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

The music recognition service Shazam will branch out into new domains, said CEO Rich Riley at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today.
Reuters reports:

The next phase of development will be to enable phone users to Shazam actual objects, said Riley, such as a cereal packet in the grocery store to get more nutritional information or a DVD case at home to buy the movie soundtrack.

The capability is not new, with services such as Amazon Firefly allowing users to identify objects and buy them on Amazon, and Slyce identifying objects within a store for lookup and purchase. However Shazam’s excellent and long-standing service suggests they will execute well on object recognition and take the domain further.

There are massive implications for both retail and product design.

Design
A couple of years ago, anticipating this development, I wrote about the idea of “Shoezam“, that could recognize and order shoes on the street. I wrote:
Continue reading Shazam will recognize objects as well as music: the implications for retail and design

How the future of work leads to the future of organisations

Last week I did the keynote on The Future of Work and Organisations at a four-city roadshow for social business consulting firm KINSHIP enterprise, spanning Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The slides to my presentation are below, together with an overview of the 7 sections of the keynote.

My keynote was framed around looking through the critically-important lens of the future of work to gain insights into the future of organisations. As you will see in the slides, I covered:
Continue reading How the future of work leads to the future of organisations

Leading up to the Client and Firms of the Future: How to Compete conference in Sydney on March 11 (which I discussed in a previous blog post), my co-organiser George Beaton and I have recorded a brief video to set the scene.

In the video we begin by addressing the question: Why do professional services leaders need to think about the future? and go on to discuss what to expect at the conference.

Points we make in the video include:
Continue reading Video: Why professional services leaders need to think about the future

APIs are enabling an unprecedented flow of innovation

On Tuesday I had the great pleasure and honor of doing the opening keynote at the APIDays Sydney conference, the first API (Application Programming Interface) conference in Australia, excellently organized by Saul Caganoff of SixTree.

APIDays was founded by Mehdi Medjaoui in Paris in 2013, has since been run in Barcelona, Berlin, San Francisco and now Sydney, with the event in Paris last year attracting 800 delegates.

Below are the slides for my keynote on The Flow of Innovation. As always, note that my slides are designed to support my presentation and not to stand alone, but still may be of interest to people who did not attend my keynote.

Continue reading APIs are enabling an unprecedented flow of innovation

Creating the future of professional services – Sydney 11 March

The subtitle of my first book, 15 years ago now, was ‘The future of professional services’. I still believe it’s an incredibly important topic, not just in the future of business, but also in the future of work and society.

As such I am delighted to be collaborating with one of the world’s leaders in professional services strategy, George Beaton, in organising the Clients and Firms of the Future: How to Compete conference in Sydney on 11 March.
Continue reading Creating the future of professional services – Sydney 11 March

This morning I gave the opening keynote on The Future of Work at the Chartered Accountants Thought Leadership Forum on Future Proofing the Profession: Preparing Business Leaders and Finance Professionals for 2025, the third year in a row I’ve given keynotes on different topics at the Thought Leadership Forum.

In my keynote I went into depth on the forces shaping the future of work and the action that we can take today to help create a better future. One of the topics I raised was about the future of decision-making in a world of increasing automation.

Andrew McAfee of MIT has created a simple illustration of the path to better decisions.

Hippo_mcafee_decision_510w
Source: Andrew McAfee
Continue reading The future of work: better decisions supported by computers and professionals

Launch of keynote speaker influence ranking tracker

We have just launched a keynote speaker influence ranking page, giving an indication of the social and online reach of people who work primarily as keynote speakers. The widget is embedded below (and you can embed it in your own website if you want), though it is better viewed on the main rankings page.

There are and have been many influence ranking systems around. This one focuses on a particular group – keynote speakers – for whom online influence is particularly important, and brings together three measures: Klout, website traffic, and Twitter followers.

It is of course very easy to criticise any influence rankings mechanism, and we do not pretend this is by any means ‘accurate’, it is intended to be indicative and interesting. We have provided complete transparency by publishing the algorithm we use. The intention is to tweak and develop the algorithm over time. Let us know if you have suggestions on how to improve it!
Continue reading Launch of keynote speaker influence ranking tracker

Can Facebook-informed algorithms know you better than your mother?

This morning I was interviewed on the national breakfast program Sunrise about whether algorithms can assess our personality better than those who are closest to us.

Click on the image below to view the segment.

Sunrise130115_2

The segment described some just-released research titled Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which says:

This study compares the accuracy of personality judgment—a ubiquitous and important social-cognitive activity—between computer models and humans. Using several criteria, we show that computers’ judgments of people’s personalities based on their digital footprints are more accurate and valid than judgments made by their close others or acquaintances (friends, family, spouse, colleagues, etc.). Our findings highlight that people’s personalities can be predicted automatically and without involving human social-cognitive skills.

The personality-assessment algorithm was solely based on Facebook likes made by participants, with results compared to the assessments of people who know them well. As little as 150 likes was sufficient to provide a more accurate personality assessment than a family member such as a parent, while 300 likes enabled a better assessment than a spouse.

What was perhaps more interesting was the claim that “computer personality judgments have higher external validity when predicting life outcomes such as substance use, political attitudes, and physical health; for some outcomes, they even outperform the self-rated personality scores.”

The potential implications are profound. Article co-author Wu Youyou said “In this context, the human-computer interactions depicted in science fiction films such as ‘Her’ seem to be within our reach.”

Being able to interact with people in a way tailored to their personalities and designed to generate particular responses is certainly a fair way beyond being able to assess personalities accurately, but we are rapidly heading in that direction.

These findings are unlikely to give pause to people sharing their lives – and personalities – on social media, but we absolutely need to be aware quite how deep the insights about ourselves we are sharing in our everyday online behaviors.

AHT GROUP VENTURES & FEATURED CONTENT

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http://rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2011/01/zeitgeist-2011-anxiety-mobility-blending-indulgence-immersion-wrath-nudity-and-more.html
http://smetechnologyforum.com/
http://ideavisualization.net/
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http://rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2010/12/map_of_the_deca.html

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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