Return to the Tech Frontier


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A collection of articles from the Technology Frontiers event which took place on March 22nd-23rd 2012 in London.

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Return to the Tech Frontier

  1. 1. m n .co ndo ie Lo nt • ro 2 rs -f 01 gy 2 l o rd no - 23 t e nd w. 22 ch ww arch Mhuman 2.0tech trends to watchagent of changenew world orchestraa tale of future citiesblind dataFounding sponsor: Gold sponsors:
  2. 2. 2 return to the tech frontier Click on the News and insights image to jump from The Economist’s to the article flagship event 4 tech trends human 2.0 to watch Man and machine The top ten become one technologies coming your way. 3 6 8 agent of change new money Predicting the impact of Where next for disruptive technologies mobile banking? on the way we do business 9 10 technology workforce 2012 as a game Can technology really changer transform our working Exploring new lives? And will it be for business models the better? 13 new world orchestra a tale of future cities Or how a cast of three A blueprint for the thousand strangers made intelligent metropolis some beautiful music. 12 14 16 the mind of left brain, the consumer meet right brain Technology works When to go with creative best when it gets intuition, when to go inside your head with the data 18 humanising privacy and healthcare protection High empathy Revealing too much at machines in medicine the click of a mouse 19 20 blind data Information overload: Sorting the wheat from the chaff1 | © Economist Conferences 2012
  3. 3. News and insights from The Economist’s flagship event Technology is changing our lives at a phenomenal pace. In the past decade we’ve had the social media explosion, the advent of personalised medicine, the big data challenge ...and of course, the ultimate comeback story encapsulated by Steve Jobs’ Apple. Just keeping up with these developments is tough, but we have a higher ambition. At Technology Frontiers, over 250 business leaders and top thinkers shared their views on how new technology will shape the years ahead. The conference tackled many of the big technology debates of the day, from data privacy to the future of mobile banking. But this is no ordinary conference – our goal is to inspire as well as inform. How often do you get to meet a real-world “bionic man”, or see people turned into living musical instruments operated by crocodile clips and Play Doh? These were just a couple of the standout moments from the inaugural Technology Frontiers. I hope you enjoy this collection of stories from the frontier of science and innovation. See you at next year’s show! Jonathan Dewe Director Economist Conferences2 | © Economist Conferences 2012
  4. 4. HUMAN 2.0 Man and machine become one I predict that in this century advances in bionics, genetics, and regenerative medicine will largely eliminate disability. Hugh Herr, Athlete, Scientist, Innovator, Futurist eliminate disability,” Herr told the audience. A large swathe of the Hugh Herr climbs on stage and kicks off his talk on world’s population experiences a lower quality how technology is changing what it means to be of life due to mental or physical conditions, human. He’s a man who likes to think on his feet, but new technologies are emerging that could rapidly pacing the stage as he works the audience. transform these people’s lives in ways that were His speech is full of interesting ideas and insights. hitherto unimaginable. But it is only when he pauses, then bends down to pull up his trouser legs that the audience grasps By way of demonstration, Herr showed how his what a remarkable story our speaker has to tell. own prosthetic limbs allow him to run and jump There, wired up beneath his knees, are a pair of with extraordinary agility. But Herr can do a lot bionic legs the like of which you’ve probably only more than pound a stage. For example, he owns seen in a sci-fi movie. prosthetic devices that have enabled him to revive his passion for climbing. “In some circumstances A world-class mountain climber, Herr lost both I can climb better than before. Through technology “Today I’m wearing his legs below the knee in 1982 as the result of I found I could augment my capabilities,”very high-tech legs” frostbite after becoming stranded for days in a Herr reveals. - coup de theatre at blizzard on Mount Washington in New Hampshire. #Techfrontiers as His subsequent experience with artificial The technology is impressive – and at times Hugh Herr, double limbs set him on a lifelong mission to develop controversial. South African sprinter Oscar amputee, shows off technologically advanced prosthetics. Today, he is Pistorius is a double amputee and runs on two his prosthetics. Director of Biomechatronics at the MIT Media Lab. prosthetic legs shaped liked curved blades. Andrew Hill He has been so successful that it was felt he had @andrewtghill “I predict that in this century advances in bionics, an unfair advantage and he was banned from genetics, and regenerative medicine will largely all able-bodied athletics. Herr helped get this decision overturned and Pistorius is now hoping to compete at the London Olympics. The possibilities are limitless – an elderly person with arthritis could replace their old arm with a better bionic arm much in the same way that they might have a hip replacement. But there’s no doubt that this new technology also raises some profound questions about what it means to be human. Watch Hugh Herr’s full talk >3 | © Economist Conferences 2012
