Mapping the Path of Innovation


In a recent post, I asked my readers to help me identify those catalysts that force the actions required to steer our future towards advancing our human development. Feel free to respond to the Poll. The number one response was the rapid pace of innovation. That response supports my own opinion that the pace will ultimately force stakeholders across multiple domains to take action. Much like the Domain Convergence that occurred during our most Transformative Period in History, convergence is required if we are to take the correct path towards human flourishing.

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The Future of Retail


The National Retail Federation (NRF) kicked off it’s annual event this week, and with it comes an opportunity to consider the future of retail and the type of changes we might expect. Colleagues at Tata Consultancy Services (Kevin Mulcahy, Bill Quinn, and April Harris) pulled together their thoughts ahead of the event. You can explore the future of Retail via this Article, and/or the short video below.

Supply Chain of the Future: Humans Optional?


As science and technology continue their rapid advance, traditional constructs are challenged; Supply chains are no exception. Here is a brief video that highlights many of the advances that transform how we think about supply chains in the future. As it wraps up, a curated set of videos that touch on several of these advances is provided. Special thanks to Bill Quinn, Rose Castellon-Rodriguez, and Kevin Mulcahy for producing the video.

Be sure to visit the Reimagining the Future YouTube Channel to explore additional topics.

Artificial Intelligence Intersects with 3D Printing


In his second post in the series, Marshall Kirkpatrick focuses on the intersection between artificial intelligence and 3D Printing. By way of reminder, Marshall launched a 30 day series that explores the intersection between AI and various future scenarios anchored by my emerging futures visual.

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World Economic Forum – Deep Shift


A must read on six mega-trends, their tipping points and societal impacts. I recommend this for anyone with interest in where the world is heading, and/or tasked with future thinking in the context of strategy. I commend the World Economic Forum for their efforts here, as education is likely to spur action. The six mega-trends are:

  1. People and the internet
  2. Computing, communications and storage everywhere
  3. The Internet of Things
  4. Artificial intelligence (AI) and big data
  5. The sharing economy and distributed trust
  6. The digitization of matter

Here is a tipping point timeline from the report:

Tipping Points Timeline

Many leaders are struggling with the sheer number of future scenarios and some indication of when the tipping point may arrive. This material provides critical input into the scenario and response analysis process. Enjoy the read.

The Future Business Landscape


I expect the conversation regarding the Future of Business to intensify over the coming months. Evidence is mounting that business as usual is a thing of the past. In a recent post by SAP, they present ninety nine ways that digital will change business. As you look at the information presented, and see the number of shifts occurring at the same time, it’s hard to imagine a business landscape that weathers this storm unscathed. Here are examples of these shifts from the SAP post:

  • At the current turnover rate, 75% of the companies in the S&P 500 in 2027, will be new (companies not currently in index today)
  • By 2019, approximately one quarter of the entire U.S. workforce will be independent workers (self-employed, independent contractor, freelancer, temp contractor, etc.)
  • By 2030, 10% of the largest companies in the U.S. will be virtual corporations (less than 10% of their workers will be in an office at any point in time)
  • 50% of the U.S. Jobs lost in the 2008 recession were middle-skilled jobs, but only 2% of the jobs gained since then have been middle-skilled
  • By 2025, there will be 10 global virtual currencies that will be considered mainstream. Their combined market value will exceed $5 Trillion, and Bitcoin will still be the largest.
  • Private and commercial robot use will grow 2,000% from 2015 to 2030, creating a $190 billion market
  • By 2030, 2 billion jobs will disappear – roughly 50% of all the jobs on the planet – as a result of technology advances
  • 3D Printing usage will grow 2000% between 2015 and 2030
  • Purpose-driven and value-oriented organizations outperform their competition 15 to 1
  • By 2030, sensor use will grow 700,000%, solving nearly every human need such as cancer-killing chips
  • By 2020, information will reinvent, digitize, or eliminate 80% of business processes and products
  • Although 90% of companies view advanced and predictive analytics as important, less than 30% have currently deployed them, and only 30% have plans to do so
  • There will be more words written on Twitter in the next two years than contained in all books ever printed
  • By 2025, the total worth of IoT-enabled technology is expected to reach $6.2 trillion – most of that in healthcare (2.5 Trillion) and Manufacturing (2.3 Trillion)
  • Within the next five years, more than 90% of all data from IoT will be hosted in the Cloud, reducing the complexity of supporting IoT “Data Blending

Just a small sample (more via the link above) supporting the notion that the future of business could look considerably different than its past. I’ll pursue the future business landscape in up-coming posts.

Emerging Paradigms and the Future of Business


I had the pleasure of joining SAP’s Coffee Break with Game Changers Radio Show on August 5th.  This was my third appearance on the show, and I was joined by Futurist Gray Scott and SAP Global Innovation Evangelist Timo Elliott. The show titled “Emerging Paradigms and the Future of Business” was part two of a series that was expertly moderated by Bonnie D. Graham. Part one of the series was a discussion on Decentralization.

