The Singularity: Connecting Dots

I have found that the metaphor “Connecting the Dots” is a good way to think about the emerging future. With the sheer number of dots emerging, and the pace at which they advance, we are challenged both by the number of dots, and the speed at which they emerge and Intersect. These dots are combining to form virtuous cycles; complex chains of events that reinforce themselves through feedback loops. Visualizing both the connections and the cycles is one approach to finding the signal through the noise.

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Artificial Intelligence Intersects with Renewable Energy

In his sixth post in the series, Marshall Kirkpatrick focuses on the intersection between artificial intelligence and renewable energy. By way of reminder, Marshall launched a 30 day series that explores the intersection between AI and the various innovation components on my emerging futures visual.

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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?


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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A Report on Creative Disruption

A recent report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch sheds more light on our future focus. The authors see cyclical and secular trends transforming the world at a rapid and meaningful pace. They find a common denominator in the form of three Ecosystems of Creative Disruption, and see them reducing barriers to entry for new businesses. These ecosystems allow companies to improve productivity and time-to-market while allowing broader customer reach. In a big shift, the ecosystems redefine competitive advantage by leveling the playing field between large and small companies.  Success is therefore dictated by imagination and ability to maximize the ecosystem. The three ecosystems are:

The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is expected to be a $7 trillion industry by 2020, as the explosion in connected devices is laying the foundation for IoT disruption. As a result, the authors estimate that connected devices will double in the next three years to reach 20 billion by 2018.

M2M Applications

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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.


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 Disruptive Role of Near Field Communications

Over the last several years, the big four technologies of the third platform (Social, Mobile, Big Data, and Cloud) have received the lion share of attention, and an emerging class of innovation accelerators like The Internet of Things will capture attention in the coming years. But there are also a number of supporting technologies that serve as enabling components of multiple disruptive scenarios. In some recent presentation preparation work, I focused on technologies like Near Field Communications (NFC) and iBeacon. It was fascinating to find broad applicability across many of the disruptive scenarios on the visual I have used to describe the coming paradigm shift.


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