collaborative and effective rather than simply funding antiquated research models.

It is no surprise that collaboration between Mark and Catherine has created something exceptional: SWITCH Festival, to be held in Sydney 27-29 August.
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Insights into the levers of innovation in 40 major cities globally

The City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CITIE), a joint venture of NESTA, Catapult, and Accenture, has just release a very interesting report on the drivers of innovation in major cities globally.

The CITIE Framework examines 9 different areas in which cities can support entrepreneurship and innovation, shown here:
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In a world of peer learning the opportunities flow to talent and those who share

I recently gave the closing keynote at the Lectora User Conference 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee, which brought together users from around the world of the Lectora e-learning authoring platform.

My keynote on Embracing the Future looked at the broad trends shaping our world, and how they were shaping the world of education in particular. Peer learning is a fundamentally important trend today, describing how people learn increasingly from their peers rather than formal teachers. Indeed, the leading edge of any domain of study is driven by peers who share what they discover on the edges of their discipline.

One of the stories I told in my keynote was how a young Mexican man has been amply rewarded for his talent and his propensity to share, rather than formal education.

3D_robotics_500
Image: Jordi Muñoz, Chris Anderson and Jon Callaghan of 3D Robotics Credit: Christopher Michel
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Using testable hypotheses to bring lean startup into the enterprise

Last week I ran a brief workshop at the strategy offsite of a professional services organization, with their top 100 executives in attendance. They wanted to understand major business trends and the implications for both their own organization as well as the services that will be valuable for their clients.

In a highly interactive session I ran through major trends in technology, business, and society, went into depth on the lessons emerging from lean startups and crowd-based models, and then facilitated groups in generating high-potential ideas for new service lines and creating a high-performance organization.

While many of the concepts of lean startups feel quite foreign within many established organizations, a useful way to help shift thinking is to focus on the concept of ‘testable hypotheses’. This is central to how dynamic startups function, and can fairly readily be introduced into large organizations – and their clients – without seeming overly radical.

In introducing the idea into enterprise I have found it useful to frame testable hypotheses as 5 steps:
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It’s an attitude: Embracing the future

On my RossDawson.com site I list some of the more popular topics for my keynote speeches.

Particularly for internal corporate events, one of the most popular themes is ‘Embracing the Future‘, in which I not only point to the dramatic shifts underway and the potential of the future, but show that the attitude of embracing those changes will bring the greatest personal opportunities.

I recently created a short video to help describe the main themes of the keynote, shown below.


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Concept video: The Future of Work

A while ago at Future Exploration Network we created the Future of Work Framework to provide a high-level overview of how the world of work is shifting.

Over the past year I have used the framework extensively as a starting point for executive briefings and strategy workshops on the strategic implications of the rapidly changing world of work.

However the static visual can be hard to interpret on its own, so we have now created a short video that delves into and narrates the framework.


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Creating a prosperous national future: networks and new industries

Today’s issue of AFR Boss magazine includes highlights of the discussion at the recent first BOSS True Leaders’ Legacy Dinner, where 14 of us had an excellent dinner and debated “how Australia could seize the opportunities of the knowledge economy”.

It was a fantastic and sometimes heated discussion, most enjoyable. The highlights of the conversation are published in the online magazine.

At the outset I said (quotes were severely edited for length):

Ross Dawson: We have over a million Australians who live around the world. This Australian diaspora is a way of linking the extraordinary talent we have in this country to the rest of the planet. Far more than any other country, we must look at digital productivity and what that affords us. Australia in the last six years or so has become a truly networked economy with a network mentality.

As I’ve noted before, entrepreneurial migration is highly valuable in forming global networks.

Australia has come a long, long way in the last 6-8 years in becoming a nation with a true network mentality. This is essential given our geographical isolation. However I am becoming concerned that our progress is not keeping pace with the rest of the world.

Later in the conversation I was quoted:

Ross Dawson: How do we get new levels, layers and structures of capital markets where money gets allocated to the ventures that have the greatest potential financial and social impact? We still have explicit and implicit industrial policy in Australia which is in favour of legacy industries, not the industries of Australia’s future or potential future.

Crowdfunding is just one of range of new capital market structures that are allocating funds to where they can have the most value. National regulation is critical in enabling or disabling these innovative approaches.

The nature of politics is that legacy industries have the funds, clout, and connections to make governments pay attention, while newer industries don’t have the impact or access. Yet they are where our future lie. It is critical that attention – and in some cases resources – are spent on the networked, knowledge-based economy that will bring our future prosperity.

Keynote slides: The New World of Business

Yesterday I gave two keynotes at the Congreso Internacional de Retail in Lima Peru.

The first keynote provided a big picture view of the changing world of business, while the second keynote focused on the future of retail.

Here are the slides to my first keynote. The slides to the second keynote are here. As always, my slides are designed to support my presentations, not to stand alone, but may be useful to others.

Do you have the passion of the explorer? If you do, what kind of employer could attract you away from entrepreneurship?

Today the ever-inspiring John Hagel spoke in Sydney today about passion at work as part of AMP’s Amplify series, organized by Annalie Killian.

The story in summary, told at more length in the Unlock the passion of the Explorer report, is that:

* Technological change is creating ever-increasing pressures and challenges for institutions and individuals;

* In this world the rationale for large organizations to exist is no longer scalable efficiency, but scalable learning;

* The Center for the Edge looked to find examples of “sustained, extreme performance improvement” that reflects this scalable learning;

* What they found in common was deep passion, but a particular type of passion that they dubbed the passion of the “Explorer”
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On the importance of energizing holidays for entrepreneurs

I have just returned from holidays in Jervis Bay, a stunning region set in a marine national park a few hours drive south of Sydney. It is one of those places scattered around the world that feels magical in some inexpressible way.

Summer is Here | Jervis Bay
Image credit: Hadi Zaher

It was just a one week holiday, my first proper break in the last year, which has been perhaps the most intense year in my life. Victoria and I did take a little time off between this last Christmas and New Year but I ended having to do a some urgent client work and many interviews including Sunrise, Today, and Morning Show over New Year so it wasn’t a real holiday.

Switching off

During the holiday I was almost completely switched off from digital world, with limited connectivity where we were staying helping me avoid more than very briefly glancing at email or Twitter every day or so, though I did need to respond to a couple of enquiries.
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