I recently gave the closing keynote at the Lectora User Conference 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee, which brought together users from around the world of the Lectora e-learning authoring platform.

My keynote on Embracing the Future looked at the broad trends shaping our world, and how they were shaping the world of education in particular. Peer learning is a fundamentally important trend today, describing how people learn increasingly from their peers rather than formal teachers. Indeed, the leading edge of any domain of study is driven by peers who share what they discover on the edges of their discipline.

One of the stories I told in my keynote was how a young Mexican man has been amply rewarded for his talent and his propensity to share, rather than formal education.

3D_robotics_500
Image: Jordi Muñoz, Chris Anderson and Jon Callaghan of 3D Robotics Credit: Christopher Michel
Continue reading In a world of peer learning the opportunities flow to talent and those who share

Immediately after my opening keynote on Creating the Future of News at INMA World Congress in New York last week was a very interesting plenary session from Neil Zuckerman of Boston Consulting Group (BCG) on branded content in the future of media, drawing on a recent multi-country study they have done. I had already emphasized the importance of branded content in my keynote, so it was a great segue into his detailed analysis.

Zuckerman began by running through the severe challenges for the news industry, going on to highlight branded content as the next source of growth for the industry. Below are a few slides from his excellent presenatation.

BCG sees branded content growing at a 21% rate over the next 5 years. I believe it is likely to grow faster than this.
Branded_content_BCG_1_500Source: Boston Consulting Group
Continue reading A taxonomy of branded content and its role in the future of media

Applying platform strategy to Facebook Instant Articles

Probably the most reported aspect of my opening keynote at INMA World Congress in New York last week on Creating the Future of News was my response to an audience question about how publishers should think about Facebook’s new offer to publishers to host their articles for mobile viewing.

An article in Sydney Morning Herald today titled Beware Facebook creep, publishers warned opened by describing the new Facebook Instant Articles and went on to quote me:
Continue reading Applying platform strategy to Facebook Instant Articles

imageI’m at the INMA conference in New York, where I gave the opening keynote yesterday morning on Creating the Future of News.

The opening keynote on the second day was from Steve Hills, President of Washington Post, who spoke about the state of Washington Post since its acquisition in October 2013 by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. He shared some fascinating insights that are highly relevant for any news publisher looking to create the future.

The big idea of what they are aiming to create is “A national edition optimized for mobile and for interestingness with a simple UX designed for stunning storytelling that is less work for the user to consume.” Bezos thinks it is critical to reduce ‘cognitive overhead’ for their readers.
Continue reading Lessons from the transformation of Washington Post since its acquisition by Jeff Bezos

Keynote slides: Creating the Future of News

Tomorrow I am giving the opening keynote at International News Media Association (INMA) World Congress in New York.

Over 400 senior news executives from 45 countries are gathering to gain insights into the leading edge and path forward for news organizations globally.

My keynote provides a highly positive perspective on the extraordinary opportunities for the news industry. I am currently refocusing on the future of news and media, and will be sharing a lot more on this topic during this year.

For now, here are the slides to my keynote. As always, note that my slides are designed to accompany my keynote and not to stand alone, and also contain many videos that do not show in the slides below. However they may still be of interest to people who are not attending my keynote.

I attended a very interesting lunch today hosted by EMC launching a study and report on Information Generation, drawing on a survey of 3,600 executives globally looking at what will drive their business in coming years.

The primary themes of the report were around spotting opportunities, innovation, transparency and trust, personalization, and 24/7 availability, and the implications for business.

One of the interesting insights from the study was on what executives believe their organizations can best do to foster innovation.

EMC_innovation
Source: EMC Information Generation
Continue reading The need for innovation across boundaries and the power of big data analytics

One of our companies, Future Exploration Network, recently created a detailed report for a client delving into the most important shifts shaping the next decade and beyond.
City_aerial1

One of the themes was Cities Reconfigured. The section began:

Urbanisation has proved to be a dominant global force, shaping both developed and developing countries. We know cities are both spreading out and become denser at their centres, but radical shifts are now reshaping the structure and shape of cities. The rise of flexible, remote and freelance work and shifts where and how people shop and socialise are significantly changing travel patterns. The widespread deployment of data sensors is providing real-time insights into environmental, traffic and infrastructure conditions, enabling rapid response and a deeply-needed increase in urban efficiency.
Continue reading Cities reconfigured: How changing work, shopping, community, and transport will transform our collective lives

Last week I ran a brief workshop at the strategy offsite of a professional services organization, with their top 100 executives in attendance. They wanted to understand major business trends and the implications for both their own organization as well as the services that will be valuable for their clients.

