Republic 2.0 Added to Emerging Future Visual


In a recent book titled The Future of Work, author Darrell M. West describes the Work 2.0 scenario on this emerging future visual. In exploring possible implications of a shifting work paradigm, he gets prescriptive about possible responses. This implication-response exercise sits at the heart of Future Thinking.

No one can predict this complex and uncertain future – but exercises like this help us see possible futures. In seeing them, we position ourselves to proactively shape them. In the context of work, Mr. West explores several possible responses, including another future scenario which he calls Republic 2.0. How this scenario plays out has a direct impact on the path of other scenarios. The scenario speaks to a new kind of politics. Mr. West states:

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The Future of Work


Book - The Future of Work

I just added another very good book to the Book Library: The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation. Author Darrell M. West looks at a world in which our current views of work change. He explores the implications to our social contract and the policy decisions so critical to revising that contract for a new era. Structural change – which Mr. West explores in the book – has long been a tenet of my work. The future of many of our institutions will either change by our proactive acknowledgement that they must change – or they will be undermined.

The conversation so nicely positioned by our author is one that must happen at all levels of leadership. This does not have to be a Utopian versus Dystopian discussion. Rather, like the major disruptive periods of our past, leaders need to lead.

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Birth Rates, Workers, and Volatility


I wrote about a recent analysis conducted by Bain & Company in an earlier post on the Turbulent 2020s and what it means for the 2030 and beyond. An interesting related exchange on Twitter focused on the impact of birth rates on the core issues of demographics, automation, and growth.

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The Journey Continues


It’s been over a year since launching an Online Course focused on a complex and uncertain future. The course takes a Journey through the Looking Glass – a metaphorical expression that means: on the strange side, in the twilight zone, in a strange parallel world. It comes from the Alice and Wonderland literary work of Lewis Carroll, where he explores the strange and mysterious world Alice finds when she steps through a mirror. I have always found this to be a perfect metaphor for our times.

Every time the looking glass has appeared, the world has experienced a Tipping Point. While I firmly believe a tipping point is coming, the impact is likely a question of severity. Some believe that we have survived similar economic transitions in the past, while others disagree:

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The Strategic Foundation


In my last post, I explored the evolution of business in the industrial age. This Fourth Iteration of Business establishes resilience on a foundation of automation and intelligence. Resilience may be more important than the productivity gains that are sure to be realized as we progress towards Business 4.0, providing the capacity to recover quickly as the pace of shifts accelerates. This visual represents a strategic foundation for Business 4.0.

The Strategic Foundation

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The Fourth Iteration of Business in the Industrial Age


The evolution of business in the industrial age has mirrored the progression of three industrial revolutions; moving us from its first iteration to our current form. The emerging Fourth Industrial revolution ushers in another shift, culminating in something that likely looks much different than its predecessors. A brief look at this journey shows us the linkage:

Iteration One: The first industrial revolution introduced mechanization and had significant impacts on business and the labor force. Business in this period was transformed, as the steam engine enabled us to replace human and animal-based muscle with machines.

Iteration Two: Several forces converged during the second revolution to elevate our standard of living. The post-war period that followed was defined by a high level of consumption that drove business in the mass production era. Henry Ford famously said: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”

Iteration Three: The third industrial revolution revolved around information technology, electronics, and communications, ushering in a period of computerization and automation. Businesses were once again transformed through significant gains in productivity and a shift away from Henry Ford era standard products to more customization.

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The Turbulent 2020s and what it Means for 2030 and Beyond


In a recent insights report, authors Karen Harris, Austin Kimson and Andrew Schwedel look at macroeconomic forces and their impact on labor in 2030. The Collision of Demographics, Automation and Inequality will shape the 2020s – a collision that is already in motion. By 2030, the authors see a global economy wrestling with a major transformation, dominated by an unusual level of volatility. Here’s a summary of these three forces:

AN AGING WORKFORCE

As the global workforce ages rapidly, our authors forecast a slowing of U.S. labor force growth to 0.4% per year in the 2020s, thereby bringing an end to the abundance of labor that has fueled economic growth since the 1970s. Even as longer, healthier lives allow us to work into our sixties and beyond, it is not likely to offset the negative effects of aging populations. This labor force stagnation will slow economic growth, with negative side effects including surging healthcare costs, old-age pensions and high debt levels. On the positive side, supply and demand dynamics could benefit lagging wages for mid-to-lower skilled workers in advanced economies through the simple economics of greater demand and lesser supply – but that leads to their second major force: automation.

