About getting predictions wrong as a futurist (and how to create the future you want)


Over the years I have created a lot of content – books, reports, visual frameworks and far more – that has been very widely seen. From all this undoubtedly the one piece that has been the most visible globally is my Newspaper Extinction Timeline launched in October 2010, that predicted for each country in which year newspapers in their then-current form would become “insignificant”.

Coverage in over 100 major publications from more than 30 countries helped to garner many, many millions of views, attract critics galore, and generate substantial debate.
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6 characteristics of education of the future and how credentials will change


The Commonwealth Bank Jobs and Skills of the Future Report I wrote recently dug into how work and jobs are changing and what skills will be required. These shifts in work mean it is crystal clear that education must also change.

Below is an excerpt from the report giving a snapshot of some of the shifts needed in education:

Education of the Future

Looking further into the future of education, we may see a radical restructuring of how we learn, not just in schools and universities, but through our entire life. Classrooms will continue to exist, enhanced through the use of a wide range of new tools, technologies and methodologies. Education will also become an ongoing part of everyone’s lives, and embedded into our employment, helping us improve our skills and capabilities while we work.
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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:

Click on the image for a larger version
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Collaboration and activation: the nub of the merger of physical and digital retail


Last week I visited Melbourne Spring Fashion Week as a guest of IBM and the City of Melbourne.

City of Melbourne’s over-arching vision for the annual Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is to position Melbourne as Australia’s premier fashion destination, and have a real economic impact by driving increased sales for retailers in the city.


In partnering with IBM for the second year the intention was to extend the impact of the event beyond the week and to drive ticket sales and in turn sales by tapping the social currency of influencers.

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is unusual in fashion shows in that everything on the runways can be bought at stores in the city. This contrasts to the traditional role of fashion shows as breaking new fashion, which may not be available for many months after it is launched.

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week used IBM Social Media Analytics on Twitter and Instagram to uncover the top 50 relevant fashion influencers, used Watson Personality Insights to work out how best to approach them, and invited them to be MSFW “insiders”, asking them what content would be most useful to them.

Ticket sales have been considerably higher than last year, with 4 of the events sold out.

The initiative is particularly interesting in showing how social analytics and engagement can help drive shoppers into shopping centers and physical stores.

While individual stores can do a great deal to merge their digital, social and physical engagement, the real power comes in bringing people to a shopping center or area, or even an entire city center.

All shopping is becoming social. Retail strategies for merging physical and digital are best envisaged and implemented on a large scale, tapping collaboration and activating buyers.

Image credit: Eva Rinaldi

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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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.

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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Three critical domains of change driving the future of professional services


Yesterday professional services expert George Beaton and I ran the inaugural Clients and Firms of the Future: How to Compete conference in Sydney, bringing together around 100 senior leaders of professional services firms to look at the future of the industry.

It is just over 15 years ago now that my first book was released with the subtitle The Future of Professional Services (now out in its Second edition). While these days my work covers a far broader scope, over the years I have worked extensively with professional services firms to help them create successful futures.

There has been substantial change in the professions over the last decade, however there will unquestionably be far greater change in the years to come.

It was an absolutely fascinating day at the conference exploring the future of professional services. I will be sharing more from the conference over time, but today would just like to put down a few initial thoughts from the three themes of the day.
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A positive view on the future of human work as intelligent machines rise


I recently delivered a keynote on the Future of Work and Jobs at the Youth in Technology conference organized by the Australian Computer Society.

An article in CIO magazine titled Humans versus machines: Who will be employed in future? reviewed some of the highlights of Dawson’s speech. After the article’s opening it quotes:
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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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