  5. 5. 6. an meets machine. M TECH TRENDS Elon Musk wants to retire on Mars. ‘every We are seeing a hybridisation of human and time I meet him he TO WATCH machine intelligence. Amazon Mechanical sounds less mad’ Turk, for example, is based on the idea says @tomstandage that humans can do some jobs better than #techfrontiers Tom Standage, The Economist’s computers. Post a query online, such as Online and Digital Editor, “what is the object in this photo?”, and the Brian Millar technology corrals lots of brain-power to @arthurascii outlines the top ten tackle the task. technologies coming your way. 5. nergy scavenging. E 2. rint what you desire. P Scavenging ambient energy from the likes Enjoyed The 3D printing is something we’ve been watching of TV transmitters could be helpful in Economist’s for some time. Now it’s moving into the powering small electronic devices.#techfrontiers event. mainstream and becoming increasingly @tomstandage competitive on cost versus traditional should be cloned manufacturing methods. But new challenges 7. Spy drones. and wheeled out arise: for example, what happens when people at every tech can download and “print” pirated designs of A camera-enabled quadrocopter controlled by an conference. their favourite products? iPhone is proving more than just a novelty. Police have been using them to monitor protestors, and Olivia Solon the protestors have been using them to monitor @olivia_solon the police. As they get smaller, the tabloid hack will 1. Mobile banking goes West. The future is surely be tempted to spy on a celeb, the unscrupulous tempted to use them for industrial espionage. Kenya is the world leader in mobile payments already here. – its success is down to the fact that it fulfils a real need in a developing society. While in the It’s just not 8. Solar lighting. rich world it may not be a necessity, it could be of value, even if it is simply to save a trip evenly distributed. Solar lamps have been around for some time, but now that the cost is to the cash machine. William Gibson approaching $5 a unit, we can expect them to make a much bigger impact. At this price there is potential to find business models that would enable solar to really take off – think of micro-entrepreneurs helping to “prime the pump” on solar lighting in the way the microfinance model enabled 3. verything as a service. E mobile telephony to take off in Bangladesh and Uganda. Technology enables us to rent out the things we own. For example, Wheelz enables students to share their cars with friends, or friends 10. rivatised space travel. P of friends, on campus. It is only through the SpaceX, established by PayPal founder Elon combination of smartphones, the internet, Musk, is on a mission to make low-cost space GPS and RFID that this kind of sharing can be travel possible. Musk’s Falcon rockets have delivered as a service. proved impressive, and now his capsule is going to be used to transport cargo to the space station, with a view to transporting astronauts in the future. 4. DNA sequencing goes mainstream. Oxford Nanopore has created a $900 DNA sequencer the size of 9. Augmented reality. a USB memory stick. Cheaper, faster technology could mean The likes of the Star Walk app lets you take a picture of the sky and find out what that in 25 years everyone will Watch Tom be sequenced as soon as they constellation it is. Currently a novelty, this are born. will come into its own when plugged into Standage’s social networks. full talk 4 | © Economist Conferences 2012 | © Economist Conferences 2012 5
  6. 6. Agent of change Predicting the impact of disruptive technologies on the way we do business, based on the findings from an Economist Intelligence Unit report sponsored by Ricoh.If one were to ask corporate leaders to list the Among the report’s other predictions: Clayton“megatrends” that are shaping the business world firms sharp. Finally, there is “efficiencyof tomorrow, three are likely to top most lists. Big data becomes big business. innovation”, which is low-end disruption. ChristensenOne is the accelerating shift in economic power Firms already collect vastly more data than they These are also important, but theyfrom West to East. Another is financial market did a decade ago, and new sources—from smart destroy jobs in the economy. When on innovationinstability and recession, at least for those in the meters to smartphones—will add much more Wal-Mart comes to town, for example,world’s more developed economies. The third is data to this flow. New or more advanced business they hire people but their model is so and disruptiontechnological progress. Of these three, the last models based on specialist analytics services much more efficient that they also putis likely to have the most direct impact on how are likely to emerge as a result. The European many retail shopkeepers out of business. heap smartphones Cbusinesses operate and how they are organised. Commission estimates that government data for all alone could add some €40bn (US$55bn) a year Clayton Christensen is a professor of business Looking ahead, growth innovation must usiness-oriented BAs difficult as the task is, business leaders