Archive for the ‘future’ tag
New evidence, new capacities, new rules, and new stories are four catalysts with world game changing power.
On April 3-5, IFTF and the Rockefeller Foundation
invited people all over the world to join the Catalysts for Change
Foresight Engine game and imagine thousands of paths our of poverty with the aim to create real and lasting change.
More than 1,600 people from 79 countries responded, and after 48 hours
they had imagined 18,160 ideas for ways to catalyze change in poor,
vulnerable, or marginalized communities.
Closing the gap on promises
In my travels and over the course of my career, I have made many connections with people from all over the world who were hard at work on a variety of projects.
Be it science-based research, creativity and innovation, building businesses and companies over the long haul, or helping reinvent education, one common theme connected many of us — we got our start from humble origins.
This often translates into a strong work ethic, the foundation for wanting to close the gap between the promises we make and those we keep. Further, I found a common appreciation for being able to leverage our abilities and skills into commercially viable activities.
Building resilience and equity
Sharing a certain kind of story does wonders for building community.
The last couple of years have been quite trying for first world economies. As good as our going is, the recent crisis put us to the test on several fronts — from health and education, to employment, and shelter.
How many families and individuals have found themselves one paycheck away from ruin because of medical bills, or due to defaulting on their mortgages after a layoff. How about mortgaging one’s future on ever escalating tuition costs of an education system that increasingly needs boosting with additional practice just to keep up?
Building resilience and equity are certainly easier in a free society that has the gift of clean running water and a thriving environment of tech innovation. These assumptions are put to the test very quickly in situations like Hurricane Sandy, when it becomes critical that we connect the stream with action.
Which is why it is so important to participate in creating rich ecosystem of resources, relationships, and infrastructures for
responding to new stresses and, more importantly, for creating wealth
out of poverty.
While advancing this conversation with action is vital in the developing world, it is critical in our communities and businesses as well.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.
Before I started Conversation Agent in 2006, I was writing regularly on the community section of FastCompany.com and engaging in threads with global participants in a network (started in 1997) that at its peak reached 42,000 members (2000).
Remember, this was pre-LinkedIn (2003), pre-Facebook (2004) and pre-Twitter (2006).
We wrote posts to engage in discussions with other people on the network, and to connect on topics of interest. The online activities were extended offline through regional and local events — in Philadelphia we reached about 500 members and organized around 100 (free) events.
Many of the posts we made went across groups and literally traveled the world to then come together again at a Community @ Work Summit in Denver in August 2000.
I was reading a brief “lessons learned” report of an interview with Om Malik by Siobhan McKeown and thought about my answer to the question: how we can resist the chit-chat, how we can be part of a conversation.
To Malik’s advice of listening more I would add using our blogs as tools for listening and signal by going back to highlighting important questions, providing attribution (alas, that has gone by the wayside the most over the years), and seeking to connect more broadly.
It’s been at least ten years, and we have made little progress on the advice of just those few. Time to give a shot to a more diverse roster of perspectives and experiences? Just checking.
Whenever I poll readers on what they find most useful about what I cover, the answers invariably includes generosity in linking to the content of others, which allows them to discover new sources of thinking and to follow the conversation across different points of view.
Sidebar on signal
Signal is about being present to the topic. For example, I check in with the titles of posts here each week by re-reading them all at once.
For this past week:
- Digital products as evolution of content
- On graft, focus, determination, and attitude
- How to make a business connection
- Why connections do happen in real life
- Voice of the customer: who is in charge?
- Content as product worth paying for
- How environment shapes our decisions
They all revolve around customer focus and its evolution through digital, which I am using as a short hand for the technologies and tools we use to access information and stay connected.
Do we feel connected, I wonder?
To me, we’re getting back to the spirit of blogging — for listening and signal.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.
Afgelopen week mocht ik een kijkje nemen op de Innovation Experience van Philips. Mooi om te zien hoe het “gloeilampen”-bedrijf van weleer is uitgegroeid tot een multinational die oplossingen biedt voor hun vier grote thema’s: Livable Cities, Healthcare, Personal Space en Sustainable Living.
