Our top sourcesÂ for harnessingÂ exponential and disruptive technology trends
We follow these sources every day – high-quality, can’t-miss information feeds. They are written in plain language, and discuss social and business implications of the technologies and discoveries.Â
Peter Diamandis – diamandis.com
Top 10 Tech Trends Transforming HumanityÂ –Â EBook published January 2017
Why do we pay attention to what he says?
Bio: Dr. Peter H. Diamandis is an international pioneer in the fields of innovation, incentive competitions and commercial space.
- In the field of Innovation, Founder and Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, best known for its $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private spaceflight.
- Co-Founder and Vice-Chairman of Human Longevity Inc. (HLI), a genomics and cell therapy-based diagnostic and therapeutic company focused on extending the healthy human lifespan.
- Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Singularity University, a graduate-level Silicon Valley institution that studies exponentially growing technologies, their ability to transform industries and solve humanityâ€™s grand challenges.
- In the field of commercial space, hisÂ mission is to open the space frontier for humanity. Co-Founder/Co-Chairman of Planetary Resources, a company designing spacecraft to enable the detection and prospecting of asteroid for precious materials. AlsoÂ Co-Founder of Space Adventures and Zero-Gravity Corporation.
- New York Times Bestselling author of Abundance â€“ The Future Is Better Than You Think and BOLD â€“ How to go Big, Create Wealth & Impact the World.
- Undergraduate degree in Molecular Genetics, a graduate degree in Aerospace Engineering from MIT, and M.D. from Harvard Medical School.
Ray Kurzweil – KurzweilAI.net
One extremely smart and accomplished inventor and futurist.
Bio: Ray Kurzweil has been described as â€śthe restless geniusâ€ť by The Wall Street Journal, and â€śthe ultimate thinking machineâ€ť by Forbes. Â Inc. magazine ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States, calling him the â€śrightful heir to Thomas Edison,â€ť and PBS selected Ray as one of 16 â€śrevolutionaries who made America,â€ť along with other inventors of the past two centuries. He is considered one of the worldâ€™s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a 30-year track record of accurate predictions.
- Principal inventor of the first CCD flatbed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.
- 20 honorary doctorates, and honors from three U.S. presidents.
- 7 books, 5 national bestsellers. The Age of Spiritual Machines was the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in science. The Singularity Is Near was a New York Times bestseller, and has been the #1 book on Amazon in both science and philosophy. His latest New York Times bestseller is How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed.
- In 2012, Ray Kurzweil was appointed a Director of Engineering at Google, heading up a team developing machine intelligence and natural language understanding.
MIT Technology Review – technologyreview.com
In their words:
“Every day, we provide an intelligent, lucid, and authoritative filter for the overwhelming flood of information about technology. We do this with serious journalism, written in clear, simple language, by a knowledgeable editorial staff, governed by a policy of accuracy and independence.
We do this in features, news analysis, business reports, photo essays, reviews, and interactive digital experiences that invite our readers to probe deeper, examine data, and get to know experts and their opinions to see, explore, and understand new technologies and their impact.”
Alright, love-hate time. This source is the breathless fanboy of technological advance. Highly-visual format, interesting infographics, but sensational headlines. Put up with it, and the Toyota Prius-sponsored reality-video pieces, and there is really good stuff underneath. I roll my eyes on occasion, but I do keep reading.
Input from my colleagues in the ExO NetworkÂ
I asked my colleagues what they were following, and discovered a range of other sources.
The Exponential ViewÂ – Curated by London-based researcher, Azeem Azhar. Exponential change: technology, business models, political economy & society. Recommended byÂ Kaila Colbin: “One of my absolute favorites,Â a weekly curated collection of links, with a brief phrase or sentence as to why each one is interesting. I never miss an issue, and it usually generates a couple hours at least per week of worthwhile content.”
Tech.EUÂ – a European-focus tech newsletter, covering some of the more obscure emerging markets outside the major EU tech centers. Recommended by Pedro Pinho.
CB Insights –Â Our team comes to work every day to build technology that helps corporations guess less and win more. We aggregate and analyze massive amounts of data and use machine learning, algorithms and data visualization to help corporations replace the three Gs (Google searches, gut instinct and guys with MBAs*) so they can answer massive strategic questions using probability not punditry. Backed by the National Science Foundation and venture capital investors. Recommended by Pedro Pinho:”great BI in my opinion, comprehensive maps of startups per industry available for free which give you an index of companies to explore further.”Â
The Millennium Project – Founded in 1996 after a three-year feasibility study with the United Nations University, Smithsonian Institution, Futures Group International, and the American Council for the UNU. It is now an independent non-profit global participatory futures research think tank of futurists, scholars, business planners, and policy makers who work for international organizations, governments, corporations, NGOs, and universities. Recommended byÂ Evonne Heyning, Paul Epping
Future of Life Institute – With an advisory board that includes Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Morgan Freeman, Alan Alda, the co-founder of Skype and others, it is worth a visit for certain. “We are currently focusing onÂ keepingÂ artificial intelligenceÂ beneficialÂ andÂ we are also exploring ways of reducing risks from nuclear weapons and biotechnology.”Â Recommended by Paul Epping
Singularity Hub – published by Singularity University,Â Singularity Hub chronicles technological progress by highlighting the breakthroughs, players, and issues shaping the future as well as supporting a global community of smart, passionate, action-oriented people who want to change the world. Recommended by Evonne Heyning
The Economist Technology QuarterlyÂ – deeper analysis in plain language. Recommended by Nicole-Anne Boyer
Sites requiring a bit of sifting for the good stuff
As recommender, Eduardo Labarca points out: “Please consider that today there are a lot of “science” websites that distort news only to get more readers. We should filter and evaluate.”Â Great reminder!
