Archived Event


2019 Spring Study Tour: The Decentralization of Everything

What do we mean by everything? Technology, data, skills, workforce…. power? 

There are multiple signals that the classic levers of IT are being progressively decentralized. Technology and data are moving out to the cloud. Internal skills and workforce are becoming ever more poorly matched to future needs, with critical skills coming from outside.  Sourcing is becoming a cat and mouse game between suppliers systematically reducing unit costs while simultaneously creating greater demand. The centralised role of the CIO – control over people, assets, money and contracts – is reducing, while at the same we have seen the ascendancy of roles such as the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and the CTO. 

Does this signal the end of the IT organization and leadership as we know it? Does it make the CIO role redundant? Future IT relevance requires a fundamental rethink of how IT operates in a decentralized world where technology, leadership, operations and financial levers exist across the enterprise rather than at the centre. 

This Study Tour will dive deep into the forces of decentralization versus centralization, of provision versus control, and this faction versus that. It is targeted at CIOs wishing to prepare for these changes, and CDOs looking for internal and external advantage. During the tour we will examine their relevance and provide attendees with insight on the following: 

  • What are the forces behind all these changes and can they help us anticipate what is going to happen next?  

  • What does the future organization and workforce look like? Are we decentralizing the organization and recognizing that talent exists outside your business more readily than it does inside? Or has the pendulum swung towards insourcing and centralization? Should we just expect a constant yo-yo or is there another way? 

  • Is Serverless a fundamental paradigm shift likely to create a battle for future control between IT, Business and Finance? How can this be best exploited both internally and externally for value, without recreating past chaos? 

  • Is blockchain just hype or can it enable the next wave of distributed applications? If so, what will that actually mean for IT?  

  • Will the existing cloud models continue, or will they decentralize to the edge and if so then who will control it? Are we investing in the right places? 

  • How will IT address the challenge of trillions of IOT devices distributed everywhere, with mission-critical impact? 

The outcome of attending this tour will be to address key questions such as: 

  • What will the role and relevance of the CIO and IT be, when you no longer own most of the resources including people, money, subject matter expertise and IT assets? 

  • What technology, organization and people bets are being made by leading organizations to maintain relevance? 

  • What are the new organization models? How is labour being organized and decentralized to make it more productive? 

Companies and technologies we plan to explore include: 

  • Exemplar companies and leaders who are reinventing themselves in fundamental ways, including organisations that are off the beaten track and doing compelling things 

  • Technologies that are accelerating decentralization, including mesh, matrix and serverless such as Amazon Web Services with Lambda, Lambda@Edge, Serverless Application Repository and Greengrass 

  • Suppliers enabling decentralization and built around this way of working, with companies such as Crypto, DFinity and Hyperledger 


Janeiro Digital Microsoft Stackery Nordstrom Amazon Web Services Digital Asset Holdings Trek10 Oracle a16z Nextworld Netflix Chronicled Scope AR

Simon Wardley

Leading Edge Forum

Simon Wardley, based in the UK, is a Researcher for Leading Edge Forum and the lead practitioner for Wardley Maps advisory service helping clients anticipate market and ecosystem developments.

Simon’s focus is on the intersection of IT strategy and new technologies, and he is the author of multiple reports including Clash of the Titans – Will China Dethrone Silicon Valley?  where he assesses the hi-tech challenge from China and what this means to the future of global technology industry competition. His previous research covers topics including Of Wonders and Disruption,  The Future is More Predictable Than You Think - A Workbook for Value Chain MappingBeware of Geeks Bearing Gifts: Strategies for an Increasingly Open EconomyLearning from Web 2.0 and A Lifecycle Approach to Cloud Computing.

Simon is a seasoned executive who has spent the last 15 years defining future IT strategies for companies in the FMCG, Retail and IT industries.  From Canon’s early leadership in the cloud computing space in 2005 to Ubuntu’s recent dominance as the #1 Cloud operating system.

As a geneticist with a love of mathematics and a fascination in economics, Simon has always found himself dealing with complex systems, whether it’s in behavioural patterns, environmental risks of chemical pollution, developing novel computer systems or managing companies.  He is a passionate advocate and researcher in the fields of open source, commoditization, innovation, organizational structure and cybernetics.

Simon is a regular presenter at conferences worldwide, and has been voted as one of the UK's top 50 most influential people in IT in recent Computer Weekly polls.



Glen Robinson

Emerging Technology Director and Distinguished Engineer
Leading Edge Forum

Glen helps create 21st Century Humans.

Technology is constantly reinventing itself and keeping pace is a long-term investment.

In his role as Emerging Technology Director for the LEF, Glen is constantly exploring the emerging technology advances that will augment our lives, changing the way we think about everything.

Glen takes these learnings and delivers them to customers in the form of the Digital Experience Lab, or Xlab, which is part of the 21st Century Human programme. This haptic learning experience helps customers build confidence and competence in a vast array of digital tools that are available to them today. Using these responsibly to augment our lives in a positive way is the outcome of the workshops he runs, tasking attendees to consider their current level of digital maturity and injecting ideas for personal development and improvement through a more responsible, competent use of digital.

Glen also arranges Study Tours where he facilitates tours of global technology hubs, immersing customers in the technology they seek to understand the impact of better.

A frequent speaker at customer and industry events, Glen also leads the 21st Century Human community, is a STEM ambassador, a distinguished engineer for DXC Technology, passionate about the environment, and a very average surfer. Most of all, he enjoys helping others build the lifelong skills which make happy, healthy and more productive individuals, all essential capabilities needed for success in the 21st Century. 


Start: 17 Mar 2019 09:00
Finish: 22 Mar 2019 15:00

Seattle and San Francisco