Archive for June, 2015

Emerging Tech Is Society’s Shadow Future

June 8th, 2015



Buckle up fellow design and innovation junkies we are the proverbial kids in a candy store stocked with a growing inventory of brain-exploding emerging technologies. The shelves of our candy store are overflowing with exciting new technologies including genomics, robotics, Internet of things, big data, artificial intelligence, drones, and 3D printing to name just a few. Any one of these emerging technologies alone could change the world. Resist the temptation to gorge on any one of them before sampling the full cross section of possibility. Perhaps a better metaphor after appreciating the full breadth of possibility is to feel like a kid in a sandbox. A sandbox filled with both existing and nascent technologies beckoning design and innovation junkies like us to come play together to unleash the adjacent possible. To combine and recombine technologies in new ways to unleash a steady stream of transformational business models and to change the way we solve the important social challenges of our time. You know, little system challenges like education, healthcare and government!

Nascent is a beautiful and optimistic word. Emerging technology stories are about capabilities in their formative stage when they are most malleable and offer the greatest possibility frontier. Nascent technologies are the stem cells of society’s future. There’s a reason so much biology research focuses on stem cells. Stem cells are undifferentiated; they have the potential of becoming differentiated into most other kinds of cells. The hopes of human regenerative medicine lie on stem cell research and application. I’ve always been fascinated by the salamander, the highest order animal capable of regeneration. When a salamander loses or injures a body part stem cells rush to the cite enabling it to regenerate the body part. It’s amazing. Nascent technologies are undifferentiated, they have unlimited potential for regeneration to unleash incredible value. We live in a magic time when technology is no longer a limiting factor in solving the big social challenges we face. It’s on us humans to unleash our inner newts! Read more

Where Have All The Corporate Stories Gone?

June 1st, 2015

CorporateStoriesA good transformation story is hard to find. Especially when you’re searching inside big companies. I’ve been collecting inspiring cross-sector transformation stories for BIF’s annual Collaborative Innovation Summit for over a decade. It’s alarming to me how few of them have come from big companies. Believe me, it’s not for lack of trying or looking in the wrong places although we’re always open to suggestions. We look hard, and we’re fortunate to have a network of like-minded innovation junkies who are generous with storyteller suggestions. At BIF we’re equal opportunity curators searching under every rock for great, undiscovered transformation stories.

Each year over 500 innovation junkies from around the world convene to celebrate what we at BIF call, enabling random collisions of unusual suspects. The BIF community of innovation junkies loves transformation stories from across every imaginable societal silo. The more eclectic the mix of stories the more learning, engaging and doing. We find the best value creating opportunities emerge from the grey areas between our sectors, silos and disciplines. The most memorable and inspiring stories at the BIF Summit always come from the least expected people and places. A typical session at a BIF Summit sounds like the start of a bad joke with stories from a rabbi, police chief, corporate leader and a 10 year-old prodigy! Read more