- We are on track for 518% global economic growth this half-century
- Economic structural change is NOT industry compositional change
- The future of travel and tourism: safe adventures, real-time guidance, and new frontiers
- Can cyber-crime result in global financial systemic risk?
- The latest in 3D printing trends: guns, ears, body parts, and now in your local store
- The future of analogue people in a digital world
- Relaunch of Advanced Human Technologies Group website and new blog
- Crowdfunding creates a new layer of capital markets and new layers of value
- The launch of Hub Sydney – crowdfunding memberships and distributed value creation
- Crowdsourcing Week in Singapore promises to help catalyze the global potential of crowdsourcing
Yesterday I gave an executive briefing to a senior team tasked with generating major new revenue opportunities for their organization. My presentation delved into the drivers of change in economic structure, individual and societal behaviours, the shape of cities, the role of government, and the implications for the elderly of demographic change. However to kick off I wanted to put the group into a bigger mental frame than they would usually think in, so I ran through the following chart: This chart was first prepared for when I gave a keynote to a group of fund managers in 2006. I wrote a post describing some of the background and context to the data. The second half of the 20th century was an extraordinary time in human history, when global population grew by a factor of 2.5, from around 2.5 billion to well over 6 billion people, and the economy grew 10-fold in the space of 50 years. Population growth is now slowing dramatically and we are likely to see global population plateauing by the middle of the 21st century (more on that another time). A key question we face is whether we can sustain the same amazing economic growth of the latter half of the last centure, which was clearly fuelled significantly by population growth, when the number of people and workers on the planet is stopping growing or even shrinking. We are now almost a quarter of the way into this half-century, so it's worth reviewing where we are. The GLOBAL ECONOMY HAS GROWN BY 60.6% FROM 2000-2012, according to IMF data, with 4% or greater growth in 7 of those years, and only one year of global recession, in 2009. The last half-decade has certainly been economically challenging across much of the planet, however there has still been solid growth in the global economy, of course driven by major emerging economies such as China and India. If we extrapolate that RATE OF GROWTH OVER A 50 YEAR PERIOD, this would result in 518% GROWTH for a more than 6-FOLD INCREASE IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY. This figure is significantly less than the estimates shown in the chart above, however still a pretty substantial growth rate given the lower population growth. Of course there is still massive uncertainty about the future of the global economy, going far beyond the very simplistic and reductionist GDP figures, with not least climate change potentially having a dramatic impact. However I believe we will see growth rates rise above the trend that we have seen so far this century, driven not just by the rise of emerging economies but also by the shift to the weightless economy and the opportunities of a connected world. Let's keep our mental frames sufficiently big, looking at how we can create vastly more social as well as economic prosperity over this half-century and beyond. The post We are on track for 518% global economic growth this half-century appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.
I am currently preparing a number of keynotes for senior business audiences over coming weeks. In preliminary conversations with one group I encountered a very common and deeply misleading view of how business is changing today. We engaged in discussions on "economic structural change", that were in fact only about changes in industry composition. The mindset was to consider the changes in relative sizes of industries in the economy, such as manufacturing getting smaller and tourism becoming larger. This perspective is prevalent with economists, who like to predicts shifts in industries over time. However this is a deeply fallacious perspective in thinking about change in the economy. THE FIRST REASON …is that structural change is happening at an absolutely fundamental level. Perhaps the best frame to understand the nature of structural change is the rapid rise of the "modular economy", in which value is created in smaller and smaller modules over time. This is illustrated by examples such as the modular approach to manufacturing that has made Chongqing the global capital for motorcycle production, or the modularization of professional work flow led by firms such as UK's Lovells. In knowledge-based work the primary unit of value creation has shifted from the organization to the individual. Work is modularized and distributed globally across algorithms and human work. We are rapidly shifting to an economy primarily based on DISTRIBUTED VALUE CREATION, in which value is created across organizational boundaries and between companies and their customers, suppliers, and ecosystem partners. These kinds of shifts are creating a FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT STRUCTURE to how value is created and the economy functions. THE SECOND REASON …that structural change cannot be viewed as compositional change is that industry definitions are losing virtually all meaning. Industries are blurring and converging even faster than they have been over the last decade or so. Any partitioning of economic activity between industry sectors, particularly putting any one company in only one industry, starts to create an entirely meaningless and artificial view of the economy. So let's not kid ourselves that we live in a steady state economy in which the underlying structure of how value is created and allocated is going to be the same or even similar in 10 years from now compared to today. What business leaders really need to delving into and thinking about is how the very structure of how value is created is changing. This is a fundamental and absolute shift in what the economy is and how it functions. I'm currently working on how to make this point forcibly and clearly enough to shift how senior executives are thinking about the future of the economy and their industry, if they still think tomorrow's underlying structure will be similar to today's. The post Economic structural change is NOT industry compositional change appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.
