Notes on the future of distributed work and organizations


I am sitting in the lounge at Sydney airport, about to fly to San Francisco. It is the ease of the iPad that allows me to put up this post on the fly.

I came straight to the airport from a media panel organized by Cisco to follow up on their Connected World research study. Below are the notes I managed to catch on my iPad as we spoke..

The panellists were:
Senator Kate Lundy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
Jacob Murray-White, Head of Salmat’s Customer Solutions at Home Programme
Fernanda Afonso, National Chair of Australian Psychological Society and Specialist, Freehills.
Ross Dawson, Futurist

Les Williamson, Managing Director of Cisco Australia, told the story of how Cisco was born from love. Two academics at Stanford University were in a relationship, but worked on opposite sides of the campus. They created a multi-protocol router to communicate, started building them commercially in a garage, got funded, and grown spectacularly since then.

Below are live notes from the panel. I haven’t attributed them as they sometimes bring together comments from several people or my interpretation. It was a fascinating discussion.
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12th Annual Self-Employed and Entrepreneurs Xmas Drinks – Sydney – Drinks sponsors welcome!


This is the now the 12th year that I and some of my friends are running the Self-Employed and Entrepreneurs Xmas Drinks in Sydney. It began when I and many of my friends didn’t have the glamorous and social (i.e. more than one person!) Christmas parties of the employed, so decided to celebrate together.

So, if you are self-employed, an entrepreneur, or work for a micro-business or start-up we’d be delighted if you joined us. Those who are employed but have friends who are self-employed are also very welcome – this is all about having a fun time!

Date: Tuesday, 21 December, 2010

Location: Front bar, Centennial Hotel, 88 Oxford Street, Woollahra, Sydney

Time: 6pm – 9pm

There is a Facebook page for the event if you’d like to check it out or say you’re coming.

Drinks and nice pizzas are available for purchase at the bar.

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Australian government releases Government 2.0 Primer


The Australian government is gaining momentum in its Government 2.0 initiatives, marked today by the launch by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) of a handy Government 2.0 Primer.

The Report of the Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce was submitted in December 2009. Although the Taskforce chairman Nicholas Gruen had earlier noted that Australian Government 2.0 initiatives were significantly behind countries such as the US and UK, the report and the government response impressed Gartner sufficiently to say “if the Aussies walk the talk, they have a very good chance to be the real leaders in the Gov 2.0 / Open Government race.”

Since then, the Declaration of Open Government by the Finance Minister (with comments enabled!) has pushed the ante up.

The primer is exactly what it says, a compact guide to Government 2.0 for neophytes, in the spirit of Gov 2 released early to be subsequently refined.


Source: Department of Finance and Deregulation

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Corporate blogging: not easy but a powerful way to connect with customers and stakeholders


The current issue of Australia Post’s Priority magazine has a feature section on ‘Blogging… Friend or Foe’, comprising four brief articles offering different perspectives from a lawyer, an academic, a digital strategist, and myself as ‘business advisor/ futurist’.

Here’s my piece:

Recent data shows Australians spend more time engaging with social media than any other nation. And yet few Australian companies have tapped the power of blogging and social media.

Back in 2002, I started my own business blog – Trends in the Living Networks – and, at the time, it was evident to me that these new platforms for communication could change the way that companies engaged with their customers, business partners and investors.

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The top tweets from Future of Crowdsourcing Summit 2010 #foc10


Things have been crazy for me for a little while now. It’s now two weeks since Future of Crowdsourcing Summit 2010, and I am only just now able to download some of what happened at the event. The feedback from participants at the Summit has been consistently excellent, and we have been keen to share some of the great insights at the event with the world at large.

We do not have full video of the event, however we do have audio, and we will be sharing that before long, together with some written excerpts from what the speakers said. In the meantime, here is a small selection of some of the more interesting tweets from the event. (Note that since Twitter search only goes up to 10 days ago, I have retrieved the tweets from Topsy, which has an excellent search though I’m not sure that it has captured all of the twitterstream.)

You’ll notice some emerging themes from these tweets – I’ll expand on some of these later.

@bhc3: #foc10 Winsor: Victors & Spoils are developing reputation ratings for creatives based on their crowdsourcing contributions.