The show abstract: The pace and scale of change is hitting unprecedented levels. This presents unique challenges for the future of business. We’re seeing new and emerging paradigms, exciting innovations in energy, challenges due to resource scarcity, big implications for the climate and environment, an increasing blurring of physical and digital boundaries, growing business decentralization, exponential progression, and many more global drivers – all contributing to an uncertain future. Futurists worldwide, including our panellists, are examining these factors and assessing their potential business impact. Some of the critical questions to address:

  • What factors will shape our future?
  • What new leadership skills will be needed?
  • How will leaders deal with challenges and implications outside of their base of experience?

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Structural Change: Decentralization


I had the pleasure of joining The Digital World with Game Changers radio program for the second time this year. Joining me as panelists were Futurist Gray Scott and SAP Innovation Evangelist Timo Elliott. First, kudos to program host Bonnie D. Graham for doing a wonderful job keeping the discussion energized and interesting. The title of the session was Eating Disruption for Lunch: Digesting Decentralization. Now there’s a term not heard much outside of futurist circles. Decentralization is one of those structural changes that make what lies ahead so impactful. According to Wikipedia, decentralization is the process of redistributing or dispersing functions, powers, people, or things away from a central location or authority.

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Disruptive Power Lies at the Intersections


The content of this post was updated on February 16, 2017 in a new post titled Intersections Promise to Drive Multiple Paradigm Shifts


When I first started using the term “Combinatorial”, people thought I was making words up. Although I’d like to take credit for the word, I first came across it when reading The Second Machine Age, a fascinating book by Andrew McAfee and Eric Brynjolfsson. I remember thinking that it was a perfect word to capture the amplification of both innovation and its disruptive power. By now, readers of this Blog have seen the foundational Visual that describes the digital foundation, innovation accelerators, and disruptive scenarios. What the visual does not convey without the associated narrative is the power of combinatorial.

If we build on top of the visual, we begin to see the complexity at the intersections, the amplification of disruptive power, and the broad implications for the future.

intersections-and-amplification

The best way to describe this phenomenon is through examples, so let’s look at six combinatorial scenarios as an overlay. The visual is a bit overwhelming, so a better way to follow the various paths is via this PDF. Here is a description of each scenario. The numbers in the visual above map to the scenarios below, and the colors show the combinations: 

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The Maker Economy


“Any time you give the means of production to everybody, it changes the world.”   Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics

So it goes with the Maker Economy – otherwise referred to as the Maker Movement. According to Industry Analyst Jeremiah Owyang, the Maker Movement puts power in the hands of people to fund, design, prototype, produce, manufacture, distribute, market, and sell their own goods. According to youth market research firm Ypulse, 69% of millennials wish they could create a new product, and 81% would be interested in helping a company design one. This shift in production also shifts power from large, capital intensive enterprises to individual prosumers. As the focus on a next economy increases, so does the likelihood that it is driven by networks of prosumers versus large corporations.

This movement is not a future movement. According to the Infographic below, 135 million makers in America are already growing local economies and creating new jobs – contributing 18 million small businesses in the U.S. and accounting for two out of every three new jobs. When viewed through the lens of 3D Printing Forecasts, the future looks bright as well. One such forecast has the 3D Printing Industry becoming a $16 billion global industry within the next five years, with a 45.7 CAGR. It is also reviving the hardware sector, as VCs pumped $848 million into hardware start-ups in 2013 – nearly twice the prior record of $442 million set in 2012.

The Maker Movement

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A New Economic Paradigm?


Does the combination of emerging disruptive scenarios create a new economic paradigm? In The Zero Marginal Cost Society, Jeremy Rifkin describes a world where nearly free goods and services are enabled by the Internet of Things to drive a new paradigm that eclipses capitalism – the Collaborative Commons. It seems the exponential curve of technology is pushing the operating logic of Capitalism – which focuses on driving ever increasing levels of productivity – towards an extreme level of productivity. Its success could therefore be its undoing. I am a firm believer that this emerging period will ultimately be viewed as the most transformative of all time – but I must admit – I did not make this leap. While reading, I found myself focused on business model questions facing every industry – and through that lens, the story resonated with me. It prompted me to revise the anchor visual that I have used throughout this look at disruptive scenarios. I posed this simple question: does combinatorial innovation create a third curve?

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3D Printing


In my continued look at disruptive scenarios, the focus shifts to 3D printing. Growth in this key innovation is expected to accelerate to $10.8 billion by 2021 according to Goldman Sachs. The economic implications are significant: Research by McKinsey Global Institute suggests a possible impact of $550 billion per year by 2025. Some believe that 3D printing will play a crucial role in launching a third industrial revolution at a personalized level.

emerging-future

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The Second Machine Age and Business Evolution


I just finished reading a new book titled The Second Machine Age written by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson – both from MIT. The book is a must read for leaders everywhere. Its journey offers a view into the potential societal, economic, and business impact of technological advancement in the digital age. Although I am fascinated by each of these, my interest in summarizing this book is to connect their perspective to the future of business. Consistent with my recent disruption theme, the question is: how does the world that the authors envision impact the future of business?

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