Last week, as part of the ongoing weekly future series on the Morning Show, I spoke about the future of travel and tourism. Click on the image below to watch a video of the segment. Some of the things I talked about: * The impact of the ageing developing world population, including THE QUEST FOR "SAFE ADVENTURES" and the likely continued rise of cruise ships as a way to travel. * The desire for greater experience in both travel and destination, resulting in the possibility of GLASS-TOPPED AIRCRAFT to see the night skies as never before, and moving beyond the usual tourist itineraries to EVER-MORE EXOTIC LOCATIONS. * A massive rise in SUSTAINABLE TOURISM, with low impact hotels and activities and the opportunity to observe rare species. * MEDICAL TOURISM continuing to grow, supported by ageing populations and soaring costs of medical attention in developed countries. * Technology driving our pre-holiday and vacation experiences. We will be able to experience what it’s like being there before we go. We will get PERSONALISED RECOMMENDATIONS based on our interests and profile on where we should go and what we should do. * REAL-TIME TRANSLATION will allow conversations with people wherever we go. * SPACE TOURISM is on the verge of reality, with Virgin Galactic already having sold 500 tickets at $200,000 a pop and many new competitors arising. * The spaceships that allow space tourism could enable FAR FASTER GLOBAL TRAVEL, including potentially 4 hour flights from Sydney to London. The post The future of travel and tourism: safe adventures, real-time guidance, and new frontiers appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.
On Saturday I was interviewed on SBS World News about the ATM heist that netted $45 million from 40,000 withdrawals over 26 countries. The video of the TV news segment (start at 09:05) is available online until 19 May. It was an extremely sophisticated attack, involving not just hacking credit card payment processors and banks, but also eliminating the limits on prepaid debit cards before creating thousands of copies. Not surprisingly there are strong safeguards around tampering with the limits on cards, yet the gang managed to circumvent these. On one level this is about bank robbers finding new chinks in the armor in which banks clad themselves. Financial systems evolve, and even while banks continually improve their protection, there will be ways to attack banks. Criminals attack banks because that's where the money is. As I noted in the TV interview, the most interesting thing about this attack is that it actually impacts money supply. The first heist in December 2012 netted $5 million, before a second much larger one two months later. It is not actually clear that the first theft was detected at the time, or how. As noted in the New York Times:
_“The significance here is they are manipulating the financial system to be able to change these balance limits and withdrawal limits,” said Kim Peretti, a former prosecutor in the computer crime division of the Justice Department who is now a partner in the law firm Alston & Bird. “When you have a scheme like this, where the system can be manipulated to quickly get access to millions of dollars that in some sense did not exist before, it could be a systemic risk to our financial system.”_Theft is taking money from someone else. However we are at the point where crime can involve creating money where there was none before. At a sufficient scale, that could impact money supply and the integrity of the global financial system. Bank security is not just about protecting banks. It is increasingly also about protecting the financial system. The post Can cyber-crime result in global financial systemic risk? appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.