Met name de discussies over de cities of the future hadden mijn aandacht, maar ik mocht ook iets zeggen over de Personal Space. Altijd fijn om vrijblijvend tien jaar vooruit te kijken:
Meer informatie over leefbare steden vind je op de Innovation Experience website.
I have a bet with a friend who works in finance. He believes that Facebook will not exist in seven years. I, a marketer, couldn’t disagree more. It reminded me of when, in 1995, astronomer Clifford Stoll claimed that the Internet was “grossly overpromoted” and would ultimately be looked on as a fad. (He has since acknowledged his mistake.) More from Clifford later.
It’s difficult to define what “existence” even means in today’s digital age, when social technologies are imagined, developed, funded, adopted and acquired by a media conglomerate (often Facebook) in a matter of months, not years. Myspace is technically still in existence (I had to test it in my browser as I wrote this, just to be sure), but it’s far from relevant anymore in the social sphere. If Facebook goes the same route, I’ll concede defeat.
But I don’t expect to be in that situation come 2020. Though Wall Street is panicking about the stock price, which has shrunk by nearly half, Facebook is a game-changing technology, and technologies like that don’t just fade away in less than a decade. As we do the automobile, we can’t image what we ever did or would do without it. It’s a technology that we seemingly never saw coming (as opposed to a smartphone or tablet, which were arguably natural evolutions in product innovation), and technologies like that are special.
So if I’m so confident about the future of Facebook, where do I think it’s going? What do I think it will look like in seven to 10 years? As technology is moving so quickly, it would be futile for me to speculate on exactly what Facebook may be at that time, but here are four that opportunities could help sustain the platform.
*Note: This was the lead article in our September email newsletter. You are welcome to share it (thank you!), but newsletter articles aren’t published publicly to the blog until 5 days after the newsletter is sent. So sign up now to be the first to get articles like this direct to your inbox.
Our own Jim Boulton forecast that in five years (four since he made the prediction), there wouldn’t be any more websites. At least not in the way we’ve historically seen them exist (static and brochure-like) for the past decade and a half. The most fruitful opportunity for the future Facebook is embracing the idea of mobility—building amazing products specifically for mobile devices.
With each passing year, we become ever more connected to the web (and, consequently, each other), yet the devices are becoming ever less connected to our desktops (the ones with four legs). Tablets and smartphones can handle nearly all our connectivity needs and are progressing rapidly toward handling our content-creation needs.
It’s very possible that future of Facebook is as a mobile entity, complete with mobile advertising and other monetizing strategies, with us wherever we go, as opposed to just a destination we visit. AdAge reports that Facebook’s mobile-ad machine is expected to gain steam, growing more than 500 percent in 2013, to $387 million. By 2014 it should be the second-largest seller of mobile advertising, after Google.
According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is already a mobile company. Regardless of what our communication devices will look like in 2020, I believe that Facebook will (still) be part of it.
According to TechCrunch, investors are salivating over the prospect of Facebook getting into the search game (Faceboogle? GooBook?). Facebook gets a billion searches a day “without even trying,” Zuckerberg said, and it’s a good move. Facebook knows far more about our personal lives than any search engine could. There are privacy issues galore, but just imagine the possibilities. Instead of searching Google or Yelp for a good restaurant in town, you could use Facebook’s search utility and find which restaurants your friends have checked into, what they said about them and the pictures they took there (and I’m sure that if they have Instagram, it’s pictures of their food). One author at Social Fresh even thinks that Google should legitimately be worried.
Using search is another way to monetize, by possibly helping curb the intrusion of ads into our timelines. Facebook already inserts sponsored results into searches; these results are reported to have a higher click-through rate and a lower cost-per-click than display ads. According to Facebook’s career page, the company has three open positions for software engineers who can “Help build the next-generation search experience for Facebook to help 800 million people around the world find what they’re looking for in a quick, fun, easy-to-use way.” (Hat tip to InsideFacebook for the find.) Don’t be surprised to find Facebook head-to-head with Google in the next few years.
Right now the thousands of apps and games on Facebook can generate revenue through Facebook Payments. Whether it’s a BFF locket, Agar Bucks or a new shovel in FarmVille, you can use real dollars to buy not-real stuff online, with Facebook taking a cut. The overall marketing for virtual goods in the United States was predicted to be heading to $2.9 billion for 2012, according to the Inside Virtual Goods report.
