In March this year, I had the opportunity to attend the Creative Innovation event - Ci2015: From Disruption to Sustainable Growth in Melbourne.
We’ve all heard the buzz words and seen countless articles on the rise of technology, but it’s easy to dismiss these as white noise. We convince ourselves that it doesn’t really apply to us as we’re in a ‘people’ business. Even as an industry we clutter our conferences and PD Days with speakers who remind us that our business is based on personal relationships, technology is for ‘the big institutions’ and not us.
The time of ignoring what’s on the horizon is over for all, regardless of industry. Take these stats for example:
- there are currently 12-20 billion connected devices in the world, by 2020 it will become 50-100 billion
- in 2010, 1.8 billion people on earth were connected online. Come 2020 it will be 5 billion
When we look at how connected the world is, and will be in the near future, it’s clear that technology offers us a broader audience than we’ve ever had access to before. The thought of being able to reach out to a billion people at the touch of a button a decade ago would’ve seemed a fantasy. Now it’s possible for all of us. It’s also possible for our competitors, however small they may seem today.
In March this year, I had the opportunity to attend the Creative Innovation event - Ci2015: From Disruption to Sustainable Growth in Melbourne. I have attended dozens of conferences in my professional career. This was without doubt the most valuable of them all.
The highlight for me was the presentation by Dr. Peter Diamandis, a fearless innovator from Silicon Valley in the United States. Peter has created 17 start-ups, and is the co-founder of visionary companies such as Planetary Resources whose vision is to expand Earth’s natural resource base by developing technology to mine asteroids for resources.
Another venture he co-founded is Human Longevity Inc. Using the power of mapping the human genome, informatics, DNA sequencing technologies, and stem cell advances, its purpose is to solve the diseases of aging and extend the quality of life for all humans.
The key message of his presentation is that we’re no longer on a linear path of technology growth – but an exponential one. We’re in a unique period of history where the world no longer advances in steps, but instead advances in leaps and bounds over previous iterations.
I spoke to Dr Diamandis after his session enquiring about how he felt exponential growth transferred into conventions that exist today around strategy and business planning. He said simply that If you have a business plan that you think will take 5 years to execute, chances are someone is figuring out a way to do it in 6 months.
Peter suggested in his presentation that there is no such thing as privacy and creating in secret is no longer possible.
In an industry that has been traditionally slow to move, we need to consider the implications of competitors with this agility. Consider the plight of businesses like CabCharge who enjoyed a monopoly for so long, only to see this slip away to Uber, GoCatch and other new entrants. Complacency is the first ingredient of disruption, ask the CEO’s of Detroit how they feel about Tesla.
Peter believes the future is bright as these forces will bring those less fortunate into the first world through advances in clean energy, food and medical care. This will build bigger global consumer markets through an abundance of resources.
We’re in a time of information and communication abundance which we can use to our advantage.
If you’re interested in finding out more, you should read Peter’s book Abundance – The Future Is Better Than You Think, a New York Times best seller.