Latest insights into the state of global telecommunications

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A delightful report out from International Telecommunication Union (ITU) today, Measuring the Information Society 2014, examines in depth the state of global telecommunications.

Below are a handful of the particularly interesting insights from the report.
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The politics of crowdsourcing in government

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Last week the New South Wales government announced that it will use crowdsourcing to seek solutions, first to traffic problems and then more broadly to government policy challenges.

Channel 7 News did a piece on the story, including an excerpt with an interview with me about the initiative. You can watch the clip by clicking on the image below.

Crowdsourcing_Channel7_140814
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Concept video: The Future of Work

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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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Keynote slides: The Future of Healthcare

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Yesterday I gave the opening keynote at the Australasian Longterm Health Conditions Conference in Auckland on The Future of Healthcare.

A conference report in NZ Doctor said that “Mr Dawson wowed delegates with examples of technology changing the way we live and work”.

The primary theme of my keynote was that power and control is shifting to the individual, an absolutely necessary shift in the world of health, and beyond.

Below are my slides. As always, my visual presentations are designed to support my keynote, not to be useful by themselves, but I share these in case they are are useful for attendees or others. The actual presentation includes quite a few embedded videos that show up as images in these slides.

Civic crowdfunding and the future of government and taxation

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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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Creating a prosperous national future: networks and new industries

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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.

15 theses about the future of the Internet and how we can shape it positively

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PewResearch Internet Project has just released a report on Digital Life in 2025 based on expert interviews.

One of the interesting aspects of the report is the ‘theses‘ that they have distilled from the interviews, which they have divided into ‘more-hopeful and ‘less-hopeful’, concluding with one very important piece advice. These are:
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Launch of 2014 Crunch Time report: 14 domains hitting the crunch and responses

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At the end of each year we share some thoughts about current trends and what to expect next year and beyond.

Some of our past frameworks include Trend Blend 2007+, Trend Blend 2008+, Map of the Decade: 2010s, Zeitgeist 2011, 12 Themes for 2012, and 2013 – Life Next Year and Beyond: Appearing and Disappearing.

Today Future Exploration Network launches our 2014: Crunch Time mini-report. It explains why we are reaching Crunch Time, the implications, descriptions of 14 domains in which we are hitting the crunch, and how we need to respond.

The graphic slideshow of Crunch Time is embedded below. You can also read the full text in one page at 2014: Crunch Time on the original posting on the Future Exploration Network website.

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Not just Bitcoin: How will multiple digital currencies compete, succeed, and fail?

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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

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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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