Game-Changers Radio Focuses on the Rising Billions


I enjoyed participating in another episode of Coffee Break with Game-Changers this morning. The show’s title was: The Digital Economy is about to get more connected: The Rising Billions. I hope you get the chance to listen to the rebroadcast. The show was expertly moderated by Bonnie D. Graham, and my fellow panelists included Dennison DeGregor, the Worldwide Group Executive for CX Services at HP, and Paul Donovan, Senior Director in Solution Management at SAP.

The show abstract: According to Peter Diamandis of Singularity University, the most dramatic (positive) change in our global economy is about to occur between 2016 and 2020. He says that 3 to 5 billion new consumers, who have never purchased anything, never uploaded anything and never invented and sold anything, are about to come online and provide a mega-surge to the global economy. He calls this group the “Rising Billions.”

Technology giants like Google, Facebook, and SpaceX are all working hard to make this happen, and when it does, connectedness will take on new meaning. What will it mean to have a connected business in 2020? Now is the time for your company to begin addressing the fast-approaching era of hyper-connectivity in your business networks and turn it into sustainable growth opportunities. If you thought you were challenged to create the “The Internet of Me” today, that challenge is about to get much more complex.

A quick synopsis of my participation: 

I chose the following quote by Peter Diamandis, Founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation, co-founder and executive chairman of Singularity University

“Three billion new minds are about to join the global conversation”

My thoughts on the rising billions are captured in the discussion statements I submitted to the moderator:

  • The rising billions have broad implications. Not only do they represent economic opportunity, but completely new ways of doing things. This human cloud contributes entrepreneurship, ideas, innovation, skills, capacity, insight, passion, financing, learning and more. They represent new markets, creating a $30 trillion consumption opportunity by 2025 – mostly in emerging markets, and often times in places we have never heard of. How do we leverage them, and how do we exploit the market opportunity?
  • This human cloud will contribute to an innovation explosion, the likes we’ve never seen
  • The rising billions give new meaning to the Internet of Me, which is about context, personalization, and edge effectiveness. While the explosion of data and consumer technologies are enabling mechanisms, they bring a new, unprecedented level of complexity
  • One of the greatest challenges in this hyper-connected world is the need to quickly understand emerging needs. The rapid pace of innovation puts a premium on understanding these emergent needs and responding with speed
  • The complexity of this hyper-connected world places a premium on interfaces and engagement. Uber shows us the value of interfaces and algorithms within a complex ecosystem
  • This growth in connectedness further drives an externalization phenomenon epitomized by ecosystems. This drives more complexity, as the number of shareholders multiplies via a growing connected crowd

The show always closes with predictions for 2020. As it relates to the rising billions, here are my predictions:

  • In the next four years, this exploding online community will challenge traditional beliefs and ways of doing things. The effectiveness of the rising billions will have proven itself in the form of an innovation explosion, a greater voice in matters of government, problem solving, peer-to-peer support, and productivity among other things
  • At the same time, a greater divide will form between those that can effectively leverage this growing online community and those stuck in traditional thinking. We will continue to see a movement away from owning all the smart people to accessing the intelligence of the crowd in ways that create value. Whether it’s policy making, tapping into expertise, or a breadth of ideas, many will be challenged to exploit this phenomenon
  • The growth of hyper-connectivity and urbanization in emerging markets by 2020 will drive a realization that traditional approaches in accessing these markets do not work. It will have caused many of our intuitions to reset