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Introducing Technology Trends and Me
Consumerization & the IoT / 25 Jul 2016 / By Lewis Richards

In the seminal graphic novel Watchmen, there is a quote from the superbeing Dr Manhattan:

“But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget ... I forget.  We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another’s vantage point, as if new, it may still take our breath away.” 

To me, this epitomizes the ‘digital’ world that we inhabit and our sometimes ‘meh’ attitude to technology.  We live in a world of consumer DNA testing and nascent artificial intelligence, where your body has its own personal API that itself can be monetized.  Where self-driving cars are being developed and deployed and machine intelligence systems can now outfly human fighter pilots and beat us at centuries old strategy games.

As the LEF research lead into Technology and Trends Sensing within our 21st Century Organization, I am charged with distilling and making sense of the world around us for our clients.  As the self-styled Digital Chef, I have made it my mission to try and understand new and emerging technologies and other trends, and to provide a ‘vantage point’ on the personal and organizational implications.  I try to help reinforce the point that digital is the new literacy, and we should all be able to manipulate, co-create and remix data and technologies to create new value as 21st century humans working for 21st century organizations.  I fervently believe that we all need to develop a baseline set of skills to be able to operate in this world.

As part of this exercise, I have led the development of the Xperience Lab, a haptic playground to expose delegates to important digital skills.  A space where we can explore, test, learn and ultimately identify where new technologies and trends may impact.  Over the last 18 months, I have developed a real passion for trying to understand our innate human place in this technological world.  Time and again with the Xlab, I see participants’ real desire and excitement to learn, combined with a realization of their (typically substantial) skills gaps.  We are sleepwalking to irrelevancy and a major shift in our individual learning patterns is required.  How will we become’ ‘better humans’?

My colleague, David Moschella, introduced the term and concept of the Matrix as a metaphor for the capabilities we can draw on in this new world, with a deliberate nod to the 1999 sci-fi movie.  I have come to see the Xlab in that pop culture lens, with Morpheus offering Neo the choice of the red pill or the blue pill.  Morpheus doesn't offer Neo a glossy view of the future, he simply promises to show him the real world.  If we are simply not biologically equipped to ‘see’ the real world around us anymore, then we need to develop new skills to help us to work and play in this reality.

Evolving our sensing research

Trends & Me

So what does this mean for our research?  We are now evolving the sensing component of our research, to draw out the implications of new technologies and trends for our individual and organizational contexts.  Each month, starting in September, we will publish a multimedia piece on our ‘technology trends and me’ stream, that will summarize opportunities, threats and implications of a specific trend.  The first few will cover Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Machine Learning, Robots and Automation.  We will focus on the implications for individuals and their organizations.  What is the current status and trajectory of that trend?  What does it mean for you?  Does it matter? Where should you look for the opportunities?  And the threats?  We will use a combination of media, case examples, insights and recommendations to unlock the value of innovations for you and your organization.

To paraphrase Dr Manhattan, I believe it is my job to use technology to take your breath away.

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CATEGORIES

Business / IT Convergence
Consumerization & the IoT
Digital Business Strategies
Learning from Silicon Valley
The Changing Nature of Work

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