Next Generation Education


The World Economic Forum estimates 65 per cent of children today will end up in careers that don’t even exist yet.

“Individuals and companies that succeed in the future will be those who adopt the philosophy of lifelong learning,” says Nigel Heap, managing director of Hays UK and Ireland. “Businesses that facilitate the resources, tools and time to support learning will not only have employees who are more engaged, but their business will be better placed to face challenges and remain innovative.”

From the Future of Learning


I’ve attempted to link innovation and our well-being via a visual that I’ve shared previously in this forum. It allows us to envision our emerging future and leverage story telling techniques to describe it in ways that become actionable. One of the most critical aspects of this emerging future in my humble opinion is the future of learning and education.

Reimagining Education

Our education system must prepare individuals for the world that is, not the one that was. It must ensure that those educated embody the qualities and competencies essential to life in a society very different than our industrial past. Among them are: creativity, critical thinking, innovative thinking, curiosity, social intelligence, a collaborative spirit, adaptability, entrepreneurial spirit, connecting dots, and knowing how to ask the right questions. Our need for life-long learning and unlearning drives us to reimagine education and transform through combinatorial innovations that leverage AI, Mobile, Cloud, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Big Data, and more. Some of the facets of next generation education include:

Continue reading

Cyberwar, De-Extinction, and Precision Agriculture


I’m wrapping up another book titled The Industries of the Future. Author Alec Ross explains the advances and stumbling blocks that emerge in the next ten years, and describes a way to navigate them. He is one of America’s leading experts on innovation, serving four years as Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Mr. Ross is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University. His book identified three future scenarios that I have added to the visual below. These scenarios are Cyberwar, Precision Agriculture, and De-Extinction.

emerging-future

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Business Evolution


This Presentation tells the full business evolution story articulated below.

Several key drivers have positioned the next two decades to deliver a staggering – perhaps unprecedented – amount of change. The accelerating pace of business, the growing impact of digital, and several other major indicators suggest that a next generation enterprise is on the horizon. The first of these indicators is the level of societal change impacting everything from business to war. In the business world, the implications of this change can be seen in our employees, where for the first time in history, four generations of workers are in our work force. The associated challenges are coming into focus, as some of these workers are digital natives, but the vast majorities are digital immigrants. With customers, the shift of power to the individual has changed their role forever and placed them at the center of the company ecosystem. Other indicators include an intense focus on growth, which increasingly requires collaboration within and outside the four walls of the Enterprise. This growth agenda drives a new type of value ecosystem, enabling growth that in many cases is outside a company’s traditional business.

Continue reading

IBM Report on Analytics


In October, IBM released a report from their Institute for Business Value titled Analytics – A Blueprint for Value. IBM releases these reports on a periodic basis, and this one is focused on the growing importance of analytics to business success. Through their analysis, they came up with nine levers that represent the sets of capabilities that most differentiated leaders exhibit:

  1. Culture: Availability and use of data and analytics within an organization
  2. Data: Structure and formality of the organization’s data governance process and the security of its data
  3. Expertise: Development of and access to data management and analytic skills and capabilities
  4. Funding: Financial rigor in the analytics funding process
  5. Measurement: Evaluating the impact on business outcomes
  6. Platform: Integrated capabilities delivered by hardware and software
  7. Source of value: Actions and decisions that generate results
  8. Sponsorship: Executive support and involvement
  9. Trust: Organizational confidence

Continue reading

The Future of Business


This list of 99 Facts pulled together by SAP continues to build the case for inevitable change. The title of this SAP presentation  is “The Future of Business”. Here are some of the key facts from various sources. There are embedded links in the content that take you to the source documents. Enjoy.

Continue reading

Blurring the Boundaries


This current executive presentation captures the breadth of the digital enterprise transformation series. It can be found on SlideShare – appropriately titled Blurring the Boundaries.

The presentation is a call to action for leaders everywhere. A slide in the deck asks the question: as status quo thinking prevails, what drives action? The first half of the presentation builds the case for action. The second half describes a framework to enable that action.

