Keynote speech on Creating the Future of Business


Yesterday I gave a keynote on Creating the Future of Business at the Q400 Business Summit in Brisbane, which was themed Future Shocks. The feedback was fantastic; I’m hoping to be able to post a video of my presentation soon.

One of the key themes of my presentation was the Open Economy, in which everything is laid out open, across business processes, visibility, transparency, borders, industry boundaries and more. One of the stories I used was that of Goldcorp, which I told briefly in my book Living Networks, in the context of business applications of open source models:

Open source thinking can be applied to completely different domains in business. Rob McEwen, chairman and CEO of Canadian gold miner Goldcorp, believed his company’s 55,000 acre stake had massive potential, but didn’t know how to access it. When attending an information technology seminar at MIT, McEwen drew inspiration from the session on open source software. He did what was previously unthinkable in the mining community—exposing all of their geological data online, and announcing a competition for the best analysis of where they should mine next. All four mines the company has drilled on the winners’ advice have hit high-grade ore.

Since then, the story has appeared in many different contexts, including being used as the opening example in Don Tapscott’s excellent book Wikinomics, and in Procter & Gamble’s internal communications promoting their open innovation initiatives. It remains a good inspiration for open business initiatives. It is told in more detail by Fast Company magazine.

Some of the other topics I covered in the speech were the acceleration of the global economy, how it is now impossible for businesses to hide, non-zero sum thinking, the role of competent jerks in organizational networks, and the characteristics of high-performers.