It's been a busy day in the world of 3D printing. Below is a roundup of the latest developments, all announced in the last 24 hours or so. 3D printing is one of those trends that has been visible for a long time, is just beginning to have a real impact, and in the long run could transform many aspects of our lives. Different issues are raised by each of these stories, showing the breadth of the impact of 3D printing. I have made brief comments under each story. Anyone looking at the future must keep abreast of the growing scope of capabilities of 3D printing and what it could mean for industries and society. FIRST COMPLETELY 3D-PRINTED GUN SHOWN From Forbes (includes pictures):
Early next week, Wilson, a 25-year University of Texas law student and founder of the non-profit group Defense Distributed, plans to release the 3D-printable CAD files for a gun he calls “the Liberator.” … All sixteen pieces of the Liberator prototype were printed in ABS plastic with a Dimension SST printer from 3D printing company Stratasys, with the exception of a single nail that’s used as a firing pin. The gun is designed to fire standard handgun rounds, using interchangeable barrels for different calibers of ammunition. Technically, Defense Distributed’s gun has one other non-printed component: the group added a six ounce chunk of steel into the body to make it detectable by metal detectors in order to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act. In March, the group also obtained a federal firearms license, making it a legal gun manufacturer. Of course, Defcad’s users may not adhere to so many rules. Once the file is online, anyone will be able to download and print the gun in the privacy of their garage, legally or not, with no serial number, background check, or other regulatory hurdles. “You can print a lethal device,” Wilson told me last summer. “It’s kind of scary, but that’s what we’re aiming to show.”3D printing of guns is, among other things, part of a broader trend of lack of control of technology and weapons. How far this goes could have a massive impact on our future safety. AUSTRALIAN 3D PRINTERS ON TRACK TO PRINT BODY PARTS From ABC (includes video):
Australian scientists say they have found a way to grow human body parts using 3D printing technology. The University of Wollongong's Centre for Electromaterials Science is opening a research unit at Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital where 3D printing will be used to reproduce tissue material. The bio-fabrication unit scientists have already begun animal trials to reproduce skin, cartilage, arteries and heart valves. "It's possible to print devices and structures that can be implanted in human bodies, and these devices can have cells grown on them so that bodily functions can be replicated on these very tiny devices," he said. "In the future, these sorts of devices will be able to recreate parts of people's joints and bones, conceivably, in the future, even organs."There is a long way to go on this, however it appears highly feasible that we will be able to print out individualized body organs, potentially substantially increasing average life span. PRINTABLE BIONIC EAR THAT HEARS RADIO AS WELL AS AUDIO FREQUENCIES From Phys.org:
Scientists at Princeton University used off-the-shelf printing tools to create a functional ear that can "hear" radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human capability. The researchers' primary purpose was to explore an efficient and versatile means to merge electronics with tissue. The scientists used 3D printing of cells and nanoparticles followed by cell culture to combine a small coil antenna with cartilage, creating what they term a bionic ear. … Ear reconstruction "remains one of the most difficult problems in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery," they wrote. To solve the problem, the team turned to a manufacturing approach called 3D printing. These printers use computer-assisted design to conceive of objects as arrays of thin slices. The printer then deposits layers of a variety of materials – ranging from plastic to cells – to build up a finished product. Proponents say additive manufacturing promises to revolutionize home industries by allowing small teams or individuals to create work that could previously only be done by factories. Creating organs using 3D printers is a recent advance; several groups have reported using the technology for this purpose in the past few months. But this is the first time that researchers have demonstrated that 3D printing is a convenient strategy to interweave tissue with electronics.As we are able to manufacture body organs we will readily be able to both incorporate and extend human capabilities, making the first cyborgs transplant recipients who choose to upgrade. NOW YOU CAN BUY 3D PRINTERS FROM STAPLES From Mashable: Staples just became a little more cutting edge.
