Slowly then quickly, that’s the story of exponential progression. When you reach an inflection point on the exponential curve, you reach an Acceleration of Acceleration. We have reached a point where Change has never been this Fast – yet it will never be this slow again. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a great example of this phenomenon.Continue reading
A recent Article builds upon my Strategy post from yesterday. Written by Colin Iles, the article focuses on the need for leaders to set their short term priorities based on expectations about what the world might look like in ten years. Often, leaders feel that ten years is too long a time horizon – but the future is approaching faster than people think. This speed dynamic forces us to embrace a New Way of Thinking, one that enables us to see the future, rehearse it, and adapt to its inevitable shifts.Continue reading
As I described in my Thoughts on 2019 post, acceleration is the second major theme for me in 2019. The pace of innovation and change is often cited as a key difference between the next revolution and prior ones. We even came up with a catchy phrase to describe it: exponential progression. How did we come upon the notion that we live in world that is now moving at an exponential versus linear pace? Some explain it with a story; we have entered the second half of the chess board. Ray Kurzweil an American author, inventor, futurist, and director of engineering at Google describes the second half of the chessboard as follows: once you reach the second half of the chessboard, changes are exponential. Each new square doubling that of the previous. Moore’s Law is said to have entered the second half of the chess board in 2013. A good description of this phenomenon can be found here.
This doubling accelerates the path to innovation. With an endless supply of building blocks fueling rapid value-creating combinations, this effect is amplified. While the window to realize value from innovation has shortened, there is a Rising Speed of Technological Adoption. Jeff Desjardins, Editor-in-Chief of Visual Capitalist, had this to say:
In the modern world, through increased connectivity, instant communication, and established infrastructure systems, new ideas and products can spread at speeds never seen before – and this enables a new product to get in the hands of consumers in the blink of an eye. Why do newer technologies get adopted so quickly? It seems partly because modern tech needs less infrastructure in contrast with the water pipes, cable lines, electricity grids, and telephone wires that had to be installed throughout the 20th century. However, it also says something else about today’s consumers – which is that they are connected, fast-acting, and not afraid to adopt the new technologies that can quickly impact their lives for the better.
A group of billionaires have pledged one billion dollars to fund radical new energy technologies. Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) is an investment fund that aims to accelerate energy innovation and disrupt the energy industry. This Bill Gates brainchild managed to secure a host of high-profile investors, including Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Jack Ma, and Michael Bloomberg – and they’ve just announced their First Seven Investments.
Updated December 15, 2017
“We are having super abundance of everything – capital, talent, resources. The previously known scarce resources (e.g physical world scarcity, natural resources) are also abundant now thanks to technology. With every abundance there will be new scarcity that will be the point of friction. With every node of regulation we remove to promote innovation, new set of problems will emerge that needs to be regulated otherwise system will collapse.”
I was honored to deliver the opening keynote at the SIM Women Executive Leadership Forum on Thursday May 5th. SIM Women Founder Kristen Lamoreaux did a wonderful job organizing the program. I met some fascinating leaders that selflessly give their time to their communities and society in general. As we look at the challenges that face our world, these are the type of leaders I want to stand with. In a room full of outstanding women, I saw the leaders of our future. As our exponential pace accelerates, a gap widens between exponential progression and our linear and incremental progress. This gap represents disruptive stress or opportunity – and increasingly, it is our right brain characteristics that help determine which.
Creativity, imagination, big picture vision, emotional and social intelligence, empathy, and other human characteristics are critical to navigating in an exponential world. 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. Women excel in these areas, positioning them as leaders of our emerging future. In a different Citi report on Women in the Economy, they highlight the importance of women in the labor market, where a 50% reduction in the gender gap can lead to a 5% increase in global GDP. Women are uniquely positioned to play a critical role in the digital economy.
At this SIM event, I focused on our emerging future and the unlearning that it requires. The last time we faced a similar scenario was a century ago, as a shift occurred from the steam engine era to the electricity era. That transition did not go well – something I’ll explore in future posts. We find ourselves approaching another transitory point in history. Will we learn from history? My focus remains on this transition and the mindset shift so crucial to navigating the change. This time, I believe women leadership could be the difference. You can view the presentation Here.
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?
I’m struggling with the term disruption and its effectiveness in driving urgency. Most definitions describe a radical change in an industry or business strategy, and most involve the introduction of a new product or service that creates a new market. My struggle is not with this decades old view of disruption, but its application in the context of our exponential world. The word disruption is viewed through a traditional lens. I end up in debates about the validity of a disruptive scenario as viewed through this lens, versus the massive implications of these future scenarios viewed through an exponential lens. The ensuing dialog focuses on:
- Coming up with disruptive innovation before our competitors do
- Embracing protectionist behavior to block a disruptor
- I’m not worried, regulatory hurdles in my industry block the impact of disruptors
- I’m safe, my industry is very stable
Futurist Gerd Leonhard recently released a new short 3 minute film titled Technology versus Humans. Here is an excerpt from his Blog announcing the video:
“I am very excited to announce the release of my new short film “Technology versus Humanity”. This film marks the beginning of a new period for me, with much of my future work focusing on the topic of how exponential technological changes are changing what and who we are, as humans, where this is going in the next 15 years, and what we need to do, TODAY, to make sure that these changes will indeed be beneficial to us.
For this film, I was very fortunate to be able to team up with Story7 and Jean Francois Cardella as producer and director, and Jeremy Joly as DOP. They made this film very special – thanks! We shot most of the footage in Cannes and the surrounding area – see some of the pics below. If you like this movie, please share it and spread the word, or submit a comment below and let me know what you think. Thanks! New hashtag as of today: #techversushuman”
Gerd was kind enough to do an interview with me back in January. You can read that here. Enjoy the film
Futurist Gerd Leonhard continues to talk about exponential progression and its impact on the world. In this recent short video, Gerd uses the Exponential and Combinatorial slide that anchors the organization evolution story. Listen to Gerd’s perspective on this emerging paradigm shift.