What’s happening at the bleeding edge?

_DSC0661 I’ve just returned from a lengthy trip to the USA and Middle East, beginning at CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas looking at the near future and ending with an exploration of the medium to long term future through the eyes of the world’s second largest Silicon Valley – Israel.

CES, the largest annual electronic show on the planet attracted over 170,000 attendees from 140 countries and had 3,700 exhibitors who collectively released 20,000 plus products over four (4) days, was overflowing with the new and anticipated; gadgets galore; geeks a plenty and nerds in abundance.

The major display areas included wearable devices, 3D printers, connected cars, health and biotech, robotics and smart homes and the more I walked, saw and spoke, the more certain I became that our world is moving towards complete digitization, with almost everything on show capable of capturing real world information and turning into a zeros and ones that can then be put through the digital sausage machine, mixed with other secret sauce technology ingredients and turned into something else.

Wearable devices was a great example of this and it abounded at the show with thousands of objects on display that we can wear, hold, implant and ingest all outputting digitized real time data of what’s happening around us, to us, or inside of us.

The end game of all this will be a world of digital co-dependency, an intricate online spider’s web of connected people and things tethered together, where it becomes impossible to know where you finish and your toaster starts.

50Riding on this new connected superhighway is the Internet of Things a horizon trend that will connect up all of our devices and objects allowing them to speak to each other and to us and to orchestrate what gets done, when, where and how.

This will truly go with that, when closing your front door automatically summons your car to pick you up and as you drive away your home will go into hibernation mode shutting curtains, switching off the heating and lights and locking all the doors and wait patiently for digital evidence of your imminent return.

As the car drives you to your meeting, it is constantly scouring all the other cars around searching for the best traffic conditions and adjusting the track accordingly all the while keeping your upcoming appointments aware of your changing arrival times and letting you know what’s important around you.

This new hyper connected world will drop us rapidly from six (6) degrees of separation from each other, to just two (2) degrees separation from everybody, everything and anything.

In what seems the opposite of the big digitise everything CES trend, the other enormous show-off section was 3D printers eager and hungry machines capable of turning all sorts of digitised images into real life 100% usable objects.

These newly minted 3D printers on show printed nick-nacks, prototypes, model buildings, car parts, spare parts, dresses, shoes, spectacles, cups, crockery, cakes, chocolates, sweets and so much more.

shoes glasses chefjetcakesTearing myself away from Las Vegas I headed off to New York to catch up with clients, speaking agents and some Venture Capitalist mates to chat about what their investing in and why and also to rifle through the prototype cupboards with some really interesting developers and entrepreneurs looking at their “next big thing”.

Israel was the last stop on this odyssey and my goal was to try and better understand how such a tiny country could punch so far above its weight in terms of developing bleeding edge technology; what is the ecosystem that encourages technology and entrepreneurs to flourish and what’s beyond the bleeding edge of their technology horizon.

My travels took me into the board room of Israel’s largest venture capitalist group; into university offices and labs where I got to play and experiment with Oculus Rift and mind reading headsets, that allowed my physical body to sit comfortably on a chair whilst my virtual self got to fly over oceans and deserts, walk around virtual homes, drive the fastest of cars, perform hospital operations with the skill and dexterity of a physician and experience firsthand the sights and sounds of virtual reality.

IMG_4346The journey continued into the offices of fellow futurists, both academic and consulting based before moving off to spend time at one of Israel’s largest technology hub meeting with up and coming entrepreneurs’ and being pitched their incredible mind blowing ideas, playing with their prototypes and playing the “what if” game as we explored the road ahead for them.

These incredible experiences and provocative conversations only reinforced my dogmatic belief that there is “far more in virtual and physical earth, then we can ever imagine”

The more I travel, speak and discover the more certain I am that Moore’s Law is now struggling to keep up. That the world is truly evolving faster and in more ways than it ever has before, with the consequence that it has never been easier to fall behind and become obsolete, but it has also never been easier to invent, to innovate, and to succeed.

The notion of a business or strategy having a finishing line is so last century. Instead foresight strategy demands that we incrementally adjust our strategy as we go as well as taking regular innovation stops along our business race to catch our breath, assess the race we’ve run and plan for the changing terrain ahead.

Competitive advantage is withering on the vine and beginning to smell like last week’s rotten fruit.

Instead Opasyportunistic Advantage is ripening as the realization that with great people using great technology we can ensure that every customer touch point is bespoke every time for every interaction.

This lumpy bumpy new world of business is now truly asymmetrical. Size, budget, past experiences and runs on the boards are no longer necessarily predetermines of future success as we see huge long standing industries, brands and products being felled by disruptive impertinent ant-like upstarts.

To succeed in this future business landscape we must be willing to seek out and destroy our anchors of “we’ve always done it that way “and instead flex our innovation muscle by remaining open and ready to explore, question and exploit the ever increasing number of supposedly competing but yet complimentary thinking, practices, technologies and business accelerators that abound.

The road to tomorrow is in many ways unrecognisable from the road behind. It will at times be uncertain, fraught with angst and littered with casualties of business past, but with each exhilarating stride towards tomorrow we will be reimaging, repurposing and reshaping our business, social and mortal worlds as we continue to bend the fundamental notions of time, space, commerce and what it is to be human.

imagesSo the question this month is:
“How ready, willing and able are you to journey towards your profitable tomorrow?”

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group 1 group 2The workshop structure ensures that every participant is included. That there are no silos, no unheard voices, and no unanswered questions and that every potentially unsaid word, issue or thought is laid bare and open to provocative discussion.

It is a directed but open conversation that guides your voyage to tomorrow. A journey in which pragmatism plays its part, but so does opportunity; where fear and audaciousness are encouraged as collectively we explore the “what-if’s” and “if only we could’s” to arrive at the “we will”!

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Eye on the Future - Feb 27, 2015 | All, Business, Gadgets, Horizon Trends, Innovation, Internet of Things, People, Social, Technology, Wearable Technology, Work
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