MediumÂ –Â Every day, thousands of people turn to Medium to publish their ideas and perspectives. Leaders. Artists. Thinkers. And ordinary citizens who have a story to tell. Posts range from scrutinies of world affairs to deeply personal essays. Medium sifts the best of these for you and delivers them directly onto your home page.Â Recommended byÂ Tony Manley, who comments: Although the articles on MediumÂ can be varied, the good ones tend to bubble up to the top pretty quickly. They often provide useful insights from people working with the technologies. Obviously, you need some idea of what you are looking for in order to get the best out of it.
QuartzÂ –Â Quartz is a digitally native news outlet, born in 2012, for business people in the new global economy. Our coverage of this new global economy is rooted in a set of defining obsessions: core topics and knotty questions of seismic importance to business professionals. These are the issues that energize our newsroom, and we invite you to obsess about them along with us. Recommended byÂ Evonne Heyning.
Thank you to all our contributors!
Biomimicry / Biomimetics
See our blog post:Â Biomimicry – How Nature is Inspiring Radical Innovation
What are your go-to sources for your ‘future-scan’?Â
Contact me and I’ll add to theÂ list…
Innovation by itself turns out
not to be the trump card we expected;
more important is the ability to scale innovation,
to blend creativity with discipline.
– Jim Collins
author, Great by Choice:
Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck
– Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
Supercharge business growth! LearnÂ from 14 brilliant thought leaders in 2 days at the Scaling Up Summit presented by Fortune MagazineÂ May 23 and 24, 2017 in San Antonio, TX. Choose from in-person and live remote streaming options.
Learn more and register at https://gazelles.com/summits/scaleup-2017/Â Choose Ann Ralston or Gary Ralston as your coach for a significant discount.
– GaryÂ Ralston,Â Â© 2017 Ralston Consulting Inc.
At a recent strategy update retreat with one of our clients, we introduced scenario planning as a front-end to their strategy process. The improvement was dramatic! One of the partners even queried us if we had been actively using scenario planning at the time we’d done their original strategy session. (We assured him that we hadn’t, that it was a new offering, and we had NOT been holding out on him!) He thought it added tremendous value and insight, and maintained that it should be part of their strategy process from here on out.
Much credit for the tremendous improvement between the two sessions goes to our associate, Nicole-Anne Boyer, founder of Adaptive Edge LLC. Since 2009, Ann, Charles and I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Nicole. From the start of our association, our strategic planning offering has been turbo-charged with the addition of robust scenario planning, strategic foresight and futures thinking. While I had thought I knew something of scenario planning before, I have been learning at a furious pace to come up-to-speed on the state of the art in scenario planning.
Scenario planning has been around for a very long time, but took significant strides forward, notably in the planning department at Royal Dutch Shell, and at the Global Business Network. It is now used widely in planning processes in business.
â€śAccording to Bain & Companyâ€™s annual survey of management tools, fewer than 40% of companies used scenario planning in 1999. But by 2006 its usage had risen to 70%.â€ť
â€“ The Economist, September 1st, 2008
I have been learning that there are as many forms and methods of scenario planning as there are practitioners, but there has been a clear evolution in the purpose and motive for scenario planning.
- Inform Planning: Use the output of a scenario planning exercise to inform a conventional â€śout-think the futureâ€ť strategy session.
- Adapt to Future: Scenario planning becomes part of 1) a way of thought for leadership, and 2) an early warning system to help a company to adapt to future changes. One of the funders of modern scenario planning framed it so:
â€śThe test of a good scenario is not whether it portrays the future accurately but whether it enables an organization to learn and adapt.”
â€“ Peter Schwartz, The Art of the Long View
- Shape the Future: The scenario planning process might be taken beyond the walls of the organization and involve the wider system we are trying to influence. The scenario planning process is then a catalyst in a broader, generative effort to shape our desired future. Put another way:
â€śThe best way to predict the future is to invent it.â€ť
â€“ Alan Kay, Scientist and Apple Fellow
In our work at Ralston Consulting Inc., we have always focused on helping our clients develop the orientation and capacity for generative change to create their desired future. Our collaboration with Nicole has given our mission a tremendous boost!
In Profiting from Uncertainty: Strategies for Succeeding No Matter What the Future Brings, authors Paul J. H. Schoemaker and Robert E. Gunther make a point about the discrepancy between the forces shaping a sectorâ€™s future, and where management tends to focus. Their claim is that about half the forces shaping the future value of a business – developments in the industry, and in the larger global environment – Â are not monitored by management, and thus, â€śleft to fateâ€ť.
Instead, management is compiling backward-looking internal and industry trend data to forecast future conditions. This is backed up by informal surveys by Gary Hamel & C. K. Prahalad, suggesting that senior management devote less than 3 % of their time and energy to building a collective vision of the future. (Competing for the Future, Harvard Business Press, April 1, 1996, p 4)
We need a working understanding of our external environment and the many possible futures that may emerge, as making plans based on a single notion of the future can increase risk even as, paradoxically, it reduces our sense of conflict about an unknown future. The world is simply too uncertain and complex for such single-point predictions; and they give a false, sometimes dangerous, confidence that we are in control more than we really are.Â At the other extreme, we cannot become paralyzed by what we perceive as too much uncertainty, as we become obsessed with avoiding risk.Â We must plot a course between prediction and paralysis, thinking about the future in terms of multiple possibilities in order to better create our desired future.
Action Plan: Make a practice of ‘learning from the future’. To kick off your 2011 strategic planning cycle, take your leadership team through a facilitated scenario-planning process. In the course of co-exploring 3-4 possible futures, defining a ‘desired future’ and gleaning strategic insights, your team will develop a much deeper capacity to mine profit in areas of high uncertainty – an area your competitor is likelyÂ spending 3% of their focus on!