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Looking for Amazing Multi-Talented Content Project Manager/ Editor/ Web Dev – Part-time – Sydney


Things are crazy busy here, with lots of great stuff on the boil. While our businesses have always been primarily about content, we are starting to make some of these activities more scaleable. As such we’re looking for someone to help us on that journey.

Below is the ad on If you can think of anyone who would be perfect for the role and interested in this, please let them know!

Amazing Multi-Talented Content Project Manager/ Editor/ Web Dev – Part-time – Sydney

Apply your awesome talent and intelligence to cutting-edge highly visible content projects: reports, web, iPad, events and more: part-time/ flexible

• We are looking for someone extremely talented at content creation and projects

• Drive cutting-edge content projects with global visibility

• Working on reports, online media, iPad apps, and/ or software dev – whatever you’re best at

• Based in Sydney’s digital hub Surry Hills – part-time and highly flexible hours

We want talent!

We believe in talent. We want someone exceptional. Rather than a particular skill set, we are looking for a very special person who has outstanding capabilities at language, technology, and ideas, can run effective projects, and add a lot of value to what we do.

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Thoughts on the future of workplace communication


Earlier today I spoke on a live webcast on the Future of Workplace Communication as part of Viocorp’s Future Forum series.

I took notes during the panel session and posted these live on my blog right after the event. I took notes while the other panellists were speaking: Nicky Wakefield, head of human capital at Deloitte, Philip Cronin, general manager of Intel Australia, and Oscar Trimboli, head of the information workers group at Microsoft.

I wasn’t able to take notes while I was speaking myself, so having had a look at the panel discussion which is now archived and can be viewed at the Viocorp site (requires registration), I’ve written out some of what I said during the discussion.

10:50 – 14:00

Workplace is not a good term to refer to the future – people will be working from anywhere so workplaces will have less impact than they have today. In the bigger context we also have to question whether organizations as we know them today will exist. Transaction costs are going down, meaning that moving forward, organizations will have to justify why they exist. There will be many business models bringing together loosely coupled talent and processes.

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Tech23: showcasing the best of Australian start-ups


Rachel Slattery’s second Tech23 event is coming up on 19 August in Sydney, providing a showcase for the best start-ups in Australia.

I was able to spend some of the day at last year’s event, and blogged about the showcase and the SaaS/ In the Cloud session.

I had been thinking that Australia needed a good tech showcase, and after our Top 100 Web 2.0 Apps in Australia list and event I was considering running one. However with Tech23 doing a great job there was no need.

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Atlassian makes its Enterprise 2.0 ambitions clear – raises $60 million in first ever external funding


Big news: Australian enterprise software company Atlassian, creators of popular wiki Confluence, project tracking platform Jira and other innovative software, has just raised $60 million from Accel Partners in what Wall Street Journal reports as a ‘growth equity’ round.

Atlassian has been entirely bootstrapped with no external funding to date, making it one of the larger companies in that situation, given its $59 million revenue in the last financial year. The reasons given for the funding round are to fund expansion in Europe and Asia, acquisitions, and to give liquidity to its employees, who all have stock options. Similarly, Microsoft’s CFO at the time of their IPO said that they didn’t need the money but mainly wanted to give their employees a way to participate easily in the company’s success.

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Population growth, urbanization, and the future of regional centers


On the weekend Australia’s freshly minted Prime Minister Julia Gillard said “I don’t believe in a big Australia,” in an about face from her predecessor Kevin Rudd’s vision of strong population growth for the country.

As a futurist I have been increasingly drawn into this discussion, given that immigration is one of the most fundamental levers shaping the future of countries. I have discussed the coming rise of gerontocracy, the uncertainties in Australia’s demographic future, and was interviewed on the social impact of population growth in ABC TV’s special series on Australia’s future.

I was interviewed this morning about Gillard’s comment on ABC Ballarat, a town which is the hub of one of the largest regional centers in Australia. Non-urban regions have a particularly interesting perspective on population growth.

On the one hand, in the face of the inexorable global trend of urbanization, regional areas are consistently losing their youth and talent to the allure of cities. Concerted efforts are being made to revitalize the economies and culture of regions.

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