Digital Enterprise Transformation – Wrap Up


Over the last three months, I have presented a framework for thinking about transforming the enterprise to the type of enterprise that can succeed in the year 2020 – What I call a digital enterprise.

Throughout this multi-part transformation series, I have focused on those forcing functions that push us to transform – the drivers that stir us to action. Old models that were created for another time cannot lead us into this future – we must think differently. We must invent the models that define business in the decades ahead.

So, I wrap up this closer look at transformation with the hope that I’ve convinced you in some small way that we are indeed heading towards what is likely to be the most transformative period in history. My hope is that leaders everywhere think differently to usher in a period of prosperity and societal advancement. Instead of talk of disruption, let us talk of enablement and advancement. May we each have the wisdom, vision and courage to lead in this emerging transformative period.

For a review of this entire transformation series, here is an intro and link to each of the prior posts. As a reminder, forcing functions are those things that force the enterprise to invest in a future state. The enablers are those facilitators of change that allow us to address the forcing functions and build a path towards the future. Click on the underlined title to access each post.

Continue reading

A Closer Look at Transformation: Sense and Respond Systems


Next up in this transformations series is the sixth enabler: sense and respond systems. These systems are critical to the transformation agenda, as most of the disruptive technologies likely to impact the enterprise in the next decade have data at its core. The resulting data explosion promises to complicate information management for most companies. As the speed of business accelerates and the amount of data flowing through company ecosystems expands, the need to sense stimuli and enable a real time response intensifies. Fortunately, rapid advancements in the price and performance of technology make realizing this sense and respond paradigm achievable and economical for a wide range of use cases – but this is arguably one of the most difficult components of transformation road maps.

Continue reading

MIT Big Data Panel Discussion


In May, I participated in a Big Data panel discussion at the 2013 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. The panel was moderated by Tom Davenport, Harvard Professor and co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics. The panel participants aside from myself were:

  • Annabelle Bexiga, CIO, TIAA-CREF
  • Jack Norris, CMO, MapR
  • Keith Collins, SVP, CIO & CTO, SAS Institute
  • Michael Chui – Senior Fellow, Mckinsey Global Institute

This was a very good discussion on the potential of Big Data and the possible direction it takes in the future. Michael Chui did a great job with his opening remarks, referencing this Mckinsey Report and using examples from it. This report, which I have mentioned previously, focuses on major disruptive technology. It is interesting to hear the perspectives (and sometimes biases) of these industry players. It’s an hour and ten minutes long, with some very good audience questions.

A Closer Look at Transformation: Societal Change


The next focus area in this closer look at transformation is the fifth and perhaps most critical forcing function: societal change. Wikipedia refers to societal change as an alteration in the social order of a society, including changes in nature, social institutions, social behaviors, or social relations. The base of such change is change in the thought process of humans. Digital is the primary driver of a societal change not seen since the first industrial revolution, impacting every aspect of society from business to war. It was digital (Internet) that accelerated globalization, and now the broader digital platform allows even a start-up to be global upon inception.

Continue reading

A Closer Look at Transformation: Differentiation


Continuing with this closer look at transformation, part three focuses on differentiation; the fourth forcing function. Differentiation is a process that showcases the differences between products and services. It looks to make an offering more attractive by contrasting its unique qualities with other competing offerings. Successful differentiation should create competitive advantage, as customers view these offerings as unique or superior. In his piece on The Future of Enterprise IT, Geoffrey Moore, famous author of “Crossing the Chasm” describes the global business dynamics (Slide 10) that places differentiation at the center of a virtuous (perhaps vicious) cycle. His key message is that globalization and rapid commoditization are placing greater emphasis on differentiation, especially in developed economies.

Continue reading

A Closer Look at Transformation: Effectiveness & Efficiency


In part two of this closer look at transformation, we will focus on two forcing functions: effectiveness and next generation efficiency. As a reminder, forcing functions are those things that force the enterprise to invest in a future state. In the case of efficiency, the next phase in the search for gains is upon us, as companies have hit the efficiency wall. But something bigger is happening, as the pace of business will increasingly demand that we are not just efficient – but effective. Whereas the past was about re-engineering, the future is about re-imagining.

