Self Driving Delivery


The hype around autonomous technology continues. The focus, investment and rapid advancement in this space has changed the way leaders Think about the Future. The science-fiction feel of a future-focused discussion has disappeared – replaced by the reality that the future is appearing faster than we think. Look no further than self-driving delivery.

Delivery drones are a common area of focus; but the last-mile of delivery is likely to be solved in various ways. From sidewalk robots to self-driving delivery vehicles, there will be multiple ways to address that expensive last mile. It should be no surprise that the cost of delivery is driving Amazon to Automate. Automation is likely to creep in slowly,  as productivity gains and a drop in the working age population drives the agenda. It is likely to accelerate from there, opening up new automation frontiers along the way. Kroger is introducing self-driving delivery at two of its stores in Houston. This video describes this new mode of delivery.

Catalyst Poll Results


In a recent post on What to Expect in 2019, I launched three focus areas for the coming year. This focus attempts to identify the key drivers of change and the outcomes they enable. The three areas are:

  1. Convergence is one of the key dynamics I expect/hope to see more of this year. A century ago, convergence across multiple domains ushered in unprecedented advancements in human development. Multiple forces will drive a similar level of convergence in the coming decade.
  2. The pace of innovation and change is often cited as a key difference between the next revolution and prior ones. This is one of the key catalysts driving change, and I expect it to Accelerate.
  3. I believe the world will experience a burst of Possibilities enabled by these forces of convergence and acceleration

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Ecosystem Readiness


As the world continues its march towards platform-supported ecosystems, organizational readiness becomes a critical area of focus. Four facets of an organization contribute or detract from success in an ecosystem world:

  1. The mental models that drive an organization
  2. The lens in which an organization views value creation and capture
  3. The orientation of an organization – which in most cases is shareholder value
  4. The organization’s culture

The growth engine that ecosystems represent will serve as a forcing function, pushing Organizations to Mature across these key facets. For example, I firmly believe that over time, a transition occurs from shareholder value to stakeholder value. This transition places purpose at the center, with shared value at its core (Click on the Visual to expand).

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What catalysts force stakeholder actions that ultimately shape our emerging future?


One of our Lessons from History was the presence of catalysts that drove actions that ultimately shaped our future. The major catalysts of the second revolution were astounding levels of innovation, World War One, The Great Depression, World War Two, and the eventual democratization of innovation. What catalysts force stakeholder actions that ultimately shape our emerging future? Please help me build on this list and identify the most significant catalysts. Choose all catalysts that you feel will contribute – or add anything that I am missing. For a deeper description of catalysts, please see the lessons from history post.

Globalization 4.0


Within the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the World Economic Forum is focused on Globalization 4.0. We are actually approaching Globalization’s Third Act. In a book titled The Great Convergence, Author Richard Baldwin describes the three constraints that have limited globalization: the cost of moving goods, the cost of moving ideas, and the cost of moving people. The first two acts of globalization occurred when the cost of moving goods and ideas dropped. While globalization raised the standard of living in several developing economies, the third constraint limited the breadth of impact.

In his closing chapter, Mr. Baldwin explores the possibility of a third act. This act is driven by dramatic advancements in areas that address the third constraint. If the cost of moving people were to drop, developing nations like South America, Africa, and others could be the beneficiaries of this third act. Globalization 4.0That aside, the World Economic Forum is looking at global risks and the need for global solutions. They identified Six Questions that must be addressed to make the next wave of Globalization work for all. They correctly state that facing future challenges requires dialog and input from all. Kudos to them for driving the dialog. The six questions are:

  1. How do we save the planet without killing economic growth?
  2. Can you be a patriot and a global citizen?
  3. What should work look like in the future?
  4. How do we make sure technology makes life better not worse?
  5. How do we create a fairer economy?
  6. How do we get countries working together better?

A very good set of questions. You can see how people responded to them by going Here.

Reimagining the Future


Future thinking has often focused on a three-horizon framework that allows for the continued advancement of  core business, while planning for emerging opportunities. I believe the challenge these days is time compression associated with rapid advancement. When someone says to me: “I’m not worried about five years from now”, my reaction is always the same. What looks to be five years out is likely only 18 months away: A phenomenon I describe in this piece on Acceleration.

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Possibilities


As I reflected on my Thoughts for 2019, three themes stood out. I’ve already written about Convergence and Acceleration, so this post will focus on possibilities. As described recently, I believe the world will experience a Burst of Possibilities enabled by the forces of convergence and acceleration. We should expect these possibilities to multiply in 2019, but realization depends upon multiple factors. One of these factors is a true focus on purpose, posing this question for humanity: how do we harness these possibilities to bring about a better world?

Fourth Revolution Innovation WheelIn arguing the case for purpose-orientation and possibilities, I created this visual that maps future advancements to our areas of well-being (click on visuals to enlarge them). I could create a different one that shows how these same advancements can be used to diminish our well-being. That’s why convergence is the most critical theme among the three. An effective way to think about purpose and possibilities is via the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These are among the best-known and most frequently cited societal challenges. I believe we are entering a period of astounding innovation – advancements that have the potential to address these goals.

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