and to the European economy by stimulating the administration at Harvard Business School outstrip the ability of the other two to social networkstheir teams must deploy their crystal balls and growth of new information services. and the bestselling author of The Innovator’s take jobs out of the economy. But in the ata mining for Dthink ahead about the types of changes that may Dilemma, among other titles. He is one of US and parts of Europe, businesses are behavioural insightbe wrought by technology-led innovation. Mid-size companies will be less the world’s leading authorities on disruptive investing less and less in these kinds loud computing, C common in 2020. innovation. of innovation, while engaging in more providing cheapA new report from the Economist Intelligence Technology advances will support a rise in efficiency innovation. and nearly limitless QUnit (EIU) synthesises different views of how micro-entrepreneurs in the decade ahead, In your view, will technology-related processing power Q and storagetechnology changes will affect organisations and will enable these tiny businesses to act like disruption continue as before, slow or I n our survey, many firms cited customersin the period between now and 2020. The report far larger ones. This has direct implications for accelerate in the coming decade? as a major source of innovation in the Immersive or holographic 3Dpredicts that technology innovation will continue midsize companies, which will increasingly need coming decade, ahead of more traditional A video conferencingunabated, confounding the beliefs of some that to choose whether to become larger to compete It will continue as before, but there is ones. What challenges does that hold? ugmented reality Ainnovation and disruption are slowing. Keeping on scale, or smaller to compete on speed. a concern about a possible imbalance A interfacespace will be tough: nearly four in ten survey Many will face this decision in the years ahead. between the three key types of A s a general rule, if you listen to your doption of visual, Arespondents worry that their organisations innovation. One of these is “growth customers and follow their lead, they tactile and voicemay fall behind. T here will be less need for innovation”, which is disruptive. It help you with the sustaining innovations. interfaces in primary middle managers. involves making what is currently an But for the innovations that create computing devices Greater analytics capabilities and other expensive and complex technology that real growth, customers are not very rtificial A intelligence— technologies will enable organisations to devolve is accessible to only a few people far articulate at what those things need to computers that far more decision-making authority to managers simpler and far more affordable. All be. If you just listen to them or follow learn by themselves and employees at the periphery. Nearly two-thirds growth in jobs in the US has come from them, they will misguide more than of those polled see this happening, which in turn such innovations. The next is “sustaining guide you. However, if you do not listen will allow many to say goodbye to the generalist innovation”, which improves good to what they say but rather look carefully middle manager of old. products’ functionality or expands their at what they really want to get done in capacity. Most innovations fall into this their lives, and how, and you can create Job growth becomes decoupled from category; on average they do not create a product or service that does it better, economic growth. new growth, but they are nonetheless at lower cost, then you can learn a lot It is becoming clearer that the productivity gains important to the economy, keeping from customers. from technology are allowing firms to create more output from less input. This is a triumph for business, but will create a stark challenge for job Agent of change: The future of technology disruption in business is an Economist creation. Indeed, the technology advancement Intelligence Unit white paper, sponsored by Ricoh. The findings are based on expert to come will place a wider range of jobs than interviews together with a global survey of 567 executives, conducted in September ever under the threat of displacement. The very and October 2011, on their expectations of the impact that technology will have on same trends, however, will also create numerous business between now and 2020. new occupations that do not exist today. 6 | © Economist Conferences 2012 | © Economist Conferences 2012 7
  7. 7. “We need to People want to know they go back to the are getting the best deal. true meaning of money: a token Ije Nwokorie, Managing Director, Wolff Olins of trust between two parties.” new Nick Hughes #TechFrontiers money fabio sergio @freegorifero Where next for mobile banking?s You hail a cab. Half way into the journey you to be without basis. “We make it clear we have realise you don’t have enough money to pay so you obligations to report to authorities. But this didn’t ask the driver to stop at the nearest cash machine. matter to users as the value of the service far There’s a long queue and all the while the meter’s outweighed any concerns,” says Nick Hughes, the running and the cabbie is making a few extra driving force behind the project and now director bucks at your expense. Far better