Continue reading

Digital Enterprise Road Map Series: Part 6 – Insight


Part six wraps up our Digital Enterprise road map series with a focus on moving insight delivery from descriptive to prescriptive. Throughout this series, I have stressed the importance of analytic excellence to long term success. But current methods such as traditional business intelligence (BI) focus on reporting and analysis that seeks to answer questions related to past events – what happened. Advanced analytics seeks to answer questions such as: why is this happening, what if these trends continue, what will happen next (predict), and what is the best that can happen (prescribe). There is a growing view that prescribing outcomes is the ultimate role of analytics. To accomplish this, analytic initiatives need to leverage an insight-action-outcome framework that starts by defining outcome-enabling insight and ends with a focus on data provisioning.

Continue reading

Digital Transformation


A new short Video featuring Tonya McKinney and I is now available on the TCS website. The focus of the video is the broadening role that Digital will play in the future enterprise. It’s no secret that I still see too many companies limiting their digital perspective to Marketing. Digital will eventually be viewed as the biggest disruptive force business has ever seen. Yet so many companies still have a business as usual view of the world. You can read about our perspective on the critical path forward via this Blog or through the TCS Perspective Series.

Digital Enterprise Road Map Series: Part 5 -Effectiveness


In part five of our Digital Enterprise road map series, we focus on business effectiveness. Efficiency dominated the last two decades with a focus on doing things in the right manner. But the next decade brings an increased focus on doing the right things – also known as effectiveness. The overarching goal of effectiveness is to drive desired outcomes and encourage innovation to meet enterprise goals. This simple statement has far reaching implications and represents one of the strongest drivers of enterprise change in this next decade. If I were to place one long term bet, it would be on the enablers of enterprise effectiveness.

Continue reading

Digital Enterprise Road Map Series: Part 4 – Systems of Engagement


Geoffrey Moore introduced the Systems of Engagement concept about two years ago. This vision for the future of Information Technology is gaining broader acceptance – but a surprising number of executives are blind to the coming sea change. Is it hype or reality? For me, this question boils down to one certainty: traditional companies must infuse their organizations with digital DNA – and I believe systems of engagement accomplish this. They raise Digital DNA quotients by using consumer technology to make companies more effective. This notion of effectiveness is a key shift from a two decade long focus on efficiency. That’s not to say the importance of efficiency has diminished, in fact I’d say the next phase in the search for efficiency gains is upon us. But at the same time, effectiveness will headline a decade long journey focused on growth. The same platform that enables next generation efficiency – Mobile, Social, Big Data, Analytics and Cloud Computing – forms the foundation for effectiveness through systems of engagement.

Continue reading

Digital Enterprise Road Map Series: Part 1 – Strategy


I’ve spent time in the past year writing about the emerging digital enterprise. I want to shift my focus to the road map required to become one. This is the first in a six part series that examines the digital enterprise journey and provides a perspective on the steps along the way. These steps can be grouped into six key categories:

  1. Developing a holistic strategy
  2. Creating experienced-based differentiation
  3. Creating an integrated social ecosystem
  4. Developing systems of engagement and integrating to systems of record
  5. Enabling right-time in-the-moment effectiveness
  6. Moving insight delivery from descriptive to prescriptive 

Continue reading

The Internet of Things – The Tipping Point


The Internet of Things (IoT) is predicted to reach a tipping point in 2013. Mobile, Cloud, Big Data and Social are converging to enable countless applications of IoT in the future – and of all the disruptors in play today, IoT could very well be the biggest. With IoT, objects use tiny devices to make them identifiable by their own unique IP address. These devices can then autonomously communicate with one another. In evaluating the many IoT applications, I have categorized the path forward into four buckets: Smart Products, Smart Optimization, Smart Automation, and Smart Decisions. Here are examples across each category. 

Continue reading