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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Will newspapers still exist in Australia in 2022? This morning their demise may have been accelerated

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While I don’t believe in predictions, I am in some quarters best-known for one of the only clear-cut predictions I have made, on the global timing of the extinction (or more precisely pending insignificance) of news-on-paper.

This morning’s news that the broadcaster Nine is “merging with” (essentially taking over) news publisher Fairfax to create Australia’s largest media company has sparked heated discussion on the future of the Australian media landscape.
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Free chapters to four books on the future of relationships, networks, organizations and work

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The four books I have written so far – Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, Living Networks, Implementing Enterprise 2.0, and Getting Results From Crowds – are linked by a number common themes. Most importantly they all focus on what what we should do now to create value given the evident trends shaping the future of business and society.

Most of these books had dedicated websites, however I have now consolidated all the resources on one book page on this site, giving access to free chapters, reviews, contents and other resources from each book. Please feel free to explore and download the resources.
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My new keynote speaker showcase video is out!

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As a keynote speaker it is essential to have a good showcase video that potential clients can watch to get a feel for your style. Virtually every keynote speaking client I’ve had for the last few years has watched mine.

My previous keynote speaker showcase video was getting rather dated, and it’s been long overdue for me to create a new one.

I’ve finally finished my new showcase video, after trawling through many videos of my keynotes, and selecting highlights to include.

Please check out my new showcase video below:

Let me know any thoughts or feedback!
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Balancing the productivity of focus and the excitement of unfocus

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I have a problem. I find it extraordinarily difficult to be focused.

The delight and enticement of all the possibilities of a rapidly evolving world are irresistible to me.

Pushing back at the startup mantra of focus

Having spent many years ensconced in startup communities I have heard over and over again the mantra of Focus Focus Focus.
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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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How platforms and automation are disrupting business

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Below is one of the short video interviews I did after my keynote on Business in the Age of AI at Oracle CloudWorld.

In it explain in brief my Vectors of Disruption framework and explain how automation and platforms are the primary aggregated forces disrupting business, society and government.


Below is a transcript of the video.
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The state of futures and foresight tertiary education globally

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After researching government agencies that use foresight as well as futurist associations, Ross Dawson and I have compiled a list of all the known university programs focused on strategic foresight and futures studies. Although we may have missed some courses that feature a class or two related to futures and foresight, we believe we have a comprehensive list of all the accredited tertiary futures and foresight degrees and diplomas that are active for 2018 plus a few short courses.

The list covers:

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‘Content Shock’ Puts Top Publishers at an Advantage

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The titanic eruption of web-based content has reached overload, and a consequent drop in reader engagement. The good news? In this new world of content saturation and falling social shares, the big winners are publishers that have built a strong reputation for original, authoritative content.

In a world where 40,000 articles a week covering Bitcoin were published online in December 2017 alone, the coining of the phrase “content shock” should come as no surprise.

The Content Trends 2018 research report from Buzzsumo, released in March, is based on a review of 100 million articles published on the web in 2017.

The results are sure to send the digital marketing world into a tailspin:

  • Social sharing of content has halved since 2015.
  • The days of viral posts gaining hundreds of thousands of shares are waning as the majority of content now receives zero backlinks.
  • New topic areas are rapidly becoming saturated with content.

The winners in the world wide web of ‘content shock’

In his foreword to the report, Mark Schaefer, author of The Content Code, claims credit for naming this “content shock” back in 2014. He had once seemed a lone voice in the wilderness —until now.

While there’s a battleground ahead for digital marketers and companies that invest heavily in content marketing, there’s also positive news for quality publishers. They are the ones reaping the rewards of an increasingly saturated and competitive online environment.

“Not all sites have seen a fall in content engagement,” reads the report. “We have seen some major publishers increase both their total and average shares.”

Two such sites bucking the downward trend are the Harvard Business Review and The Economist, both of which have experienced an increase in content sharing.

In fact, seven of the top 10 most shared articles on Harvard Business Review over the last five years were published in 2017. The average number of shares has also increased from 4,007 in 2015/16 to 4,506 in 2017.

Similarly, the two most shared posts from The Economist over the last five years were both published in 2017. For comparison, the median number of shares for posts published by The Economist in 2015 and 2016 was 43. However, in 2017 such social shares increased to 78.

It appears that increased content competition has not adversely affected these sites. Paradoxically, it may have helped them reinforce their position in a world of content saturation.

“If you are going to share something with your audience you want to make sure it is well researched and authoritative from a trusted source, thus it is possible people are more selective with their sharing,” states the report.

Profiting from partisanship and LinkedIn shares

Another long-standing publisher sticking out from the crowd is The New York Times., According to the Buzzsumo report, rising engagement with its content may largely be due to political reporting coupled with the trend of rising shares for partisan political content generally since 2015.

After Facebook changed its News Feed algorithm in 2017, most online publications saw a massive drop in social shares. However, The New York Times again sidestepped some hardship by gaining shares on a different platform.

According to the report: “We have also seen major publishers like The New York Times increase their LinkedIn shares, albeit this is still a small proportion of their overall shares. LinkedIn may represent a better opportunity for business to business [B2B] sites. Many businesses were building their presence on Facebook but the recent algorithm changes could prompt a renewed focus on LinkedIn.”

LinkedIn recently told Digiday that comments, likes, and shares on the platform are up more than 60% year over year. The Buzzsumo data also shows that while social engagement with content is falling on Facebook and Twitter, many B2B publishers, including Forbes.com and BusinessInsider.com, are seeing increases in social sharing on LinkedIn.

The trend with backlinks is also positive for quality news publishers. Overall, the median number of backlinks in Buzzsumo’s sample of 100 million posts published in 2017 was zero. However, the report found that backlinks were gained consistently by authoritative sites. For instance, the report states that for sites such as the Pew Research Center, the median number of backlinks per article was higher in 2017 than in previous years.

Good news for the future of online news?

To borrow from the financial lexicon, it appears we are witnessing a market correction in response to an oversupply of lower-quality content and overused formats like clickbait that have peaked and declined.

Reassuringly for news publishers, however, there is clearly rising demand for high-quality, well-researched, and reputable content. For publishers with an established track record of authority in specific topics, they seem poised to gain the most from this climate of “content shock.” Fledgling and lower-quality publications will want to focus on delivering top-notch content rather than resorting to gimmicky publishing tactics that have long-frustrated audiences.

In the end, the Buzzsumo report’s bleak look at social engagement in 2017 offers a glimmer of hope for the future of news online. Quality, not quantity will be rewarded, likely leading to a more productive competitive model that ultimately gives news consumers a better and more valued final product.

Image sources: Buzzsumo

The massive opportunity to convert data explosion into business value and rapid innovation

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I was recently interviewed for an article How we will learn to love big data for ICAS that explores the capabilities required to convert the extraordinary potential of data profusion into true business value.

The article was written for an accounting audience, however the issues are relevant to all professionals.

Indeed every company needs to find and develop professionals who can turn massive data into value, better decisions, and enhanced innovation, in particular by applying lean start-up thinking and methodologies to every aspect of the business.

Below are some excerpted quotes from the full article:
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