if you could of Signal Point Partners, which advises and invests simply pay by using your mobile to transmit in companies in emerging markets that use mobile virtual cash to the driver. And yet mobile phone phones to deliver services. payments are nowhere near as popular in the rich nations compared to the developing world Despite M-PESA’s success, there have been – at least, not yet. hurdles to overcome– Safaricom had to convince regulators that it wasn’t creating a new currency, Safaricom’s M-PESA, a mobile-phone based money arguing that every penny in M-PESA matches a real transfer system, is now used by nearly half of world penny. Obstacles out of the way, Hughes Kenya’s population. There it fulfils a real need by says it has even more potential: “What is exciting enabling those outside the traditional banking now is the business opportunities it creates. For system to send and receive money, whether that instance, many Africans are off the electricity means paying a bill, buying goods or receiving grid but they can’t afford the one-off payment their wages. Users create a virtual account for a solar-powered unit. Now they could put connected to their mobile number, then whenever down a deposit on the unit, which is embedded they want to add electronic cash to their phone, or with a mobile device, and each time they turn the turn e-cash into actual money, they can do so at equipment on a small amount of money could be one of 28,000 retailers. taken from their M-PESA account. It breaks down the affordability barrier.” Fears that the idea would be rejected on the grounds that it suddenly meant its users and their But could electronic cash take off in the West, financial transactions could be tracked seem where most people have bank accounts and credit cards? Ije Nwokorie, Managing Director of brand consultancy Wolff Olins London, asks: What is “How do you make it compelling here? You are exciting talking about replacing something deep-seated – we still get excited when we pull crisp notes from now is the a cash machine.” He reckons the solution business lies in understanding the frustrations people have with making payments and looking at how opportunities virtual wallets could solve them. “People want to it creates. know they are getting the best deal, or that they Nick Hughes, Director, can make a payment quickly, without endless Signal Point Partners forms to fill in. These are areas where these platforms can play a role and add value.” 8 | © Economist Conferences 2012
  8. 8. Technologyas a game changerExploring new business modelsSession sponsored by Accenture You have to really careful about abusing people’s data - Richard Glynn - ladbrokes #techfrontiers It is big Benzecry: The #consumer is - old days of the data, not big now much more smokey flat cap are gone brother... in control than you have to business and can Fiona Graham move at speed @FionaGraham remember and en masse Consumer technologies such as apps and social the #TechFrontiers networks are outpacing enterprise technologies consumer @clearchannelint and transforming the way companies work. So says Oliver Benzecry, Managing Director of Accenture, has power. UK and Ireland, who notes we are now at a tipping Richard Glynn, Chief point and there are many opportunities to reinvent Executive, Ladbrooks both the front and back ends of a business. the real world and online. With the evolution of Examples include shopkick, a scheme which technology, services such as “in-play betting” uses smartphones to reward a shopper just for aims to add more to the experience, allowing walking into a store, providing new ways for punters to bet on the outcome of each retailers to interact with potential customers. and every ball in a cricket game, or even bet At the back end, whole processes are changing. throughout the 90 minutes of a football match. In innovation, for example, Procter Gamble moved away from the traditional internal RD Technology has also altered the way the company model and set up Connect + Develop, estimating operates its back office. “Over the last seven years, that for every PG researcher there were 200 the digital environment has changed the way in scientists or engineers elsewhere in the world who which we collect data. We know every single bet could help the company innovate. Previously, less that comes through on a second-by-second basis than 10% of its new initiatives involved external so we can run a better margin and offer better innovation partnerships. With its new programme, prices to the customer and so earn their loyalty,” by 2008, this was up to over 50%. reckons Glynn. Traditional high street bookmakers provide But while the capturing of data through the likes another example of how business models are of its loyalty programme helps the business improve evolving, in their case to compete with online its offering, it has to be careful about what it gambling sites. “Customers now have a great captures in an industry where customer privacy amount of choice on how, when, and where they can be a particularly sensitive issue. “It is big data place a bet – our job is to over-service,” says and not big brother. We make it clear what we are Richard Glynn, Chief Executive of Ladbrokes. The collecting and we reward customers accordingly. high street store is still a very important part You have to remember the consumer has power.” of what Ladbrokes offers, but the company now seeks to create an entertainment and community Watch the full discussion experience around the placing of a bet both in9 | © Economist Conferences 2012
