Vectors of Disruption: a framework to clarify the key forces of change


Yesterday I gave a briefing on Technology Trends and the Future of Work to a group of Non Executive Directors of major corporations, organized by a large professional services firm for its clients.

The group was the first to get a run-through of my new concept framework Vectors of Disruption, shown below, which I used to introduce and frame the rest of my presentation.

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“Government as platform” provides a compelling vision for the future of government and society


Before my recent keynote at CeBIT on Platform Strategy: Creating Exponential Value in a Connected World I did a video interview with Alex Zaharov-Reutt of ITWire, shown below. The full article and video is available on ITWire.

It was a very broad-ranging interview, however one of the topics I touched on was the concluding point of my keynote that afternoon, on governments as platforms.

I have written before about issues such as the role of crowdsourcing in government, how crowdfunding could shift the shape of taxation and government, how we can envisage the future of government as a solution enabler, and the value of a framework for the Transformation of Government.
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The rise of global remote work will impact health, education, and far more


Today’s Australian Financial Review featured a section Transformation Agenda, including an article based on an interview with me, Health and education sectors the next to feel online disruption.

After opening with a discussion of connected work and marketplaces such as and Upwork, the article goes on:

According to business consultant and futurist, Ross Dawson it’s a trend gathering pace within professional services like business consultancy, marketing strategy, IT services, even engineering and law. “Knowledge work can now be done anywhere.” he says.

It appears that this is another emerging sector where Australia is leading the way.

Sydney-based firms Expert360 and Skillsapien support two of the leading digital marketplaces for professional services, both of which Dawson sees as signalling a transition to “virtual” organisations.

“What is the role of the organisation today?” he asks. “Do they need to have offices with people sitting together? Is that the best way to source the best ideas?”

With the emergence of massive online platforms connecting millions of people it would seem not.

The article goes on to draw on my comments to look at many of the examples of how connected work is disrupting health, including CrowdMed,, and Dr Sicknote, and then closes with my comments on the impact on education, from an Australian perspective.

In the case of education, the online learning genie is out of the bottle, Dawson notes, with Australian institutions well placed to capitalise on it.

MOOCs (massive open online courses) have been around for some time with a fair degree of competition. But new opportunities are appearing in areas like professional certification, for which Australian institutions are well regarded.

“Education is and will continue to be one of Australia’s greatest exports,” Dawson says, noting that Australia’s fondness for and skills in developing digital channels will breed further opportunities in this and other knowledge-driven sectors.

Work can be done anywhere. We have reached the point where professions of all kinds will be increasingly practised remotely. While we need to ensure that potential problems are minimized, we also need to acknowledge the massive social upsides. This shift is inevitable.

The future of healthcare: big data, tele-health, community care and more


During Australian Healthcare Week on March 15-17, I will be delivering two keynotes on the future of healthcare, at the Health Facilities Design & Development conference and the Healthcare Efficiency Through Technology conference.

In the lead-up to the conference, an article Healthcare 2020: what will the future of healthcare look like in Australia? draws on an interview with me to explore this space. Below are just a few excerpted quotes from the extensive interview with me:

On big data and data sharing

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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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7 defining themes for 2015 (with videos)


At the end of every year since 2006 I have created structured thoughts about the year to come. The last months of 2014 have been so crazy that I have, unfortunately, not had the time to create highly designed content on the year ahead.

However in preparing for some TV interviews at the turn of the year I have pulled together 7 themes that will help define 2015. Here they are, together with illustrative videos.

1. Robots are here

Robots have so long being part of science fiction that many have come to believe they will never arrive. With recent technological advances, the age of robots is finally beginning, with humanoid robots finally entering the mainstream in work, retail, aged care, the home and even warfare.
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Envisioning the future of government as solution enabler


When you look at the future, there are few more important topics than the future of government.

Government was designed to be institutional, providing stability to nations. Yet that design and structure means that governmental institutions are generally very poorly prepared to change as required in the face of extraordinary shifts in society and business.

I have been drawn more into the future of government over the last few years, among other activities creating and sharing my Transformation of Government framework with a variety of groups of senior policymakers.

William Eggers and his team at Deloitte have distilled some excellent analysis and insights into the future of government at their Government 2020 site, which includes an overview of drivers and trends shaping government, and views on the implications across domains of government.

The following slides and video provide nice high-level overviews of the work.

The other resources on the website are well worth a look, including the Drivers and Trends sections.

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Will real-time big data feedback transform sports?


This evening I was at SAP’s Asia-Pacific Japan 25th Anniversary Leadership Summit in Singapore, which brought together a small group of leaders of SAP’s major customers in the region for an exclusive dinner at the Shangri-La hotel.

The guest speakers were myself, speaking on How Hyperconnectivity Will Fuel Asia’s Growth, and Stacey Allaster, President of the Women’s Tennis Association.

Stacey, together with WTA founder Billie-Jean King and last year’s Wimbledon winner Marion Bortoli, fielded questions about this week’s announcement that the WTA is allowing in-game coaching using real-time data from the match.

Billie-Jean King, Women’s Tennis Association President Stacey Allaster, and Marion Bartoli at the SAP APJ Leadership summit in Singapore
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5 uncertainties that will shape the future of wearable technology


The rise of wearables is one of the biggest emerging trends in consumer technology. Over the last decade our primary interfaces with connected technology have shifted from fixed computers to devices that we can carry in our pockets or bags. The next phase is for our interfaces to be worn on our body.

While it is always hard to predict consumer response to new technologies, it is safe to say that any early adopters will take to the next generation of devices with alacrity. While traditionalists will remain, certainly over time many who now choose to wear a wristwatch will replace it with a device that does far more than tell the time.

As the wearables landscape emerges there are 5 major uncertainties to consider:

How fast and far will we shift how we access information?

The rise of smartphones as an interface to information has been dramatic. It has been largely foreseeable in terms of the power of the technology available at an accessible cost, however what was less certain was people’s willingness to use a small screen to access information.
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Keynote slides: The Future of Healthcare


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.