Envisioning the future so that it compels action

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The current issue of Brunswick Review features an interview with me titled Visions of Tomorrow.

While it is a wide-ranging interview, as often, I was asked about the role of the futurist. Below are some of my ideas on thinking about the future and taking action from the article. See below the quotes for some further thoughts.

Read the full article to also see my commentary on specific issues such as emerging economies, crowdsourcing, professional services, and the future of work.
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Exploring the future Ep 3: Being touched by exceptional people through podcasts

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Here is episode 3 of my vlog, on my experience recoding the OFX Where the World’s Moving podcast series. Let me know any comments or thoughts, if you’d like to keep across my vlog please subscribe on YouTube!

Full transcription below:
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Company as a platform: a key concept for technology-enabled strategy

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Last week I gave the keynote on Technology Leadership in an Accelerating World and chaired the C-Level Executive Luncheon at the Oracle Impact conference in Bangkok, Thailand.

After the lunch roundtable more than one CIO told me that the ‘Company as a platform’ concept I’d put forward during my keynote had resonated strongly with them.

Platform strategy is at the core of much of my work. While platforms are becoming much discussed by boards and executives, the key issue they need to understand is that in a network economy, platform concepts are not just about business strategy, but highly relevant to many different inter-linked domains: business models, technology development, talent structures, marketing, organizational communication, and more.
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Exploring the future Ep 2: Why optimism is essential to create a better future

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Here is – finally – the second episode of my vlog, on the critical topic of optimism. More episodes coming soon!

Here is the transcript:
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Robots are already making decisions for us – how far do we want that to go?

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Last week I spoke at a very interesting event ‘Should We Turn Over Decision-Making To Robots?‘. It was the first of a series of discussion organised by WWF‘s Panda Labs, delving into the ethics and positive potential of emerging technologies.

ABC News published an article Relinquishing more power to robots up for debate at futurist talks based on pre-event interviews with fellow panelist Theresa Anderson, Director of the Master of Data Science and Innovation at UTS and myself.
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6 key elements of strategy for emerging technologies

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Over the last 7 days I have done the keynote at the Oracle Impact conferences in Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland on the topic of Technology Leadership in an Accelerating World.

The events were centered around emerging technologies, particularly AI, IoT and Blockchain, and how these can be applied in a business environment.

The central theme of my keynote was the role of the senior technology executives in working with the business leaders to understand and seize the emerging opportunities from new technologies.

The slides to my presentation are below, as always with the disclaimer that were designed to support my keynote, not to stand alone.
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Launch of podcast series: Where the world’s moving

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In a world in which podcasts are one of the fastest growing media formats, I am delighted to be the host for the new podcast series Where the World’s Moving, produced by BBC Storyworks commercial productions and presented by global money transfer company OFX. The podcast is framed around global fluidity and the future:.

Today’s world is fluid – ideas are big, people are moving fast, and our place in the world is changing. From work-life, to connectivity and community, our series explores where the world is moving and how these shifts are bringing us closer together to facilitate collaboration and human progress.

Drilling down from this concept 8 interlocking themes were selected, illustrated by conversations with a series of exceptional people.

The first two episodes are interviews with:

Aaron Foley
Detroit. The motor city whose fortunes were inexorably tied to the rise and fall of the United States’ heavy industries has reversed its waning fortune by tapping into its rich history of entrepreneurship, small business and tight-knit community spirit.

Just ask City of Detroit’s Chief Storyteller, Aaron Foley, who shares in on the city’s renaissance, and the importance of a sense of place and belonging in today’s world.

Dr Kate Ringvall
In 2007, the percentage of people living in urban and metropolitan areas hit 50% for the first time in humanity’s history.

In this episode, IKEA Australia’s Sustainability Manager, Dr Kate Ringvall, discusses a future that will demand ever smarter, more innovative approaches to urban development and how adaptive design can help us maximize our space.

Please ‘tune in’ to the podcast series. After these two initial episodes more fascinating conversations will follow!

I will update this post with the other episodes as they are released.

How we should be thinking about virtual reality and “techno-sex”

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Last week a feature article in the Good Weekend magazine of Sydney Morning Herald asked Can ‘techno sex’ ever be as good as the real thing?

The piece focused on how virtual reality is being used for adult entertainment and the potential implications, both negative and positive.

The article quotes me in my role as futurist and publisher of FutureofSex.net commenting on the developments and emerging possibilities:
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The increasing divergence in performance of organizations: why innovators own the future

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I have long pointed to the increasing divergence in performance of organizations as a dominant feature of today’s business landscape.

In short, as the pace of change accelerates organizations that are not changing fast enough are being left behind, while the front-runners are actively seizing the opportunities of change.

Recently more evidence has emerged to support this.
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5 steps to accelerating trust development

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Arguably trust is today more than ever at the heart of value creation in the economy. The development of trusting, high-value business relationships is not an accident, it can be done purposefully. Below is a still highly-relevant excerpt from Chapter 4 of my book Living Networks describing how to do this.

Accelerating trust development

Participating in the network economy requires very actively developing new and existing relationships with customers, suppliers, and partners. As you saw earlier in this chapter, companies’ external relationships are becoming both deeper and broader. Some firms do whatever seems right each time they take on a new customer, supplier, or alliance partner. Others have careful and detailed processes for building closer relationships that benefit both parties. IBM spends almost $1 billion on its alliance program for software developers, getting its return through the generation of over $4 billion in additional sales. It has a formal 40-step process that executives must go through with potential partners before signing an alliance agreement, including examining the fit with IBM, and getting a senior IBM executive to agree to act as an internal sponsor for the alliance.
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