  9. 9. work force 2012 Can technology reallys transform our working lives? And will it be for the better? Session sponsored by Ricoh Not that long ago, technologists predicted that One of the main claims for the new social Lynda Gratton, on how to get the best people for the task. Plus, PANEL SESSION It is hard to by the 21st century we’d have nifty robots to do technologies is that they improve workplace a facinating a networked environment means decisions are Lynda Gratton, Professor of bring about the hard work, leaving human beings to live a collaboration. This can certainly be true. When presentation on not made in a silo.” life of leisure. used effectively, collaborative working brings the way people Management Practice at the the level of about open innovation across a company. But in will work in the Technology also promises to make our working London Business School, trust needed As it turned out, the robots were slow to reality cross-organisation collaboration is hard future - a bit scary lives more flexible. Julie Meyer, Founder and materialise, while rapid advances in computing to implement, argues Lynda Gratton, Professor #TechFrontiers Chief Executive Officer at Ariadne Capital, who joins a panel discussion with for tacit revolutionised the workplace – only not in the of Management Practice at the London Business works with entrepreneurs and start ups, notes Rachael HanleyBrowne David Mills, Executive knowledge way that most people expected. What has become School: “It is not because there are different @leadmetoit that, particularly in the under 30 age group, clear is that each new technology imposes fresh nationalities or clashing personalities. People the concept of employment is changing and Vice-president of Operations to be demands on managers and workers, as well as from different disciplines have very individual technology is enabling the change. “They at Ricoh Europe, Julie Meyer, transferred. opportunities to make work more productive ways of working and use different technical don’t have experience of working for one and enjoyable. language. It is hard to bring about the level of organisation. They see themselves as their own Founder and Chief Executive Lynda Gratton, trust needed for tacit knowledge to be transferred.” brand with their own responsibilities for PL.” Professor of Officer at Ariadne Capital and Management Practice, “Want to get away from it all? Head to the Lynda Gratton She paints a picture of a generation that is bottom of the Grand Canyon,” was how one “It can be a big challenge as people don’t know LBS average time working longer hours but feeling that they have Mark Judd, Global Director London Business School executive at Technology Frontiers summed each other, they don’t have the social interaction, of executives more freedom and want to manage their own of Human Resources of the up the problem of being online and available and so it is hard to stimulate that environment,” not interrupted time. “Work is something they do that they shared services organisation 24/7. Managers are particularly hard hit: one points out David Mills, Executive Vice-president is 3mins love, not somewhere they go.” study indicates that they are interrupted once of Operations, Ricoh Europe. #TechFrontiers at Rolls-Royce. every three minutes. Not before time, bosses In this new world, managers worry about Helmut Fink are trying to find the communication tools Gratton believes that the key is in creating a @helfink potential conflicts of interest and reduced loyalty that might help rather than hinder. Some are question that is so interesting to all parties among employees. However, Gratton argues developing unconventional responses: one that they can’t stop answering it, in spite of any otherwise: “There is no evidence they are disloyal executive at the conference refuses to read communication difficulties. You also have to find but they are more conscious of the choices they anything they are just CC’d on, another has incentives – this idea that you are working for have. They have seen what has happened to the banned email altogether. the greater good of the company is not enough. baby boomers and the breaking of the job for life contract. They want to stay, learn and develop While one group of employees worry about In a later session, JP Rangaswami, Chief Scientist but realise they must stay mobile.” And the technology impinging on their lives, generation at, argued that enterprise social message to international companies – they have Y types are frustrated by their companies’ networking is a valuable way to break down joined you because you are global and they are sluggish adoption of new tools. Thanks to the hierarchies in an organisation. “Before, you had expecting to move around the company. consumerisation of IT, many of them are using to make hierarchical assumptions about whether more powerful technologies in their social lives people will work well together, now you just ask Watch the full discussion than are available at work. if your guys can talk it over. It changes strategy 10 | © Economist Conferences 2012 | © Economist Conferences 2012 11
