digital economy

A 17-post collection

Technology4Directors: Boards need the capacity and capability to oversight technology and digital strategy

Last Friday I moderated a most insightful and highly experienced panel of Elizabeth Proust, Graeme Samuel, Doron Ben-Meir and Andrew Walduck to guide an important gathering of board members and senior executives through the complex issues facing enterprises in applying technology to achieve goals in today’s globally connected world. It was a joy to work with a panel that had decades of experience on major company boards, directing the technology and digital strategies for major corporations, regulating Australian companies, experience in startups, entrepreneurship and government innovation systems. The lunchtime session was put together by Michael Alf and myself to examine why major technology projects too often fail to achieve the goals that were used to justify the investment, run...

Profit Shifting – Unethical and Disgraceful

This month it was revealed 343 Australian and foreign companies had forged secret tax deals with Luxembourg to siphon profits into tax havens to slash their tax bills – some to nearly nothing. What happens when big multinational companies use the infrastructural benefits of one country to generate income and then park the major portion of that income in another country in order to take advantage of favourable tax laws in that low tax country? The country that actually helps the business to prosper loses their fair share of tax and the country in which the income is parked is rewarded for doing nothing other than being a low tax country. This is not only deceptive but distorts the world economy...

When Smartphones Meet Big Data

The amount of information circulating every day and that is made easily available via smartphones has created an augmented reality that has in turn created a very different way of living at the beginning of the 21 Century. This information abundance is both a blessing and a curse. But innovation is creating new services previously unimagined such as aggregating the photos and videos shot by thousands at the same major event to create a better record of that event than any one of the people could create on their smartphone by themselves. People can forget things now because it is so easy for technology to remind them later. The glory that was once credited to memory is stolen because technology...

Innovating on Innovation

Last month I spoke at the AICD Company Directors National Conference in Hamilton Island on the Digital Disruption Panel where I developed the theme of Innovating on Innovation. The panel was well received and I would like to summarise those ideas in this Blog. Smart enterprises innovate on innovation to drive disruption to their markets rather than waiting to be disrupted. Each new wave of innovation builds on the previous one; people and enterprises build capacity and capability wave by wave. In this scenario, learning is more important than strategy. What we need to learn is to position people and enterprises to take advantage of emerging trends and strategies. Consider the establishment of the canals between Chicago and New York...

The Death of the Salesman

In the late 1970s IBM was in full flight as the world’s most profitable company with a sales force envied by all its competitors. As a product of IBM sales training I was in New York in 1984 guiding my customer BHP on an investigation into best practice in steel information systems which gave me the chance to witness an unbelievably great performance by Dustin Hoffman in Arthur Miller’s iconic play Death of a Salesman. Miller saw his play as setting forth what happens when a man does not have a grip on the forces of life. Today buyers are globally connected and are engaging with other similar buyers as well as with experienced users on case studies...

How to Fix the Copyright System

In many of my posts this year I have been calling for a radical overhaul of the copyright system for the digitally connected economies of the 21st century. The complexity of this challenge is daunting. But despite that the task is daunting it is important to describe some practical ideas to fix the problem. Those who create new things, whether that is music or memes or stories or services and establish trust should be rewarded by the society. To do this we need to give our innovators and inventors the power to control their innovations and inventions, to set their price and the conditions that apply to their creations. Modern technology gives us almost unlimited choices in how we might...

Bringing Us Together Enabled by Technology

I just listened to Eric Whitacre conduct a choir where physically present voices were in the moment enhanced by 32 voices from 32 countries creating a cacophony of wonderful sounds that emotively, powerfully, illustrated how artists have inspired scientists to work with engineers to create something that really has the power to united us. http://www.ted.com/talks/ericwhitacrevirtualchoirlive.html Composer and conductor Eric Whitacre has inspired millions by bringing together “virtual choirs,” singers from many countries spliced together on video. In the above link, for the first time ever, he creates the experience in real time, as 32 singers from around the world Skype in to join an onstage choir (assembled from three local colleges) for an epic...

The Paradox that is Copyright

The advertising model for revenue generation on the Internet is effective when a 3rd party is prepared to pay for advertising to gain access to sell their product to your audience but it is inefficient and ineffective in many areas particularly when the value of that access is low or when such access distracts your audience from the use of the product that assembled the audience in the first place. This model worked well for media and brilliantly for Google. There are also excellent variations. Construction Data Management applied this model to the construction industry by collecting building plans from architects without cost in exchange for providing the architects with costing data by region and CDM in turn built a...

A Knowledge Economy Needs a Digital Currency

Whilst we have been ripping off music and cheering as software and news became free, the work we were doing every day increasingly relies upon respect for and valuing of intellectual property. But as free software, music and news have undermined the value of intellectual property we have undermined the very basis for our emerging knowledge economy. When the advertising revenue streams for our major newspapers are taken by Google because they can freely place their ads alongside any newspaper content then who will be paying the salary of the investigative journalist working on the next Watergate break in? It is not the sensational story that is important it is the constant enquiry into the power and politics of every...

Our Copyright Laws are a Mess

Over the last several weeks I have addressed the importance of trust, payments systems and security and I must once again return to address the most fundamental challenge of the digital world – copyright. How often have you heard “Copyright is dead, it’s an outmoded concept destroyed by students all over the world who refuse to pay for any digital content, especially music.” The conclusion to this discussion usually goes “like drug laws copyright laws just turn students into criminals, and won’t stop downloading so they are irrelevant and should be abolished.” This expresses a widely held view but this attacks the fundamental and essential core of any successful knowledge economy. In the US in the 20s there was...