The technology likely to have the greatest impact on the enterprise and the global economy has arrived, and it’s not big data, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars or solar energy. It’s the Blockchain. The first generation of the digital revolution brought us the Internet of information. The second generation—powered by blockchain technology—is bringing us the Internet of value: a new, distributed platform that can help us reshape the world of business and transform the old order of human affairs for the better.
Don Tapscott argues that blockchain technology will transform financial services, but also the deep architecture of the corporation, animate the internet of things, recast the role of government, and fix the music industry, among others. He argues that the second era of the internet has profound implications for competitiveness, business strategy, architecture, and leadership.
Rethinking Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence
When Don Tapscott wrote The Digital Economy in 1994-95, The Digital Age was in its infancy. The pioneering Netscape Web browser 1.0 was in beta, websites didn’t do transactions, we all used dial-up modems, and smartphones didn’t exist. Google, YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter wouldn’t appear for many years.
Yet Tapscott’s analysis – raising issues such as networked business models, the impact of technology on privacy, the inevitable demand for corporate transparency, and the influence of new media on successive generations — deftly captured the many opportunities and challenges that lay in store for society. His pioneering term “digital economy” is now ubiquitous.
Today Tapscott reflects on the last 20 years and takes a Reality Check for the digital age. He explains that while much of the promise has been fulfilled, so have many of the dangers he predicted 2 decades ago. He argues that as with all disruptive platforms and social revolutions, networked intelligence destroys as it creates. Technology is also the foundation of new species of businesses that are capable of wiping out entire industries. Digital Conglomerates such as Google are achieving leadership roles in a dozen industries, where they do a better job with a fraction of the employees. Excess Capacity Networks like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb hold the power to wipe out jobs in industries ranging from taxis to hotels. Data Frackers like Facebook are acquiring vast treasure troves of data that position them to dominate multiple industries.
It’s been 20 years since Don Tapscott wrote The Digital Economy — the first best seller about the Internet. In 2014, a 20th Anniversary edition of the book will be published. This year Tapscott reflects on what has occurred and the next 20 years.
He argues that the corporation is undergoing the biggest change in a century. Due to deep changes in technology, demographics, business, the economy and the world, we are entering a new age where people participate in the economy like never before. This new participation has reached a tipping point where new forms of mass collaboration are changing how goods and services are invented, produced, marketed, and distributed on a global basis. This change does not wreck corporate profit. If understood, it presents far-reaching opportunities for every company and for every person who gets connected, in both the developed and developing world.
As one of the world’s leading thinkers about the role of technology in business, Tapscott discusses insights from his book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration changes Everything. He explains how a “Perfect Storm” of four drivers for change is creating the first category-6 business storm.
The technology revolution — the next stage of the Digital Revolution
A demographic revolution — the rise of the Net Generation
A social revolution — social networking and the explosion of community
An economic revolution — the global unbundling of the vertically integrated corporation into networks.
The conclusion? A new enterprise is emerging — one that innovates, creates value, orchestrates capability and builds relationships differently than the corporation that has dominated the 20th century. These new enterprises compete better and grow faster than the old model. But how can firms find the leadership to make the change?
In this new age of networked intelligence, collaborative communities are enhancing and even bypassing crumbling institutions. We are innovating the way our financial institutions and governments operate; how we educate our children; how the healthcare, newspaper, and energy industries serve their customers; how we care for our neighborhoods: and even how we solve global problems.
From their latest book, Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet, co-authors Don Tapscott and Anthony D. williams present groundbreaking innovations from every corner of the globe: how businesses, organizations, and individuals alike are using mass collaboration to revolutionize not only the way we work, but how we live, learn, create, and care for each other.
The continuing global economic crisis is a wakeup call to the world, demanding new thinking about everything. We need to rebuild many of the organizations and institutions that have served us well for decades, even centuries, but are no longer able. Many pillars traditional economic and social pillars of the industrial age have come to the end of their life cycle and must be reinvented on a new, networked model.
Simultaneously a new medium of human communications, the Web 2.0, is becoming a platform for collaboration enabling self-organization and communities. At the same time the Net-Generation has come of age. The children of the baby boom, aged 13-30, are not only the largest generation ever — they are the first generation to come of age in the digital age. These two factors are causing companies to rethink recruiting, compensation, training, collaboration, retention and the management of talent.
Don Tapscott argues that now is the time to rethink HR and management. He discusses conclusions from the $4 million research project that led to his book Grown Up Digital and subsequently to his most recent work Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World. He argues that a new paradigm in management – Talent 2.0 – is changing how every winning company will harness the power of human capital.
The concept of “Reinventing Government” — for better cheaper government, has been around for two decades. But its time as come. The Sovereign Debt crisis in Europe and the spiralling debt in America and other Western countries calls for more than tinkering. There is now a new medium of communications that only changes the way we innovate and create goods and services — it can change the way societies create public value.
Governments can become a stronger part of the social ecosystem that binds individuals, communities, and businesses—not by absorbing new responsibilities or building additional layers of bureaucracy, but through its willingness to open-up formerly closed processes and data to broader input and innovation.
In other words, government becomes a platform the creation of services and for social innovation. It provides resources, sets rules and mediates disputes, but allows citizens, non-profits and the private sector to share in the heavy lifting. This is leading to a change in the division of labor in society about how public value is created, and holds the promise of solving the debt crisis.