  10. 10. Watch the video for “Sleep” new world orchestra Or how a cast of three thousand strangers made some beautiful music.I started asa music nerdto see whatI could comeup with but itis far biggerthan that.It is aboutpeople’s desireto connect. Choir singers don’t need to congregate together textured piece of music. Cue gasps of awe and to make music together. At least, not when you delight from the audience.Eric Whitacre, composerand virtual choirmaster have YouTube at your disposal, says Eric Whitacre, a composer and conductor. Encouraged by his initial success, Whitacre upped his ambition. The next project called for 900Eric Whitacre’s Whitacre has put together a virtual choir with people to record themselves singing his songvirtual choir at singers from around the world that he conducts via “Sleep”. Before long Whitacre had receivedthe #techfrontiers video. The idea started life when Britlin Losee – a 2,052 contributions from singers in 58 countries.conference was fan of Whitacre’s music – recorded herself singingquite mesmerising! one of his compositions and shared it on YouTube. Whitacre isn’t entirely sure where this is allMichael Anyfantakis Her voice is sweet, but the bedroom recording is heading. Virtual Choir 3, ‘Water Night’ launched@MAnyfant pretty low-fi. Even so, Britlin’s videoed audition in April using 3,746 singers’ videos from 73 got Whitacre thinking. He sent out an appeal for countries. But he says there is a lot more to it volunteers for his virtual choir, and worked with than just the music. producer Scott Haines to bring the video recordings together – with some impressive results. Having asked for feedback from the singers via Facebook and Twitter, Whitacre heard some of their At Technology Frontiers, Whitacre shows us how stories. “There are people taking part in places in the music comes to life. We watch individual Africa with no running water and rough Internet singers all over the world sitting in their bedrooms connections. They are spending days uploading or living rooms, watching their virtual conductor their video.” intently and piping up for their particular contribution. But the magic happens when all “I started as a music nerd to see what I could these voices are brought together, transforming come up with but it is far bigger than that. the individual song lines into a rich and highly It is about people’s desire to connect.” ‘Water Night’ launched in April using Watch Eric’s 3,746 singers’ videos from 73 countries. full talk 12 | © Economist Conferences 2012
  11. 11. A tale of future cities A blueprint for the intelligent metropolis Totally want PANEL DISCUSSION a Copenhagen Carlo Ratti, Associate Professor and Director, MIT SENSEable City Laboratory, discusses the future wheel now... of cities with YB Senator Dato’ Raja Nong Chik, Minister of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing, Really interesting Malaysia, and Peter Geuns, Technology Leader, Europe, Middle East and Africa, GE Power and Water. presentation fromCarlo Ratti and MIT Our cities have become living computers in which top 20 of the world’s most liveable cities,” says #TechFrontiers the digital and physical worlds merge together YB Senator Dato’ Raja Nong Chik, Minister of Federal Laura Scott to offer a better life for the people that descend Territories and Urban Wellbeing. The city is working @Laura_Scott on them daily. This is the image created by Carlo hard to get there. For example, Kuala Lumpur Ratti, Associate Professor and Director at the suffers from both traffic congestion and flooding Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s SENSEable caused by heavy rain storms – problems which have City Laboratory. prompted the construction of a new “smart tunnel”. Most of the time, this tunnel is used by traffic, but if Its projects have included the quirky – such as flooding is predicted it closes and is used to manage a ‘digital water pavilion’ in Spain, where the water levels instead. Other schemes include a Mass building’s walls, which are made of nothing else Rapid Transit system, and the regeneration of the but water, appear and disappear when the pavilion rivers and surrounding areas. opens and closes. Others have more practical applications: LIVE Singapore! collates real-time Crucial to the success of such projects is the data on urban activity to help people make better private sector, he adds. “It has to be a government decisions based on what is actually happening at initiative, but they then need to incentivise the any one time in the city. One of the applications private sector and help facilitate the project. looks at how taxi and rainfall data can be We have to be smart in our integration with combined to help manage supply and demand for other partners whether they be the landowners, cabs in bad weather. Then there’s the Copenhagen local authorities, or the transport providers.” Wheel, which transforms ordinary bicycles into hybrid e-bikes controlled through a smartphone. Ratti believes that to develop smarter cities, They capture the energy dissipated while cycling governments need to make their data available and braking and save it for when the cyclist needs and allow anyone to build apps for it, in much the a boost. They also collect data on pollution same way that the project is doing. levels, traffic congestion, and road conditions Bottom-up innovation is the way forward. in real-time. Kuala Lumpur is also looking to technology to help The Copenhagen Wheel transforms make it one of the best cities in the world to live. ordinary bicycles into hybrid e-bikes “We are now number 78 (in the EIU’s ranking of controlled through a smartphone. liveable cities) and by 2020 we want to be in the13 | © Economist Conferences 2012