The office supply chain announced Friday that it is now selling 3D printers through its website and will start selling 3D printers in select stores by the end of next month. Staples is touting itself as the first "major U.S. retailer" to sell the product. Staples, which announced in November that it planned to bring the devices to its European stores, will be selling the Cube 3D Printer from 3D Systems for $1,299. The printer has built-in WiFi and comes with more than two dozen 3D design templates, with more available to download online. Staples will also sell accessories for the 3D printers like plastic cartridge refills.This move makes 3D printing on the verge of mainstream. It is still too expensive for most people, yet if we track the cost of home printers over the last couple of decades, we can readily envisage 3D printers in many and then most homes over the next decade and a bit. The post The latest in 3D printing trends: guns, ears, body parts, and now in your local store appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.
I recently gave the keynote at Bridge Point Forum on FUTURE DIRECTIONS IN THE DIGITAL AGE, the title riffing off the conference's theme of The Rise of the Digital Age. I opened by making the critical point that, while the digital world is rising around us at an extraordinary pace, humans are completely analogue. Nothing about humans is digital. While we can conceive of and enact digital processes and thoughts, these are created from fully analogue neural networks. This means that one of the most important frames on our future is understanding the interface between analogue humans and our increasingly digital external environment. I illustrated the idea with segments of this movie of three Geminoids - essentially robot replicas of humans - together with their human models. There is obviously a long way to go, but digital (and some analogue) technologies are getting closer to replicating some aspects of what we understand to be human. Our analogue nature is in fact at the heart of what makes humans so much better than computers at many things such as conceptualizing, synthesis, and relationships. There are many capabilities that were long considered to be uniquely human, such as playing chess at the highest level, yet brute digital processing power beat us long ago. Other amazing capabilities built on our analogue structure, such as facial recognition, are now being matched or transcended by digital capabilities. All of which means that human interfaces with digital machines must be a large part of our future. They may be simple, such as visual and gesture interfaces that play to our analogue strengths. Or they may be more direct, such as the thought interfaces shown in this movie. Perhaps an increasing number of people will choose to make themselves partly digital, as Kevin Warwick of I Cyborg fame has done. Or perhaps we will simply create better interfaces. I do not believe our human analogue richness can be fully captured in digital structures (which is a subject for another post). Which means that the interfaces between analogue humans and the digital world in which we are immersed will be absolutely central to our future. The post The future of analogue people in a digital world appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.
I am extremely happy that we have finally relaunched the website for Advanced Human Technologies Group. Over the last couple of years we have been repositioning our activities so that our major corporate brand is AHT Group, the group of companies, rather than the individual companies. However that was not reflected on the ahtgroup.com website, which only covered our hub company Advanced Human Technologies, and in fact gave a very out-of-date view of its activities. The launch of a blog on the AHT Group website as well as the forthcoming launch of more online publications by the group means that I will shift my blogging activities, tending to write more on other sites than here, though also pointing to those posts from this blog. Launching the new group website is also part of a increased focus on our ventures, including a series of new companies we are creating. As such I will be sharing more about our companies, projects, structures, and lessons learned along the way. Our experiments with new business models will become a lot more visible. Exciting times ahead! The post Relaunch of Advanced Human Technologies Group website and new blog appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.