Also, since Facebook has become the social hub for most of its users (is there any other place on the web that has as much information?) and has begun to be our standard log-in for connecting to third-party sites via Facebook Connect, it could become our online wallet; PayPal has tried to achieve this but has yet to become ubiquitous. We spend so much time on Facebook; why should we even have to leave the platform to buy things? And if we do leave the platform, why can’t we just use our Facebook log-in to buy items with a single click? Even if only a quarter of Facebook’s user base, which is quickly approaching one billion, is comfortable enough to link its credit cards to Facebook, that’s roughly 250 million, more than double the user base of PayPal. This is a major opportunity and one that some analysts believe is Facebook’s best option for a sustainable future.
4. Advertising and The User Base
The elephant in the room is advertising, as well as all the possibilities that revolve around leveraging Facebook’s user base. Between the near billion users, the amount of information each user provides and the ever-expanding criteria for ad targeting, Facebook has provided advertisers with the most comprehensive social graph ever. “There has never been any single company or organization, with the exception of possibly the U.S. or Chinese government, who have been able to map the relationships of people around the globe to the extent Facebook has been able to do,” said Reuven Cohen in his great piece “Mining the Human Cloud” on Forbes.
Facebook’s advertising model has major faults, and should it wholly embrace advertising in the way that Myspace did (full-page takeovers and such), I’m losing the aforementioned bet. What we know about Mark Zuckerberg and his company’s mission, however, is that Facebook’s products come first. I find it very hard to believe that it would ever mortgage its future by going all-in on advertising. The previous three scenarios, or more likely a combination of all three plus new opportunities we haven’t even imagined yet, will define the future of Facebook.
The Role of Brands
I don’t want to forget the major role brands play on Facebook. Or, conversely, the major role Facebook plays in brands’ efforts to market content and engage audiences. Currently brand pages are free, but Facebook seems to be quite aware that it costs money to build and support them. The idea, as highlighted in this Business Insider article by Jim Edwards, is to get brands addicted to Facebook in the hope that they will utilize promoted posts, paid ads and sponsored stories to help expand their reach. “The company can’t reach all its fans without spending money to promote posts,” Edwards said, “and it can’t ratchet down its always-on Facebook spend, because it has a large fan base who expect it to be there when there’s a problem.” Now it has a customer for life.
Who Am I To Predict the Future?
I am no futurist. I don’t own any stocks, and I’m not even sure which players I should start on my fantasy football team this week. To put the previously disparaged Clifford Stoll in a positive light, he gave an enlightening (yet frantic) TED talk in which he made a great point about the ability of technologists (and marketers and financial analysts, I believe) to predict the future:
If you really want to know about the future, don’t ask a technologist, a scientist, a physicist. No! Don’t ask somebody who’s writing code. No, if you want to know what society’s going to be like in 20 years, ask a kindergarten teacher.”
What’s your prediction for the future of Facebook? In seven years, will Facebook still exist?
The last week has been a bit of a blur – and I was just not able to finish off the five must-read posts last week … so I’m jamming two weeks together now. Slightly early … and maybe you’ll find this an antidote for insomnia on Sunday evening – or an inspiring way to start your Monday. Either way – I trust you will enjoy these five great reads.
- Trevor Young hits it out of the ballpark with his great post I’ve Seen Marketing’s Future and its Name is Amanda Palmer. Superb thinking and connecting of the dots
- Kate Carruthers looks at the big shifts between the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries – focusing on the digital economy and the digital revolution
- Any marketing practitioner will know – often through bitter experience – that our jobs are infinitely harder than they used to be. But Bill Lee says the evidence is clear – Marketing is Dead
- The climate change deniers can deny all they like. But Bill McKibben says you just need to follow the figures to realise just who the real enemy is – Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math
- I’ve been saying it for years – share the message but OWN the destination. But Ray Wang pulls no punches –> Brands are dumb if they drive traffic to Facebook. Read it and weep suckers!
