The IFTF Blog
Are traditional institutions a technology on the verge of disruption?
Each year, we hold a series of exclusive events for the organizations that support our core research programs. In our Fall 2012 Technology Horizons event, we touched on a number of issues that are beginning to shed additional light on the actual human experience of living through transformational times driven by exponential technologies.
This conference, organized by my colleagues Jason Tester, Anthony Townsend, and myself, not only explored a very interesting suite of emerging technologies, but went on to invite organizations to reimagine themselves based on the implications of these technologies and to explore the possible business models of the new competitors who will be even more free to leverage these emerging tools.
This is a conversation that generates a lot of nervous laughter.
There can be a bit of detective work involved in trying to figure out systems shifts. Here, we began with a series of clues that emerged from both our ongoing tracking of emerging startup business models and our Spring conference research, helmed by Jake Dunagan, exploring the future of the Human Internet. In particular, looking at the wave of interesting startups, from Getaround and AirBnB, to GigWalk and PulsePoint, it is striking how fluid digital networks are becoming at organizing the material realities of everyday life. Indeed, if past waves of internet-driven disruption have been centered on shifts in communication and then commerce, a new wave of opportunities is now taking shape around new approaches to the concept of coordination. A number of these emerging coordination tools are summarized in the attached worksheet.
We at IFTF are at times a bit wary of framing the emergence of exponential technologies around the popular concept of "singularity," but it is certainly bracing to realize that crowdsourcing organizations today are developing technologies that could be used to organize people to serve as swarms of "hands" for software programed designed to produce outcomes in the physical world.
However, as we explore below, this could potentially be problematic for most institutions because they themselves are themselves are basically legacy coordination technologies. If so, there is a lot of "rethinkery" to be done in board rooms around the world.
So, are traditional institutions a technology on the verge of disruption?
We invite you to watch the argument below and decide for yourself ...