Video: Why professional services leaders need to think about the future

Leading up to the Client and Firms of the Future: How to Compete conference in Sydney on March 11 (which I discussed in a previous blog post), my co-organiser George Beaton and I have recorded a brief video to set the scene.

In the video we begin by addressing the question: Why do professional services leaders need to think about the future? and go on to discuss what to expect at the conference.

Points we make in the video include:
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The focus of big data should be creating value FOR customers

Big Data is one of the hottest trends at the moment, as shown in this Google Trends chart below.

However much of the big data discussion is about how to market better to customers, gathering data ABOUT them so companies can sell more to them.

This seems to me to be the wrong way to think about it. Big data should be used to CREATE VALUE FOR CUSTOMERS. From that good things will flow to everyone, including of course attracting the most customers.
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The new layer of the economy enabled by M2M payments in the Internet of Things

Last week I gave a keynote on The Future of Banking to a group of the most senior risk leaders in a major bank, sharing some provocative ideas on how the banking landscape may change in the years to come.

One of the ideas I shared briefly was on how micro-payments between connected devices could enable an entirely new layer of the economy.
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Civic crowdfunding and the future of government and taxation

Crowdfunding is central to my interests in understanding the future. My background in capital markets and long-standing perspective of the living networks has made it a natural space for me, in looking at new ways our collective financial resources can yield the greatest economic and social benefit.

I was recently named one of the top 30 influential thought leaders in crowdfunding in the world (of which there are only 2 outside the US). I think it’s fair to say that’s an exaggeration of my prominence, however as I am increasingly focusing on the future of crowdfunding I hope the insights and perspectives I am currently developing will have a significant reach.

One of the most obvious ways in which crowdfunding can have a far broader impact than it does today is in playing a role alongside government, by allocating funds to benefit citizens. The “civic crowdfunding” space, focused on funding local community projects such parks, community centers, festivals, and education, has thrived, with platforms such as Spacehive and Neighborly doing well, and strong enthusiasm from cities such as Bristol.
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The future of credit unions is community

Two weeks ago I gave the closing keynote at the Boards of Directors and Supervisory Committees Conference of the U.S. National Association of Federal Credit Unions in the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui, on the topic of Profiting From Technology Trends.

The credit union sector in the U.S outperformed commercial banks after the financial crisis according to the very interesting ILO study Resilience in a downturn: The power of financial cooperatives, moving from 42.8% to 45.0% market penetration to a total over $1 trillion in assets, while in the same post-GFC period credit unions increased their market share in most other regions in the world.
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The top 30 Thought Leaders in crowdfunding

There is no doubt that crowdfunding has been one of the major trends evolving over the last couple of years in particular. It has caught the imagination of the public, and already had a large impact on how artists, startup ventures, and many others consider their funding options. The trend of crowdfunding has a long, long way further to go.

Israeli-based equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd has just launched a list of the top 30 influential thought leaders in crowdfunding, those who have shaped how the industry is seen and understood.

They commissioned Evolve Inc to do the study, which took into account “a variety of factors including social footprint, popularity among industry insiders, engagement frequency, citations by influential writers in venture finance and other factors” to create a ranked list of the top 30 influencers from a pool of 800 people studied.

The top 5 are Perry Chen of Kickstarter, Naval Ravikant of AngelList, Slava Rubin of IndieGogo, Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, followed by a variety of entrepreneurs, regulators, politicians, media commentators, academics, and others.

I made the list (just!) at #29, probably mainly due to the success of my book Getting Results From Crowds and the crowdsourcing workshops I’ve been running around the world over the last couple of years.
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Not just Bitcoin: How will multiple digital currencies compete, succeed, and fail?

Bitcoin surpassing a valuation of $1,000 yesterday is a real landmark, giving the currency a market capitalization of almost $12 billion and 75-fold growth in value this year.

However Bitcoin is not the only digital currency, simply the most prominent. As Bitcoin’s value has soared, partly driven by a positive response from Senate committees last week, participants have looked further afield to see whether there may be other alternatives that have not risen by so much already.

The second most prominent currency is Litecoin, with a market capitalization of over $1 billion. After that Peercoin and Namecoin currently have capitalizations of close to $80 million, followed by a number of others from $20 million and down in a long tail, with the 23rd ranked currency, Goldcoin, still valued at over $1 million.

Litecoin is over 10 times its value from just 10 days ago, with Peercoin growing 4-fold and Namecoin 12-fold in value over the same period.

The following chart is a snapshot from Coinmarketcap, which provides real-time information on digital currencies. The table shows the largest currencies by market cap, with the chart on the right hand side showing growth over the last 90 days.

Digitalcurrencies_Nov13
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The case for the death of cash by the hand of digital currencies

This morning I gave the opening keynote at the ATM and Branch Automation Seminar run by Payments Consulting Network.

In my keynote I spoke about the broader trends in technology, society, and business, and then looked at some of the uncertainties impacting ATMs and branches. Clearly one of the most important is the future of cash.

I noted that while I’m happy to predict the timing of the death of newspapers, I’m not prepared to make firm forecasts on the death of cash. The uncertainties are simply too big.

There are many payment mechanisms that are replacing cash, notably mobile wallets and contactless cards, and in many developed countries there is clear evidence that these are beginning to reduce demand for cash.

However this does not mean cash will die.
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Exploring the future of investment management

Last week I was in Amsterdam for the International User Community Meeting of SimCorp, a leading provider of software for the investment management industry. I gave the keynote on the Future of Investment Management and ran a half-day Executive Master Class on Creating the Successful Organisation of the Future.

Prior to founding Advanced Human Technologies most of my working career had been in financial markets with Merrill Lynch and capital markets with Thomson Financial, with my final role as Global Director – Capital Markets.

My initial client base when I established my company was largely in financial services, and I began to focus on the investment management industry, for a number of reasons.

In the later 1990s my work and research was split between the fields of knowledge management and intellectual capital on the one hand, and futures methodologies such as scenario planning on the other.
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Can cyber-crime result in global financial systemic risk?

On Saturday I was interviewed on SBS World News about the ATM heist that netted $45 million from 40,000 withdrawals over 26 countries. The video of the TV news segment (start at 09:05) is available online until 19 May.

It was an extremely sophisticated attack, involving not just hacking credit card payment processors and banks, but also eliminating the limits on prepaid debit cards before creating thousands of copies. Not surprisingly there are strong safeguards around tampering with the limits on cards, yet the gang managed to circumvent these.
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