So what are we moving towards?
Collectively, this shows how the use of the internet and mobile tech is altering human existence. It is a start of a re-organisation of how we live, work and support each other. From larger established institutions opening up. To developing parts of the world leapfrogging their way to IOT. The only thing we can say with a high degree of certainty is the world is changing in a fundamental way before our eyes. In the same way the Dreadnought fundamentally changed naval affairs. And, in the process altered the geopolitics of the world. IOT is having the same impact. The question for us now is ‘how do we prepare for this coming change?’
For the first time in world history we are witnessing the inclusion of the majority of the world’s population. This has an impact on how we generate products and services? How we market them? How we distribute to them? How we build relationships? The impact of introducing technology in remote parts of world is not fully understood. For example, most of the world is not institutionalised to think and behave in the ways we are used to in the developed world. This means the way they use and interact with the same tech will be different. We may not be able to forecast potential outcomes because we do not understand them. For marketers who are used to static profiling this can be a nightmare. A change towards behavioural profiling and clustering changes the nature of their work. From static tried and tested systems and processes to more dynamic ones brings its own concerns.
Platforms like edx.org / MOOC’s provide access to an Ivy League level education for near free at a global level. By designing courses for people from different parts of the world we are witnessing a fundamental shift. This is a change away from rigid industrialised methods. The way these courses are structured is fundamentally different to what we have experienced in the past. They make considerable use of our capacity to learn from a neural point of view. Yet, they also accommodate our cultural needs and preferences. So we could be from any part of the world. As long as we have the willingness to learn we can make use of the material. They don’t just stop at exposing us to a knowledge set. They also focus on ensuring we can bridge the knowing doing gap as well. We finally have the blending of the two. Now the focus is on both learning and more importantly applying that learning for our specific purpose.
So what does this look like in real life. Over the last decade or so Africa has become one of the most mobile connected continents in the world. They have over 600 million mobile phone subscribers and over 90 million of them use mobile internet. Just owning a hand held device has allowed disease monitoring to go real time. Mobile technology is also seen as the key way to combat malaria. All this because of first generation mobile technology being made available. The knock on impact so far has been greater economic activity locally. Social ties are easier to nurture and develop. Communications flows have increased. Data is easier to gather. Information driven solutions are now possible. The impact on health and education is becoming evident. All this from making first generate mobile available. As the smarter mobile tech starts to get adopted this impact will only increase.
Another more local example is the Hackathon. I was at the Allianz Hack Risk in London during the last weekend of May 2015. Here was an organisation generated by the Industrial Revolution. It was founded in 1860. An organisation with strong traditions and a solid performance engine. They were opening up their sourcing of new ideas and innovation to anyone who wanted to contribute. The hack lasted the weekend. We started on Friday night and delivered our pitches on Sunday afternoon. During this time they opened up their API’s. They made their management team available to discuss their inner workings. Traditionally, this was seen as confidential. They were looking to back an entrepreneur via the new accelerator program in Munich. This move towards opening up their innovation is becoming the norm. Events like this allow the average person to take part in the Research and Development of the multinationals. In other words, established companies are open to working with anyone as long as they can generate something of value for them. This certifies the change towards innovation larger companies are taking. More importantly the change towards the open innovation approach. This is a fundamental shift for large companies.