This Week in the Future

June 17, 2013

FF_Parable-Oxford_English_DictionaryIt normally takes at least 10 years of consecutive use for a word to appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, but like everything else nowadays things happens fast. Last week the word “Tweet” was accepted as both a verb and noun, this may sound insignificant, but it goes along way to proving the case that when innovation strikes it can in an instant change culture, society, business and language irrevocably. Others words included Big Data, Crowdsourcing, e-reader, mouseover, stream as web, geekery, flash mob and BFF.

This was one of the topics I chatted about with ABC radio’s David Dowsett in our regular look ahead.

nasa pizza printerWe also looked at NASA’s commissioning of a 3D printer capable of printing pizza’s in space.

Wearable technology also got a look in this week with smart socks that monitor your body, its exertion and movements and provides real time information to a myriad of mobile devices and spray on liquid fabric that allows you to spray on directly to your body reusable and washable clothes, first aid sterilized bandages, as well providing a vehicle to carry nanotechnology into the skin including vaccinations, UV protection and even provide a fire proof coating to our skin.

Robots throwing the first pitch at a baseball match also made the list, the kicker in this story is it was thrown remotely by a 13 year old suffering from aplastic anemia who can’t be exposed to crowds. Using Google’s Fiber’s a special room was built in which the boy, his friends and medical staff witnessed him throwing the first pitch as did a host of sensors that sent all of his movements to a remote robot that replicated them 1800 miles away and remotely through the ball for him.

Sushi-DroneIf this wasn’t enough, how about flying sushi trays. Yo!Sushi is using iTrays, hovering restaurant trays, to deliver food from the kitchen direct to the guests table.

It’s an incredible world ahead, so have a listen to this weeks segment and as always let me know what what you see ahead.


Robots aint what they used to be, they’re what they’re going to be…

June 8, 2013

robots antiqueRobot butlers and maids seems to be the most common expectation we have of our new metallic friends. Robots that are lifelike, technically called androids, may still be some time off, but Robots of all other sizes, shapes and complexities are making their debut into the world of work and play.

In this week’s on air discussion James Lush of ABC Perth Local and I had a look at what we can expect to see and have in the world of Robots, Androids, Bots and Nano Bots.

In the world of medicine and health care we will see the growth and surge in telemedicine allowing Doctors and medical professionals to share, consult and even operate anywhere from anywhere, as Doctor’s climb inside a virtual robot and drive themselves around remote hospitals and operating theatres.

In offices and factories we will also have remote vehicle robots jockeying their virtual executives and workers around distant and remote global offices and factories.

There will also be an array of factory robots including Baxter who can learn and replicate any repetitive task in 90 seconds and costs around $22,000 to purchase, giving him an operating cost of $3.52 per hour, the same cost of the average Chinese worker – will this bring back some of the manufacturing to Australia? – stay tuned.

In our homes, we have already seen the march to the automation of lighting, heating, security and appliances as well as robotic washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers, but as they say in the TV ads, wait there’s more…

Our roads over the next years will start to be populated by self driving cars and remote controlled heavy vehicle will continue to grow in popularity, what will this mean for road conditions and safety?

Aged Care, retail, defence, security and all other things Robot were all part of this weeks segment, so have a listen and let me know what you’re most looking forward to about your first Robot.


Let there be Fireworks

May 13, 2013

what do you doInnovation is no longer a destination it’s a journey – it’s such an overused and over-hyped cliché, but it’s one that gets many people to understand that we can no longer innovate solely at annual or semi annual business retreats, strategy meetings, when things have gone wrong or when the whim takes you, but rather that innovation is a constant, minute by minute, living breathing thing that must be integral to every business person and owner.

So having got that off my chest, one of the questions I get asked most often is: “How do you innovate?”.

In this month’s webinar I started a three-part journey taking the audience through my innovation program, a tried and tested program I’ve rolled out to 1,000’s of clients and audiences around the globe.

Part 1 is the non romantic and ever so important phase of getting to know yourself and what you stand for because the one thing I’ve learned over and over again is that there is absolutely no use going out and getting shiny new toys and innovations, if you haven’t got your internals working properly.

We start off with a look at what innovation is; what has caused it to speed up; the illusion that time and space are disappearing and why the best place to find innovation is where digital and physical meet.

We then traveled on to look at the roadblocks to innovation and how you overcome them including silos, fears and boxes (you’ll just have to listen to work it out), before going down the road of how to ensure innovation is always up for discussion, top of mind and drives everyone’s thinking.

My final tip in Part 1 was the question I always ask of my new clients staff and why asking that question late last year, to one client’s workforce of 900 people, brought $10.4 million worth of bottom line improvements, product extensions and fresh new thinking.

Head on to this month’s webinar (47 minutes)and as always let me know your thoughts and questions:

and be sure to reserve your spot for next month’s FREE webinar – Monday 17th June @ 1.00 p.m. AEST Part 2 – where we’ll take a look at the tools, tricks and the “meat and bones” of looking for and capturing innovation – see you then.


