Digital Diffusion of Ideas: we are all in media

Posted on Saturday, 23 Feb 2013

Digital Diffusion of Ideas: we are all in media now

On Jan 27, 2010, Steve Jobs launched the digital media tablet - the iPad - in Cupertino, California. The crowds of geeks, tech writers, and Apple observers received it with love, woots, and fandemonium. Of course. Steve's fanfare and hyperbole on stage hit new levels of amplification.

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Tags: Futurist Speaker Sydney, Future Trends, Scenario Planning

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I'm 30,000 feet in the air. I am currently west of Chicago enroute from JFK to LAX. Because I was delayed from JFK and have a connection in LAX to Sydney, Australia, which I could well miss, I am nervously following our progress on www.flightstats.com which is tracking AA181 live, while I am browsing the web from 30,000 feet on www.gogoair.com ... live. 

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Recently, I was invited to give my futurist take on the future of education. Currently, education is at a creative intersection between technology and tradition, between the digital and the analogue, the high tech and high touch. Yet at that intersection between the analogue (tradition, high touch, face2face, tangible) and the digital (change, high tech, computer interface2interface, intangible) lies creative opportunity for future-minded educational institutions - both at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels.

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Big Data = Big Opportunities

We are now creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day - so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals to name a few.

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Recently, I was invited to be the resident futurist keynote speaker at the 2012 #drupa conference in Dusseldorf, Germany. #Drupa is pretty much the Olympics of the printing and digital solutions industry, and the latest innovations, thought leading insights, and disruptive trends are on display at the event. The industry is one that is under a lot of pressure at the moment as the modes of communication and consumer behaviours are undergoing paradigmatic shifts. Dealing with change was one of the key themes of the #drupa conference, and as the closing keynote speaker I was invited to share insights on the key creative tensions between the old, analogue world, and the new, digital world. To scenario plan the future of the printing and digital solutions industry, I created the following model to ensure that industry experts could make sense of the external drivers of change that are influencing the industry. 

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I'm on Delta 17 from LA to Sydney. It's December 14th, 2011. The lie-flat seat is comfortable and I have managed to sleep for 9 out of the 13 hours that the flight entails. I'm eagerly awaiting the breakfast I can smell beyond the curtains. This year so far, I have 167 travel days and by year's end my tally will comprise 6 months of travel outside of my home base of Sydney. Airlines have taken me to consulting, interviews and speaking engagements in Amsterdam, Stockholm, Phoenix, Hong Kong, San Francisco, New York, Ho Chi Minh City, Perth, Auckland, Charlotte, and coincidentally I have even managed to advise two of them - Air New Zealand and Delta on the future of the aviation industry. No, I am not George Clooney in 'Up in the Air'. However, aviation ideas inspire and inform the future of all communication trends.

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I was recently asked to give a future focus perspective on 2012 for small business owners belonging to a chamber of commerce in Queensland, Australia. As I scenario planned and looked at some of the challenges confronting small business owners right now and into the foreseeable future, I recognised that no matter what industry you're in, there are three trends that are likely to affect you either positively or negatively in 2012 - and they largely depend on how you position your attitude towards them.

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Beyond challenges in healthcare like patent expiries, generic inroads, patient visits declining, and health apps proliferating, leadership of a younger demographic of pharma talent is a complex key to pharmaceutical companies' futures.

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How are successful companies dealing with change in business today?

In this Espresso Shot of Ideas, Anders Sorman-Nilsson discusses how disruptive trends forces organisations to focus on scenario planning the future to a whole new degree than before. He provides case studies of how companies like Nokia, Borders, Circuit City and Blockbuster have blinked for a second, and thus gone from being Good to Great to Obsolete within short spaces of time.

Key Take Aways

  • Nokia lost the smart phone race partly as a result of having non-innovative, and non-diverse leadership teams
  • Circuit City could'nt keep up with Moore's Law and lost the consumer electronics race in the US
  • Borders and Blockbuster have been smashed by a shift from analogue to digital thinking and communication

Check out Anders Sorman-Nilsson's book "Thinque Funky: Upgrade Your Thinking" for the latest thoughts on how your organisation can better be dealing with change.

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