Yesterday ABC News featured a story on crowdfunding, providing a quick overview of the space for a broad audience. An edited version of the segment on the 7pm News also appeared on The Business program. Click on the image to see a video of the news segment. Having spent quite a few years working in capital markets, I have long seen that shifts in the broader economy mean we need new layers of capital markets. In 2006 BRW quoted me:
There will also be a growth in companies that are less capital intensive. They will need less money and so will not be so attractive to investors. Over the next 25 years we will have more services companies and flexible, loosely arranged organisations that do not need investment funds,” Dawson says. “Whole new layers of investment companies will build up around smaller sectors, such as micro-caps.and I wrote that:
There is a massive potential market in providing capital and services to very small participants in the modular economy, while also providing opportunities for investors to participate in this burgeoning sector. Mechanisms such as sharing in defined ways in future cash-flows of individuals or very small organizations could prove to be viable for both entrepreneurs and investors.One of the points that came out in ABC news piece was the relationship between new funding forms such as crowdfunding and existing funding structures. As the bank spokesperson noted, crowdfunding is unlikely to impact in any significant way the existing loan portfolio of banks. That is the point: crowdfunding is ADDITIONAL to existing funding mechanisms. The impact on existing structures will be minimal. However many great ventures that never would have been possible before now have the opportunity to come to fruition. Almost no projects on crowdfunding platforms would have any chance of getting bank lending. A handful would have a chance to get traditional seed investment from angel investors. However in the vast majority of cases, worthwhile projects and endeavors are happening that in the past would have never got beyond an enthusiastic idea. Efficient capital markets are about allocating money where it can have the greatest impact. Moving on from a purely financial view, contributors to crowdfunding projects are often taking artistic and social perspectives on where they allocate their funds. The new layers of capital markets that are just beginning to surface through the early stages of crowdfunding will enable many new possibilities for the economy, society, and entrepreneurs. It won't be a smooth path, but more dynamic capital means a more dynamic economy and society, uncovering new layers of value for all of us. The post Crowdfunding creates a new layer of capital markets and new layers of value appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.
The Hub global movement was founded in London in 2005, and is a very rapidly growing network of so far 30 Hub communities co-working spaces established around the world and over 5000 members. I first heard of the Hub soon after it was established, but was first directly exposed to the network when I ran a workshop on Crowdsourcing for Startups and Social Innovation at Hub Westminster in London last year. I was fortunate to spend some time at the Hub and with its co-founder the inimitable and inspiring Indy Johar. Subsequently I had the chance to hang out at Hub Melbourne, which draws together an eclectic community in a vibrant space in the city center. As such I was delighted when the launch of Hub Sydney was announced. It will open on May 8 in a large office space on William Street Darlinghurst, leased from the City of Sydney. Check out the video - it tells the Hub Sydney story well. As in many other cities around the world, Sydney has seen an explosion of co-working spaces over the last few years, many of them drawing together excellent communities. However the breadth of Hub Sydney's scope and intent, combined with its focus on collaboration and distributed value creation, makes it a very welcome addition to Sydney's startup and independent worker spaces. Hub Sydney is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Australian crowdfunding site Pozible, offering half-price founding memberships. At the time of writing $13,740 out of a target of $20,000 has been raised, with 41 days to go. If you're interested in participating in a co-working space in Sydney, it's a great opportunity. I'm delighted to be named as a 'Champion' of Hub Sydney, helping to support the cause. While my companies' primary workspace is in Surry Hills, I'll try to regularly drop by and spend some time at Hub Sydney when I'm in town. I hope to see you there! The post The launch of Hub Sydney - crowdfunding memberships and distributed value creation appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.
Epi Nekaj, the founder of crowdsourcing innovator Ludvik + Partners, first got in touch with me in early 2012 to discuss his plan to run a landmark global event focused on crowdsourcing. On June 3-7 Crowdsourcing Week will be held in Singapore, bringing the Crowdsourcing Week team's vision to fruition. The term crowdsourcing was coined in just 2006, crystallizing and communicating the already well-established ideas of creating value from diverse distributed talent. In today's connected world we can tap the power, talent, and energy of crowds as never before. That is in the process of transforming many aspects of business, society, and government. However, while the many manifestations of crowdsourcing, notably crowdfunding, are among the most visible trends today, the extent of the potential is still far from being recognized and understood. As such the real value I see in Crowdsourcing Week is in bringing to both existing and new audiences the potential and possibilities of tapping crowds. Singapore is a fantastic venue for a global conference of this nature, not least in drawing greater attention to these important ideas in the Asia Pacific. I will be doing the keynote on the second day of the conference, on CONNECTING THE CROWD: THE FUTURE OF CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION. I am very pleased to be on the board of advisors for Crowdsourcing Week, participating in an event which will push forward the value of crowdsourcing across industries, governments, countries, and regions. You can register for Crowdsourcing week here. I hope to see you there! The post Crowdsourcing Week in Singapore promises to help catalyze the global potential of crowdsourcing appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.