  12. 12. Technology has to fit in naturally… “Food at a What we get now is so far Farmer’s Market short of a human experience. comes with @boninbough narrative.” Charles Leadbeater, author on says tech is @wethink on innovation and creativity changing us. the empathy Google search systems of oddly is rewiring us shaped potatoes. to short mssg. #techfrontiers Mobile phones Aleks Krotoski as addictive THE MIND OF @aleksk as cocaine #TechFrontiers THE CONSUMER Claudia Girrbach @ClaudiaGirrbach Technology works best when it gets inside your head Apple has it down to an art form – how to get it. The clock is a case in point – before its inside the heads of its customers. “You may be invention, we would wake and sleep naturally but Charlie Leadbeater: old/bald/unpopular but buy me and you will now our lives our dictated by it. “The Web is doing “Ryanair sell you be cool again,” was how Charles Leadbeater, a the same. It could even be reprogramming our a ticket, and then leading authority on innovation, strategy and brains without us knowing it as we are becoming they declare war on education, summed up why Apple’s brands have less used to digesting long-form content.” you” #Techfrontiers become hotter than Hades. Tom Standage Not only does technology have to mesh itself into @tomstandage Marketers may well look to replicate the our lives seamlessly, but it also has to have a buzz company’s success but understanding what makes around it. Marketers are keen to exploit the idea a product popular in the tech sphere can prove of influence and how that might play out in the elusive. Leadbeater contends that for a piece digital world. But Aleks Krotoski, an academic, of technology to become successful, it has to journalist and social psychologist, says that the become part of the furniture. “Technology has way some businesses are looking at how people to fit in naturally and be adopted into normal, influence each other online is crude. “There is everyday life,” he says. One strategy is to make the assumption that an online connection = the new seem ultra-simple – an iPad stylus friendship = influence. It takes complex human that allows you to write as much as you would beings and reduces them into a relatively simple with a traditional pen, for example. Crucially, series of ingredients that you can pour into a technology needs to have empathy and be recipe and, hey presto, they can be influenced. There is the assumption The social graph designed in a way that understands human But it is much more nuanced than that.” that an online connection is not enough to needs. “What we get now is so far short of a predict influence. human experience,” says Leadbeater. Further observation would yield more = friendship accurate results – if two people use multiple Aleks Krotoski = influence. #TechFrontiers Bonin Bough, Vice-president of Global Digital and communication platforms such as Facebook, Consumer Engagement at Kraft Foods, agrees: SMS and chat, then they are likely to be close is much more It Herve Lilliu “When technology began to look more like us and have more influence with each other. Watch Charlie @hlilliu nuanced than that. it took off and became cross generational so Or if a person receives more requests to connect you have grandparents keeping up with their through a social media platform than those Watch Aleks Aleks Krotoski, technology academic families lives through the likes of Facebook reaching out to them, they are likely to be and freelance journalist and Skype.” He notes that every successful more influential. But there is a caveat: anyone Watch Bonin technology changed our lives without us knowing can manipulate their identity online.14 | © Economist Conferences 2012 | © Economist Conferences 2012 15
  13. 13. Image from Sir John Hegarty’s presentation Anyone not watching #TechFrontiers can do now at: http://t. co/u8GDfzJU - even if just to see John Hegarty’s suit! A creative winner... Sarah Caddy @caddster Storytelling will always be the greatest form of communication - Sir John Hegarty When to go with creative from BBH #TechFrontiers intuition, when to go Simon Meredith with the data @simon_meredith “Creativity challenges technology and technology Neil Rimer, Co-founder and Partner at Index PANEL DISCUSSION There is inspires creativity,” says Sir John Hegarty, Ventures. “They can operate like simultaneous Sir John Hegarty, Worldwide a schism Worldwide Creative Director and Founder of focus groups, you can have customers support Bartle Bogle Hegarty. To make the most of each other, and even open up competition for a Creative Director and Founder between technology, businesses need to get creative. But new design.” at Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), technologists often they get so involved with the technology that it takes a while before someone comes up Geoff McGrath, Managing Director at McLaren Geoff McGrath, Managing and with the creative insight about how to apply this Applied