In a highly interactive session I ran through major trends in technology, business, and society, went into depth on the lessons emerging from lean startups and crowd-based models, and then facilitated groups in generating high-potential ideas for new service lines and creating a high-performance organization.

While many of the concepts of lean startups feel quite foreign within many established organizations, a useful way to help shift thinking is to focus on the concept of ‘testable hypotheses’. This is central to how dynamic startups function, and can fairly readily be introduced into large organizations – and their clients – without seeming overly radical.

In introducing the idea into enterprise I have found it useful to frame testable hypotheses as 5 steps:
Continue reading Using testable hypotheses to bring lean startup into the enterprise

Strategy is an intrinsically human task. Setting successful strategies is based on our ability to think effectively, both individually and collectively, about extraordinarily complex domains.

In a recent keynote I did for clients of New Scientist magazine on Science and Leadership for the Future, I discussed how executives can think effectively about strategy.

The following video is one of a series of 7 videos that captured the entire keynote.

In the video I note:
Continue reading Building richer mental models is the heart of strategy – the role of scenario planning

Who we are largely resides in our brain, a dense network of 100 billion neurons. So far we have gained only tiny insights into how it is connected to give us the extraordinary capabilities and consciousness humans possess.

However one researcher may have found a path to uncover that rich lattice of connections, potentially showing us the essence of who we are.


Video: Real-time brain activity visualization from UCSF

An excellent article today in the New York Times titled Sebastian Seung’s Quest to Map the Human Brain describes the mission of Prof. Seung of MIT and Princeton Neuroscience Institute to map literally all the connections in a human brain.
Continue reading Mapping the entire human brain using AI and crowdsourcing: will we discover who we are?

Some events today have innovative formats and strong audience participation. However many conferences still sport essentially the same format as ever, a series of people presenting on a stage in front of a passive audience. It needn’t be this way. Technology eenables us to re-conceive what a presentation is and can be.

I approach this idea as both a speaker and an event organizer. I have been a professional speaker for over 15 years, and have also organized many conferences and events, including our Future of Media Summits, the first cross-continental conferences ever held.

A recent article in Sydney Morning Herald on how the new app Zeetings helps “keep audiences awake” looks at Zeetings, “a presentation app that is both interactive and social, and promises to stop audiences slumbering in their chairs.”

The article describes the background of the app and goes on to quote me:
Continue reading The future of events: technology to make presentations interactive and social

Yesterday professional services expert George Beaton and I ran the inaugural Clients and Firms of the Future: How to Compete conference in Sydney, bringing together around 100 senior leaders of professional services firms to look at the future of the industry.

It is just over 15 years ago now that my first book was released with the subtitle The Future of Professional Services (now out in its Second edition). While these days my work covers a far broader scope, over the years I have worked extensively with professional services firms to help them create successful futures.

There has been substantial change in the professions over the last decade, however there will unquestionably be far greater change in the years to come.

It was an absolutely fascinating day at the conference exploring the future of professional services. I will be sharing more from the conference over time, but today would just like to put down a few initial thoughts from the three themes of the day.
Continue reading Three critical domains of change driving the future of professional services

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About the Blog author

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Ross Dawson is globally recognized as a leading futurist, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, strategy advisor, and bestselling author. He is Founding Chairman of AHT Group, which consists of 3 companies: consulting, publishing, and ventures firm Advanced Human Technologies, future and strategy firm Future Exploration Network, and events company The Insight Exchange.

Ross is author most recently of Getting Results From Crowds, the prescient Living Networks, which anticipated the social network revolution, the Amazon.com bestseller Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, and Implementing Enterprise 2.0. (click on the links for free chapter downloads). He is based in Sydney and San Francisco with his wife jewellery designer Victoria Buckley and two beautiful young daughters.

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