Are you a fireplace or fireworks innovator? FREE May webinar invitation

May 7, 2013

Reserve your webinar spot now for Monday 13th May @ 1.00 p.m. (AEST)

Fireplace or fireworks – which describes your business and innovation thinking?

fireplaceFireplaces are comforting, once lit mostly self-sufficient; provide light, warmth and the possibility for cooking as well as offering a central mesmerizing place to stare down at and poke into.

Is this really what you want from your business? To constantly tend and feed a fireplace that absorbs you, entices you, continues to demand you stand vigilant over it at all times and forces you to rebuild it back to its former glory, every time it starts to wane or diminish.

fireworksToday’s businesses, and those that will succeed into the future, are more like fireworks, agile; scanning the sky and looking ahead; constantly predicting, changing and adapting to the environment; exponentially growing and collaboratively building towards a strategized crescendo always knowing that there is another fireworks display just over the horizon.

In the last 3 months I have worked with and surveyed thousands of CEO’s in Australia and New Zealand and found that 84% of them admit that their business, products and practices are fireplaces that haven’t substantially changed in the last 3 years with a further 89% conceding that they would like to be firework businesses, but don’t know how and where to begin.

So for all my fellow firework business owners I’ve dedicated the next three months of FREE webinars to guiding you through the how, why, where, when and who of firework business innovation.

Next Monday 13th May at 1.00 p.m. AEST we’ll start our hands-on journey together through the first of three phases of innovation and I’ll show you, give you examples of and share my tools with you as we explore how to:

1. grow a self-sustaining innovation culture and forward thinking business

2. know and harness your own unique innovation DNA

3. exploit the innovation that already exists around you

4. ask for and get innovation happening around you

5. get others to do your innovating for you, and

6. learn the only question you’ll ever need to ask to profitably kick start your innovation

RESERVE your spot NOW

I’ve developed, tried and perfected my unique secret-sauce blended innovation and foresight process over the last 32 years with solopreneuers, entrepreneurs, business owners, corporations, governments and fellow innovators around the globe and it continues to evolve and to always achieve incredible and profitable innovation and foresight results.

One of these extraordinary projects happened late last year where I embedded the foundations and seeds of an innovation culture across a client’s 900 plus employees; empowered and educated them into the purpose, imperative and methods of innovation; built transparent innovation capture processes and then set the employees free to evolve the company into what they believed it should become.

Within four months they had added $10.4 million of new thinking, products, services and changed work practices and we have only begun to stare into the sky and watch the fireworks go off.

Stop getting lukewarm by the dwindling fire and start getting exhilarated by the infinite possibilities of the fireworks, join me next Monday and let’s start innovating your sky.

RESERVE your spot NOW

Last month we had a record crowd online, so please join our ever growing tribe of Webinar Wisdom Warriors.

All you need is an inquisitive mind, a passionate desire to know what’s over the horizon and a computer screen.

click here to reserve your FREE place on Monday 13th May 2013 at 1.00 p.m. (AEST)


The third industrial revolution has begun

May 6, 2013

third-industrial-revolutionWhen we sit on the cusp of a new method of production, one that moves us beyond the production line and returns us to a bygone era of artisans, bespoke, custom-made innovation and production, then it becomes necessary to re-frame the way we think about the way we create, own, distribute and have.

In this weeks’ on-air chat with David Dowsett of ABC radio we turned our attention to the recent announcement by St Vincent’s hospital in Melbourne that within 5 years they would begin trialling 3D printing of human body organs and that within 10 years printing of human spare parts may become “normal”.

This technology has been on the rise for a number of decades but technology, culture and medical advancements are all conspiring to make this the time that science fiction starts to turn into science fact.

3D printers will, over the next decade, evolve to print cars, homes and buildings, food, clothes, furniture and so much more as we begin to “manufacture” items in situ in real-time at our shops, factory’s, hospitals, homes and wherever we need to produce or have an “object”.

The world of innovation, manufacturing, global citizen equity and the ability to “have” will all be challenged as we see industry’s emerge, industry’s disappear and billionaires created in this brave new world.

Have a listen to the live recording and then let me know your thoughts on the new world of 3D printing:


The hypnosis and neurosis of Education

April 29, 2013

future education

There is a well-intentioned neurosis around education that seeks to justify the educational outcomes of the previous generation by imposing the educational standards, rigours and methodologies onto the next generation.

In a past world secondary education most often led to a singular qualification or vocation. This employment choice required pre-employment education and ongoing workplace informal and ad hoc education.

The norm of employment was a single linear career where the employer offered tacit certainty of life long employment and forty years of career progression at the end of which you received a golden watch for a job well done and a pension that took you into retirement and your new life.

In this world culture and society required conformity in its future citizens. It was practical in a more routine world and society to underpin education with the foundational teaching of the three R’s (writing, arithmetic and reading).

The education system of the past suited the needs of the past, but in a future where there is less certainty and rigour, where we may live to 120 years of age, work into their 80’s, have 6 distinct careers and 14 jobs in professions that we do not yet know of doing tasks we yet can’t imagine the underpinnings of education, employment and society will require innovation and invention.

