The need for innovation across boundaries and the power of big data analytics

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I attended a very interesting lunch today hosted by EMC launching a study and report on Information Generation, drawing on a survey of 3,600 executives globally looking at what will drive their business in coming years.

The primary themes of the report were around spotting opportunities, innovation, transparency and trust, personalization, and 24/7 availability, and the implications for business.

One of the interesting insights from the study was on what executives believe their organizations can best do to foster innovation.

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Source: EMC Information Generation
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Cities reconfigured: How changing work, shopping, community, and transport will transform our collective lives

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One of our companies, Future Exploration Network, recently created a detailed report for a client delving into the most important shifts shaping the next decade and beyond.
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One of the themes was Cities Reconfigured. The section began:

Urbanisation has proved to be a dominant global force, shaping both developed and developing countries. We know cities are both spreading out and become denser at their centres, but radical shifts are now reshaping the structure and shape of cities. The rise of flexible, remote and freelance work and shifts where and how people shop and socialise are significantly changing travel patterns. The widespread deployment of data sensors is providing real-time insights into environmental, traffic and infrastructure conditions, enabling rapid response and a deeply-needed increase in urban efficiency.
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Using testable hypotheses to bring lean startup into the enterprise

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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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Three critical domains of change driving the future of professional services

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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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APIs are enabling an unprecedented flow of innovation

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On Tuesday I had the great pleasure and honor of doing the opening keynote at the APIDays Sydney conference, the first API (Application Programming Interface) conference in Australia, excellently organized by Saul Caganoff of SixTree.

APIDays was founded by Mehdi Medjaoui in Paris in 2013, has since been run in Barcelona, Berlin, San Francisco and now Sydney, with the event in Paris last year attracting 800 delegates.

Below are the slides for my keynote on The Flow of Innovation. As always, note that my slides are designed to support my presentation and not to stand alone, but still may be of interest to people who did not attend my keynote.

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Creating the future of professional services – Sydney 11 March

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The subtitle of my first book, 15 years ago now, was ‘The future of professional services’. I still believe it’s an incredibly important topic, not just in the future of business, but also in the future of work and society.

As such I am delighted to be collaborating with one of the world’s leaders in professional services strategy, George Beaton, in organising the Clients and Firms of the Future: How to Compete conference in Sydney on 11 March.
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The massive opportunity of open innovation for mid-tier firms

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I recently gave the keynote at an American Express function for CFOs of mid-tier firms. I wrote before about the event in a post on the central role of CFOs in innovation and future-proofing in mid-tier firms.

The video below nicely summarizes highlights from the event, including some excerpts from my speech from 1:38.

One of the issues I discussed was the potential of open innovation.
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Study: Decentralized organizations will win, especially in challenging times

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For decades management theorists have argued over whether and when organizations should be centralized or decentralized.

However the situation is now dramatically different than it was before, as we become richly connected and the world we live in becomes increasingly complex and interdependent.

A new paper reviewed by Stanford Graduate School of Business examines the relative success of firms through the recent global “Great Recession”, depending on their degree of centralization.

The authors, Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University, Philippe Aghion of Harvard University, Raffaella Sadun from Harvard Business School, and John Van Reenen from London School of Economics, reportedly found that:
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4 important implications of us reaching Crunch Time

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A little while ago we released our “Crunch Time” framework, looking at the 14 domains where we are hitting dramatic disruption, including work, money, privacy, government, education, media, climate and more. You can see the full Crunch Time framework on the Future Exploration Network website.

We have created a short video to introduce the concept of Crunch Time, and the four major implications that apply across the board.


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It’s an attitude: Embracing the future

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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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