In 2007, four out of eleven cars finished a 61 mile urban simulation course for the DARPA Urban Challenge obeying all traffic signals and lane markings without human intervention. In 2010, Google researchers announced that they had logged over 1,000 miles with no human intervention, and 140,000 miles with minimal intervention in a specially equipped Prius. Currently car manufacturers such as Lexus, Mercedes Benz, and Volvo are introducing self-driving features such as self-parking, radar enabled adaptive cruise control, and automatic collision avoidance. Read more » about Self Driving Cars, Neighborhood Electrics, and the Future of Auto-mobility
The second in the series of spin-off Firestarters events for the Search Marketing community, conducted at and with Google UK, is happening next week. This one is on the subject of mobile – such a rich subject right now so plenty to talk about, but we’ll be theming it less around best practice and more about what the future could look like, and how that impacts on what marketers need to think about today.
To help us we have one of the smartest mobile practitioners I know, Simon Andrews of Addictive Mobile, alongside Gareth Jones (Head of Online Marketing at Carphone Warehouse), Gareth Davies (Online Marketing Manager at Vodafone), and Husayin Savas who is a mobile ads product manager at Google.
As with the first event, we’ll be running a series of short provocations followed by debate and Q & A, and I’ll be doing the hosting alongside Google. The event will be held at Google UK offices on the 15th August (starting 6.00pm). It’s invite only, but as always I have some invites to give away to readers of this blog - if you’d like one then please contact me and I will notify the successful applicants.
The original quarterly Firestarters events for planners continue of-course – the next one will be taking place on 26th September so note the date and watch this space for more on that soon.
This is a few weeks old, but worth a mention—the fun introductory spot for Google Fiber by ad agency Venables, Bell & Partners in San Francisco. Google Fiber is the experimental broadband network that Google is building using fiber optics—Kansas City, Mo., is the guinea pig for the first piece of it. The launch spot continues Google's now-familiar habit of using handmade, analog models as metaphors for digital processes. In this case, Internet traffic is depicted as actual traffic, with little cars caught in traffic jams during the dial-up era, accelerating somewhat with broadband, and then finally exploding in a frenzy of speed on Hot Wheels-like tracks with Google Fiber—set to an infectious instrumental version of "Just What I Needed" by the Cars. VB&P teamed with production company 1stAveMachine on the ad—the same pair that produced the well-known gyroscope spot for Google Maps. Check out some more videos for Google Fiber—which is supposedly 100 times faster than what most Americans have today—after the jump.
Report by the CIS Summer Research Interns on the Transportation Research Board’s 2012 Workshop on the Future of Road Vehicle Automation
Report by David Gobaud, Michael Stolte and Francesca Svarcas Read more » about Report by the CIS Summer Research Interns on the Transportation Research Board’s 2012 Workshop on the Future of Road Vehicle Automation
more than large…..generalised statement but one that I think ‘in general’ is true.
“The PC revolution…invited innovation by others. So too with the Internet. Both were generative”
(He goes on to add that the future is not generative but arguably one of sterile appliances tethered to a network of control)
What is social media? Well, it is a generative platform that allows people to innovate.
What is a small business? Well, for me it is a generative platform that allows an entrepreneur to innovate in a niche part of the market. The small business doesn’t have rules, systems, procedures per se ….it has dreams
Compare that with a large corporation which I would argue in general terms is the opposite. The large ones that thrive manage to keep that innovative spirit….the large ones that struggle are driven more by meetings than dreams…..
For me that is why social media and small business go together, starting a business needs you to understand what you are wanting to provide, what your vision is…what your goals are….It is the corporization of a persons dream….the person or persons are the values, the brand.
For me that is why social media can be much more difficult for large ones…they are not generative in nature…they are a controlled network.
That doesn’t mean that all small businesses will thrive on social media, but it does mean that if they are themselves, if they use social media to express these dreams, their personality then they can stand out from the crowd…that is much harder for a larger company who has to get sign off for everything!
Ideas for small business come from within…and social media allows you to tell the world about them.
Ideas from large corporations come from a strategic plan that tends to be a compromise across many teams of people.
If you run a small business then realise that social media is the platform for your innovation….the Internet is a generative platform but you are the generator of the ideas.