The hypnosis of the future is that the workplace and the 9-5 will disappear. That the need for physical exertion and work will diminish as mechanical devices take over humanity’s chores and that instead people will spend long hours in idleness and recreation is not on tomorrow’s radar.

These are falsehoods.

The core of work and society’s need of it will still remain, but what we need to do to equip tomorrow’s workforce will have to evolve.

The workplace of tomorrow will be global, physical, virtual and digital.

Language and physical location will cease to be barriers to work.

Global qualifications and accreditations will become increasingly important as will the ability to acculturate and collaboratively work in both physical and digital work tribes.

Work will increasingly be done in project and task mode rather than in 9-5 mode and the notion of where we work will be less important than how we work.

All of this will play itself out against a backdrop where the world will add 2 billion to its population in the next four decades; see huge increases in the numbers of well-educated middle class citizens and ironically face the duality of a global skill shortage in an environment of overabundance of available workers.

In this new world of work education’s preparatory role is not just foundational, but transformational.

We must equip tomorrow’s learner s who have already outsourced the 3R’s and other routine memory tasks to external technologies and who are adapt at online research and inquiry with the fundamental skills that will extend these innate skills into vocational purpose, this new educational focus and paradigm should include a liberal dose of the 3C’s – Communication, Collaboration and Creative Problem Solving.

Education’s physical premises will also become less important as we move to multi-modality, multi-site offerings where the viewing of prerecorded lectures, deep and immersive virtual and physical learning resources are common and student-teacher engagement is a blend of physical and virtual.

These core learning instruments will be continuously added to by adaptive learning environments and technologies that constantly search out and learn the students’ preferences, abilities, needs, content being taught, required outcomes to assemble a bespoke set of hyperpersonalised education experiences with best practice learning aids and examples each flexed to the learners preferred learning styles and delivery mode.

This amorphous educational future scaffolding will include an orchestra of educators, academics, educational institutions, industry, professionals, non-academics and knowledge providers, all either physically or virtually coming in and out of the learning environment when and where required to provide real-time learning and insights in varying taxonomies, most appropriate to the learner, the task and the learners preferred style for that specific learning episode.

In this new education frontier students will use a blend of traditional learning tools as well as newer teaching tools including gamification through which they can attend digitally at physical art galleries; attend virtual foreign classrooms to learn language and culture, as well as trial complex scientific and mathematical problem solving methodologies using virtual modeling and prototyping.

The reality is that for digital and mobile natives of today and tomorrow this world already exists. It is the world that they already see and function in.

We must not take them back to a world that enshrines past skills and behaviors, that does not challenge and stimulate them and that does not adequately prepare them for the uncertainty and opportunities of tomorrow’s world. To do this is to condemn us to relive our past when the purpose of each new generation and the education system that nurtures them should be to invent our future.


Noodle making robots

April 22, 2013

Robots have long been the stuff of science fiction and many of us have grown up waiting for the day when our dreams might turn into technological reality.

In this morning’s regular look ahead David Dowsett of radio ABC and I took a look at robots and discovered that they are already here.

telemedicien robotTelemedicine robots allows Doctors to virtually jump inside a moving mechanical device and transport themselves around hospitals and clinics engaging and treating patients along the way. Robotic surgeons use their robotic arms to accurately guide and oversee complex operations often in tandem with skilled physical physician hands. Nano robots are routinely swallowed into our body and then guided around to take internal x-rays and photographs. Robotic limbs replace lost, degenerated and non-existent limbs, as well as provide heart pumps and other life-giving robotically controlled devices.

telework robotsIn our offices and factory’s we see the increased use of teleworkers using robotic Segway like devices that allow executives to be in two places at once by jumping on-board a telerobot and riding it virtually around far away offices to attend board meeting in one country without ever having to leave the comforts of their own offices. Many of these devices cost no more than $250 and use PC tablets mounted on robotic shoulders and free software to see and connect you.

drievelss carOn our roads we can expect to see a fleet of driverless cars who know where you need to be and when, have real-time updates of the road conditions ahead and will chauffeur you to your destination in comfort and safety.

Robot-Noodle-SlicerRobots are also entering the hospitality industry as noodle makers, hamburger flippers and sous chefs and in retail as clerks and sales assistants.

Robots as anthropomorphic, high functioning, independently thinking, self replicating humanoid machines are still a long way off. In theory they appear to be easy to create, but in reality are still beyond the ready boundaries of our capabilities and technologies.

There is much work being done in robotics and the most recent catalyst of this is the growth and convergence of big data, mobile technologies, changing culture and a growing appetite for robot like devices together with a practical and pragmatic future need to overcome a growing chronic shortage of workers in some industry’s.

For now, and the immediate future, we will have to contend ourselves with robots and mechanical devices that provide assistance with life and works more mundane and repetitive tasks.

Robots when they do arrive will bring with them many challenges. They will start and stop careers, industry’s and jobs. They will require us to grapple with the ethics and rights of robots and humans and make decisions that we have never had to make before as we learn to co-exist with machines.

The time to start these debates is now, for we are truly on the precipice of when not if as science fiction turns daily to robotic science fact.

Have a listen to the segment now…