In 1983, I identified digital disruption as one of twenty technology-driven Hard Trends that would increasingly shape the future at an exponential rate, and at the same time drive economic value creation. Today, as more and more industries and businesses become disrupted, it is important to understand that digital disruption happens in waves.
If an industry has already been disrupted, chances are more innovators — emboldened by the spike in news stories and early success that comes with such developments — will hop on the bandwagon, trying to best whatever innovation prevails at the time. In addition, the Three Digital Accelerators I also identified way back in 1983 – the exponential growth in processing power, digital storage, and bandwidth – are now far enough along in their exponential growth curve to enable rapid multiple revolutions in any field. What does all of this mean? If your career, business, and industry has already been digitally disrupted, plan on it being disrupted again.
A number of years ago, as part of an international project, I made a short list of the biggest problems the world would face over the next fifty years which included shortages of food and drinking water to name a few. Then I researched what would be needed to solve all of these problems, and I came to an interesting conclusion. The one common thread that connected all of the solutions was energy.
As hugely populous countries like China and India continue their evolution as economic powerhouses, the rural poor all over the world will increasingly move to urbanized environments seeking a better way of life. They will be in search of ways to climb the economic ladder, and as a result, added pressure will be put on our global resources.
Much like every other prominent industry, the medical field is becoming inexorably digitized. Digital disruption and transformation within the healthcare profession is a Hard Trend — something that will happen, something we can count on seeing in the future. But these developments aren’t exactly futuristic, far-off advancements; we’re starting to see them in our everyday lives and they’re already improving the quality of healthcare we as patients can expect to receive.
The digitization of the healthcare industry will invariably advance the field’s transformation from the Break-Fix model of medicine — reactively treating maladies and ailments as they occur — to the Predict-and-Prevent model — an anticipatory combination of detective work and cutting-edge technology that addresses the root causes of health afflictions and focuses on staving off future issues by advocating major lifestyle changes, behavioral changes, or preventative practices.
It doesn’t matter what you do for a living — whether you work in medicine or retail, law or construction, whether you’re a software engineer or a writer — there’s an art and science to just about every career imaginable. Every profession has its scientific aspects, those more mechanical facets and rules and methods you absolutely must know to excel within your industry. However, these professions, no matter how dry, straightforward, or technical, also have their creative or artistic qualities.
This dichotomy is what makes every industry so diverse. It’s the reason no two professionals within the same industry are ever identical. These people might have been working at their careers for the same amount of time; maybe they went to similar schools and took similar classes; maybe they even work for the same company and have the same position. However, they’ll differentiate themselves in the ways they’ve applied creativity and intuitive insights to their jobs.
Shortly after the launch of Apple’s iPhone, corporate Blackberry users started experimenting with the iPhone, and it didn’t take long before we began seeing office workers and executives juggling two phones – the Blackberry because they had to and the iPhone because they wanted to.
Blackberry was focused on the corporate market and they designed the product for corporate communication and email systems. This way, every device would be under the control of the IT department.
Today’s smartest smart homes have your appliances talking to you through texts sent directly to your smartphone. We have thermostats that automatically adjust based not just on the temperature, but on your daily routine. Some smart homes allow the homeowner to control everything—from starting your coffee in the morning to locking your doors and arming your security system—right from your smartphone.
To the average homeowner, this might sound a little like George Jetson’s Skypad Apartment. But before you decide that smart homes are too far in the future to worry about, or are only available to the fantastically rich and famous (I’m looking at you Bill Gates), look at what’s happening in middle class homes right now. The reality is that smart homes are already starting to be built in large numbers. And the technology is well on its way to becoming more refined, more affordable, and more mainstream.
There’s incredible value in foresight — in business, in government, but most of all, in your personal life. And nothing’s more intrinsically, existentially valuable than foresight about your own health. If you could know what will happen to your body based on the way you treat it now, along with your genetic profile, would you make lifestyle changes to prevent those problems from happening?
A Future Fact about health care is that technology is providing the tools for it to become more anticipatory. We’re seeing a shift from the current model to one that’s more predictive, one hinging on foresight and a combination of the right technology and analytical knowledge — what I would call the Predict-and-Prevent model of healthcare.
In today’s highly competitive world, it’s never been more important to exceed both personal and professional expectations. If you’re merely meeting expectations, you can position yourself as good — but not great. Or, you might be positioned as great, but not extraordinary. You will continue to have to work hard to add new customers and grow your business, as well as your reputation, and you will find competitors stealing your customers.
The sad truth is that few companies, businesses, associations, organizations, and individuals exceed their customers’ expectations. Here are some strategies you can use to do just that.
Few subjects these days are more contentious than education, and rightly so. If our children are our future, it’s essential we do everything we can do educate them properly, to prepare them for what’s to come. But are we schooling our kids for a future that might not even exist by the time they’re ready to transition to the working world?
Today, more than ever before, the ground beneath our feet is continuously shifting — growing and expanding in ways few have been able to anticipate. And with exponential advances in technology being reached with each passing year, the pace at which the global economy is changing has increased proportionally. The fact is, we might be training the next crop of professionals for obsolescing positions, and we may be failing to accurately predict the yet-to-be-invented industries and professions of tomorrow.
We all know that we live in an amazingly uncertain world full of doubts and reservations. Questions and misgivings about all manner of things, big and small, race through ourheads constantly.
On the global stage, we wonder: What does the future hold for the economy — what’s going to happen with Greece’s financial crisis? Will it damage the European economy at large? How will this and other struggling member nations affect the euro and the dollar’s standing against it? How will the dollar fare against the Japanese yen or the Chinese yuan? Will it perform against Brazil’s strengthening real?