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General reflections on blogging after 14 years

After having written my post to relaunch this blog last week, I am now – in theory – back in blogging mode, so I should be writing blog posts.

Passing the thresohld of blogging

Which in itself comes to the nub of the experience of blogging, all the thresholds you have to cross to actually start and finish a blog post. What is compelling enough to say that you take the time to write it? How long or polished should pieces be? If I get started writing a post, how much time is it going to take to say what it is I want to say? When do I cut off a blog post and save the rest for the next post?
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Relaunch of my website and blog – time to get blogging again!

I am delighted to have finally relaunched my personal website and blog! The front page of this website provides an overview of my work, there are details on my keynote speaking and strategy advisory work, and now my blog has been incorporated into the same website.

I set up my blog Trends in the Living Networks in 2002 to accompany the launch of my book Living Networks. A bit later I set up rossdawson.com as my speaker website, and kept the blog on a separate domain, running the two sites in parallel for many years.
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Framework: The role of Humans in the Future of Work

Yesterday I gave the keynote on Creating the Future of Work at The End of Nine to Five.

For the last years in addressing the future of work I have often focused on the human capabilities that will drive value as machines become more capable and the work landscape is transformed.

To help define and clarify these capabilities I created a landscape on the role of Humans in the Future of Work, which I first shared publicly in my keynote yesterday.

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Vivid Sydney: Flexibility, diversity, and productivity at the heart of the future of work

Next week I am doing the keynote at a Vivid Sydney event titled The End of Nine to Five, organized by Gemini3, a job share matching technology company, in collaboration with EY Australia and Hermann International Asia.

I will be speaking on Creating the Future of Work, looking at the dramatically shifting landscape for work, the distinctive human capabilities that will drive value, and the resulting structure of work required to draw out the greatest growth and contribution for our teams. In the keynote I will share for the first time globally a new framework I have created on Humans in the Future of Work. I’ll share more on that here after the keynote.

Here are quotes from some of the other speakers to give a sense of what they will be covering:
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Launch: Timeline for the future structure of the legal services industry

Our shared passion for the future of professional services has led George Beaton and I to collaborate on projects over many years.

George has long expressed his view that the traditional “BigLaw” model for legal services firms is under severe threat. He has just launched his latest book Remaking Law Firms to provide clear guidance on how law firms can adjust and reshape themselves for success in a rapidly changing world.

Drawing on the concept of my Newspaper Extinction Timeline, George and I collaborated to create a timeline for the changing structure of the legal services industry over the next decade and beyond across different geographies.

The full description to the legal services timeline describes in detail the mega-forces shaping the industry, the research methodology, and the outcomes.

Here are the legal services industry timelines we created for five regions, with below the charts descriptions of the types of legal services providers referenced.

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Platform Strategy: How the rise of platforms enables exponential business

This afternoon I am giving the closing keynote of Day 1 at CeBIT Australia on the topic of Platform Strategy: Creating Exponential Value in a Connected World.

The slides to my keynote are below.

As usual, the slides are designed to support my keynote, not to stand alone, but there is more than usual structured content that may be useful to people who are not attending my presentation.

I believe that the concept of platforms is enormously relevant in understanding how the economy is shifting today. In many ways it brings together the key themes of my books, including knowledge-based relationships, value co-creation, living networks, internal and external social media, and crowdsourcing.
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Big game changers: Immersive reality and customer robot service

An article in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald, Five business trends set to shape 2016, asked three business “clairvoyants” what innovations small business will see in 2016: Craig Rispin, Jon Tanner, and myself.

Here are a couple of the quotes from me:

On Immersive Reality:

Futurist Ross Dawson, who heads Advanced Human Technologies Group, says the debut of Facebook’s Oculus Rift (and a host of other virtual reality head-sets arriving next year) is his “big game changer”. It will be arriving in the first quarter of 2016. Dawson believes it could transform the retail, travel, education and property industries. It is not augmented reality (as in Google Glass) but immersive​ reality: the images move in sync with a user’s head movements.

It could be used to offer virtual snapshots of off-plan apartments to prospective property buyers, give travellers the opportunity to peruse a virtual city or visit a mock art gallery in cyberspace, Dawson says. “You could immerse yourself in a battlefield or spend a virtual day in Rome, Paris or Berlin.”

On Automation:

Dawson expects to see greater automation in the retail and hospitality sectors, but believes fast food outlets will be the first to deploy robots. He mentions US-based Orchard Supply Hardware whose “OSHbot” answers questions and directs customers to products. There is also California’s Aloft Hotel, run by three-foot-high (91cm) “botlrs” which have 7-inch touchscreens to interact with patrons.

Here are videos of these robots:

Companies large and small need to be actively thinking about and exploring how these kinds of new technologies will change their business, and how they can seize the emerging opportunities.

How Science Fiction shapes our future

As other futurists, I’ve had done quite a few media interviews recently on Back to the Future 2, which was set on October 21, 2015.

One of the most interesting broader issues around the film is very simply the degree of interest people have in the film, which captured people’s imaginations about the future, even though it was primarily a comedy.

ABC’s 7:30 Report on Wednesday ran a segment on Back to the Future 2 and tweeted this quote from me:
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In a syndicated piece by AFP on Back to the Future and in an earlier article in Newsweek I made the same point:

The reason people have been trying to create a hoverboard is that it was in the film and it captured people’s imaginations. They weren’t trying to predict the future, they were trying to create an interesting film, but I think it’s interesting that everyone is saying “Where is my hoverboard” and now people are trying to create that. We discover what we want. Science fiction creates the desire for the technology that we see, which means that entrepreneurs can see if there is a desire and they then work hard to be able to create the technologies that we’ve discovered that we want.

Countless technology innovators have said how they were inspired by William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash to create essential elements of the connected world we know today.

Science fiction in movies and books has shaped what we desire, as well as what we fear. It is a critical driving force in helping us shape our future, as it uncovers what we want to happen and don’t want to happen. Let us celebrate all science fiction, from the most serious to light-hearted comedy.

Six characteristics supporting excellence in service delivery innovation

Last Friday, after delivering the breakfast keynote at CPA Congress in Brisbane (more on that in another post), I ran a half-day workshop at the partner offsite of a national accounting firm network on the theme of Disruption and Innovation in Professional Services.

I spent some time giving the partners current perspectives on both disruption and innovation in professional services, with the rest of the time spent facilitating the group in generating and prioritizing initiatives to drive the members firms’ future.

I ran through the domains in which they can enhance their business models and performance. However in professional services probably the most important domain is service delivery, in which extraordinary possibilities for innovation have opened up in the network economy.

I have just recalled that eight years ago I co-authored a white paper for SAP titled Service Delivery Innovation: Creating Client Value and Enhancing Profitability. While it is not recent, the issues I covered are still completely relevant today, so I thought I’d share a section from the white paper here:
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A framework for industry leadership based on collaboration

Last week I ran a half-day workshop at the annual offsite for executives of a major airline alliance, taking the group from a broad view of macro trends shaping the future, through to the generation of specific actionable ideas to create greater value across the alliance.

As part of the workshop we used a framework that I originally developed over a decade ago in the context of collaboration in the financial services industry, but I have used in the last year in industries as diverse as healthcare, airlines, and professional services.

The future of every industry lies in value creation across organizations. To achieve that we need explicit discussions and engagements among all industry participants on what it is that they’d like to collectively achieve, and how they can get there. This framework lays out the key components:

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