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The Automation of Everything


In a Post from 2014, I explored the path of automation and a possible economic impact between $14 and $30 trillion. Almost four years later, my focus has shifted from economic to societal impact. How far will we take automation? Will automation augment us, freeing us from mundane and redundant tasks, or will it replace us? Is automation limited to those characteristics we typically associate with our left brain – or will it encroach upon our right brain characteristics?

These questions currently have no answer – just speculation. How far the slider in the visual below goes, drives a profound difference in the ultimate implications to society. The obvious area of impact is the future of work – if we do indeed realize decentralized autonomous organizations. Do our right brain characteristics become much more important in this future world, and do they represent a safe haven? I show three very impactful examples in presentations that would have us question whether or not machines can be creative, compassionate, and eventual companions.

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Tipping Points in Human History


I’ve been talking lately about the two main tipping points in human history: from hunter-gatherer to agriculture, and agriculture to our industrial society. That second tipping point beginning about 1760 ushered in three revolutions. The First Industrial Revolution  saw the rise of iron and textile industries and the mechanization of production through the use of water and the steam engine. This second tipping point saw a reduction in physical labor and a shift in where new forms of labor were required. The Second Industrial Revolution started in 1870,  riding advances such as electricity, telephone and the internal combustion engine to drive rapid industrialization and globalization. A massive disruption followed, as established sectors were eliminated and new ones emerged.

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Human Traits in an Exponential World


Our exponential world puts increasing pressure on our capacity to innovate and the speed and quality of idea flow. This dynamic coupled with the speed at which automation is likely to occur brings our right brain characteristics front and center. Creativity, imagination, big picture vision, emotional and social intelligence, empathy, and other human characteristics are critical to navigating in this emerging future. As automation accelerates, these human traits become even more critical. In a recent report by Citi on Technology at Work, the authors point to our propensity for social interaction, communication, and empathy being something machines can never replace.

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The Growth of the Autonomous Car Market


In the last three years, I have written about the emerging Mobility Ecosystem and its Disruptive Potential. In 2016, we witnessed the acceleration of this future scenario and the movement from science fiction to something that feels very real. Here is a great infographic that looks broadly at the autonomous car market, the many financial, practical and scientific challenges involved in the development of these vehicles, and these other topics:

  • The history of autonomous cars
  • The challenges involved in engineering the coveted autonomous car
  • How DARPA have been involved in testing driverless cars
  • The advent of Google X
  • The science behind autonomous vehicles
  • What the future holds for the autonomous car market
  • Which car brands have driving patents for autonomous vehicles
  • The projected launch date for driverless card (for test or commercial purpose)
  • Projected market penetration of autonomous cars in the UK
  • SAE levels explained

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2017 Predictions


“I am blown away by how palpable the feeling of exponential change has become. I’m also certain that 99.999% of humanity doesn’t understand or appreciate the ramifications of what is coming”

-Peter Diamandis

On Wednesday January 4th, I participated in a Game Changers radio program focused on predictions for 2017. The program, hosted by Bonnie D. Graham, included 15 other guests in an hour long show made up of four segments. A rebroadcast can be found here.

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Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Renewable Energy and More


The airwaves are filled with talk of exponential technologies like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Renewable Energy and more. In addition, societal factors that influence or are influenced by technology are getting more attention. So what’s the buzz?

Blockchain

An article on Blockchain uses eight visuals to describe The Future of Blockchain and provides a Financial Services adoption timeline. The adoption scenario predicts that Blockchain will move past the Innovators phase in 2016 and reach 13.5 percent of early adopters within financial services. The tipping point is then expected to happen in 2018, as the early majority begins to see benefits realized by early adopters, and new models emerge. The growth phase lasts until 2025 when Blockchain goes main stream within financial services. This visual from the article captures the adoption cycle.