Technologies says that user-driven Director at McLaren Applied creatives, technology to human needs. innovation is becoming very much part of the mix in product development. The company works Technologies, and Neil Rimer, but we “There is a schism between technologists and with pioneers in the field such as cyclist Mark Co-Founder and Partner at are also creatives, but we are also in cohesion with Cavendish, who shows just what is possible, Index Ventures look at how in cohesion each other,” he adds. Marketing, in particular, as well as the public. can be transformed by technology. “Today the technology can be used for with each way you can communicate with people can be “We design products for humans and so we have competitive advantage. other. done economically and in an exciting way. But to find an environment where we combine man what we are seeing is very conventional and and machine,” says McGrath of how McLaren Sir John Hegarty, disappointing.” Regardless of the technology, uses technology. Founder of Bartle Hegarty reckons success lies in storytelling. The Bogle Hegarty invention of film was revolutionary but who would Brian Millar, Director of Strategy at Sense want to go and see a movie without a story? The Worldwide, later commented in a session on same is true for the technology we have today, social media that we should be encouraging the with the likes of social media enabling businesses involvement of “creative consumers” – such as the Watch Sir to tell a compelling story or start a conversation endurance athletes that hack their shoes. “In a John’s talk with its customers. focus group, you might get £50 and a pizza. Here you are contributing to a better running shoe. But technology enables more than just the telling Participants also get bragging rights and there are of a story or the igniting of a debate. “We can use a tonne of talented people out there without jobs Watch the technology to connect us to the crowd – whether who can add this project to their CV. They certainly discussion that is customers, suppliers, or bloggers,” says don’t feel as though they are being used.16 | © Economist Conferences 2012 | © Economist Conferences 2012 17
  14. 14. HUMANISING HEALTHCARE High empathy machines in medicine Mike Harsh, Chief Technology Officer, GE Healthcare, Antonio Hidalgo, Executive Vice-president and Great story from mike harsh: MRI Chief Innovation, Marketing and Strategy Officer at Philips Consumer Lifestyle, and Fabio Sergio, scans for kids Executive Creative Director at Frog Design, look at how technology can be made more user-friendly. made fun with a pirate story. Hope they call it M Arrrrrgh I #techfrontiers Brian Millar @arthurasciiMRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines away from these cold technical machines and bringhave massively improved diagnosis of many humanity to the experience.”diseases. But having a scan can be a huge ordealfor patients, particularly for children. New This is just one example of how the future couldgeneration machines now provide high quality be shaped by so-called “high empathy” machines.imaging with a more patient-friendly experience. While technology has transformed healthcare,With the help of an iPhone, patients can control the next stage is actually making it more patient-the lights, the pictures and even the scents focussed and looking at what the experience iswhile they are in the MRI suite. Crucially, such for the end-user.developments also mean you are less likely tohave to sedate a frightened child. Fabio Sergio, Executive Creative Director at Frog Design, which works with companies to designSuch examples are part of big trend to humanise new products and services, says that attentionmedical technology. Mike Harsh, Chief Technology to detail is crucial, and sometimes it has littleOfficer at GE Healthcare, explains how they use to do with the technology itself. For example, instorytelling to make MRI less frightening. Children the process of designing a machine that enablesbecome part of an interactive tale, which begins diabetics to test their blood sugar, it was realisedin the waiting room with a jungle or pirate theme, that in some cultures, users had a problem withand is continued right through the scan. “There touching the measuring strip which would have ais a part in the scan where the patient has to hold trace of their blood on it. A simple low-tech ejecttheir breath to get clear image and so we have even button that eliminated the need to touch themade that part of the story. It is important to move strip was the solution. “Technology is sold as the key value but it is not always the case – human nature has to shine through.” It is important to move away from these cold technical machines and While the future promises to empower patients, bring humanity to the experience. the danger of information overload also has to be tackled. One example of how this could Mike Harsh, Chief Technology Officer at GE Healthcare be avoided is the “chip in a pill” that transmits information to a patch attached to the patient’s skin, which then relays it to a mobile phone so that doctor can accurately measure if a drug is being taken properly. Watch Panellists felt that healthcare has to move away the full from process and protocols. “Think people not discussion patients,” was the message. 18 | © Economist Conferences 2012