Blockchain Adoption Timeline

A separate piece by Mckinsey focuses on Blockchain in Insurance. A key take away from this report is that Blockchain is yet another example of an ecosystem growing beyond traditional industry.

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Next Generation Productivity


In a recent post, I focused on a series of emerging shifts and the transformation pillars that enable a re-imagined future. In this post, I will dive into one of those pillars: next generation productivity. According to Wikipedia, productivity is an average measure of the efficiency of production. It can be expressStalled Productivityed as the ratio of output to inputs used in the production process. In a recent Citi Report, they describe the significant slowing of labor productivity growth, which drives a focus on next generation gains. But In spite of technological progress and innovation, measured productivity growth is low by historical comparison. They cite these  growth statistics across advanced economies.

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The Modern Workforce: Four Crucial Shifts


Here is the summary of a recent article I wrote for the Insurance Innovation Reporter. Please visit their site to see the full Article.

Accelerating advancements in science and technology have set the foundation for massive shifts in the decades ahead, yet we continue to operate on a platform meant for a different time. This platform has hit a productivity wall, and a new emerging platform has changed the expectations of those we engage with. As they advance, these shifts will challenge our long held beliefs and intuition, while changing long standing business models across industries. In the face of this, organizations must unlearn what they know and embrace new ways of thinking. This is especially important in our approach to the workforce and the evolution of our management paradigm. How we lead the modern workforce will require change, and it starts with four crucial shifts: embrace a new way of working, move towards a collaborative management paradigm, value human characteristics, and plug into the emerging platform.

Technology, Social Change, and Future Scenarios


If we are to Think about the Future in a way that helps us thrive in that future, we must excel at connecting dots. I developed the Future Scenarios visual in an attempt to help visualize the dots, as well as the various intersections that amplify the impact of those dots. In parallel with this scenario view, I have looked at various aspects of social change that both influence and impact these scenarios – and vice versa – but until now, those views were separate. Convergence is occurring not just across the technology and future scenario curves, but also the various aspects of social change. So in the interest of maximizing future thinking impact, I have combined the two views and will describe a connecting the dots scenario. First, the new future scenario visual:

emerging-future

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2016 Predictions


On Wednesday December 16th, I will participate in another Game Changers radio program with host Bonnie D. Graham. She will be joined by 16 guests that will share their predictions for 2016. To prepare for the show, I pulled together my predictions across six broad categories. These predictions are a mixture of leading indicators and hope. Here it goes…

Emerging Platform

Digital today has a bolt-on feel to it. Dominated by Marketing, the initial focus was channel oriented, isolated in nature, and layered on top of that which existed. It expanded to support a narrow customer experience and efficiency agenda. I say narrow, because digital is primarily applied to existing process, as opposed to leveraged to re-imagine process. As the main digital forces converge (Social, Mobil, Big Data, Analytics, and Cloud), a platform emerges to enable re-imagination. Yet Digital to date remains isolated on two levels: within company silos and across the main forces.

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Future Scenarios


In my recent post on the Future Business Landscape, I shared predictions pulled together by SAP. The sources for this type of information are multiplying, which for me signals the start of a growing focus on the future of business. With this post, I am launching a series that delves into what that future might look like, starting in a logical place with future scenarios. This visual representing a series of paradigm shifts has anchored my thinking for some time, and sits at the heart of this future.

 emerging-future

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Expanding Disruptive Scenarios


The pace of change is such that no forward looking visual can stay static for too long. I have therefore updated the anchor visual that looks at the digital platform, the innovation accelerators, and the disruptive scenarios that result from the convergence of societal progression, science, and technology. It is impossible to capture the current environment in one visual, but I hope what has been captured drives a clear message: there is a lot happening, on a rapid pace, and its convergent effects are multiplicative. There are several changes to the visual, and my thanks to the authors of The Future of Business for their inspiration:

emerging-future

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