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Microsoft word 20 big ideas for 2012.doc

  1. 1. 20 big ideas for 2012 Don Tapscott DEC 16, 2011 12:57 EST ARAB SPRING | DIGITAL REVOLUTION | TRANSPARENCY | WIKILEAKS The views expressed are his own. What will happen in 2012? In the spirit of the aphorism “The future is not something to be predicted, it’s something to be achieved,” let me suggest 20 transformations (which Reuters will publish in four groups of five). We need to make progress on these issues now to prevent next year from being a complete disaster. These ideas are based on the research I did with Anthony D. Williams to write our recent book which comes out in January 2012 as a new edition entitled Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet. All 20 are based on the idea that the industrial age has finally run out of gas and we need to rebuild most of our institutions for a new age of networked intelligence and a new set of principles – collaboration, openness, sharing, interdependence and integrity. These big ideas will be the focus of much of my writing next year. 1. Make the transformations required to avoid the 20-year slump There is growing concern that the global economic crisis is not over, but may be just beginning. How do we avoid a prolonged period of slump and its effects – stagnation, unrest and even calamity? Evidence suggests that this is not a normal business cycle but rather a secular change — that the industrial economy and many of its institutions have finally run out of gas. A fundamental transformation is required — from old models of financial services to media, our energy grid, transportation systems and institutions for global cooperation and problem solving. At the same time the contours of a new kind of civilization are becoming clear. Society has at its disposal the most powerful platform ever for bringing together the people, skills and knowledge we need to ensure growth, social development and a just and sustainable world. Because of the digital revolution, the old industrial models are being turned on their head and new possibilities abound. From education and science and to new approaches to citizen engagement and democracy, sparkling new initiatives are underway to rebuild the world anew. We need new models that leaders of business, government and civil society can embrace. Rather than tinkering we need to transform our economy and society. 2. Radical openness WikiLeaks continues to release classified government, and soon corporate information. Clearly not all government information should be public. And government employees as a rule should not violate their confidentiality agreements. But this forced transparency is just the tip of the iceberg. Increasingly all organizations operate in a hyper-transparent world. Today customers can use the Internet to help evaluate the true worth of products and services. Employees share formerly secret information about corporate strategy, management and challenges. To collaborate effectively, companies share intimate knowledge with one another. And in a world of instant communications, whistleblowers, inquisitive media, and Google, citizens and communities routinely put firms under the microscope. So if a corporation is going to be naked – and it really has no choice in the matter – it had better be buff. And when it comes to corrupt governments, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Organizations need to embrace transparency for trust, innovation, better performance and success. 3. Pulling the plug: making communication a right in the Digital Age Throughout the Arab Spring, rulers attempted to shut off access to the web and digital tools. During the London riots of 2011 government leaders discussed the wisdom of pulling the plug on communications tools and leaders elsewhere including in the United States have openly discussed the Idea of an Internet “Off
  2. 2. Switch.” The experience suggests these to be counterproductive: When governments shut down the Net, uninvolved people are affected, angered and become involved. Moreover, when people have their tools of communication taken away, such as Twitter and Facebook, they have no choice but to come into the street and communicate. So this has had the effect of stimulating the mass action in the street. And as the Internet becomes the foundation for wealth creation, education, health care, supply chains, commerce and all other facets of society, shutting it down has the effect of creating a digital general strike and economic paralysis. Are there cases where it is legitimate and effective to pull the plug? Is communication a right in the digital age? What new models of free speech are required for the digital age? 4. Take action to prevent a worldwide youth explosion Today’s youth were told that if they graduated, worked hard, and stayed out of trouble, they would have a prosperous and fulfilling life. But that’s not happening. Around the world, youth unemployment is far higher than the national average. Young people are disillusioned, and their high unemployment raises the specter of a new youth radicalization. In the ‘60s, youth radicalization was based on causes such as opposing the Vietnam war. Today’s radicalization is deeply rooted in personal broken hopes, mistreatment, and injustice. Moreover, today’s frustrated youth have at their fingertips the most powerful tool ever for finding out what’s going on, informing others and organizing collective responses. How can we engage youth in finding new solutions and in doing so avoid a generational conflict that could make the 1960s look tame? 5. Shift to new models of global problem-solving The inability of the G8 and G20 to address the global economic crisis; the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization; and the Copenhagen and Cancun conferences on climate change show that formal international systems for cooperation are failing in achieving world goals of economic growth, climate protection, poverty eradication, conflict avoidance, human security and behavior based on shared values. Conversely many of the positive developments happening around the world, such as the struggles for democracy in the Middle East and North Africa, are not being made because of our global systems for cooperation but rather through new networks of citizens, civil society organizations and other stakeholders uniting around a common cause. It was a network of governments, private companies, civil society organizations, and individual citizens – the new four pillars of society – that organized to solve the crisis in Haiti. Rather than building more massive global bureaucracies it makes sense to embrace more agile, networked structures enabled by global networks for new kinds of collaboration. 6. The Arab seasons: Getting beyond wiki revolutions to democratic, secular governments In Egypt and Tunisia we saw a revolution in how to foment revolutions. Now we need to reinvent how to build democracies. Enabled by social media, anti-government leadership in these two countries came from the people themselves rather than a traditional vanguard. Tools such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter radically lowered the cost and effort of collaboration and undermined state censorship. Now leaders are beginning to use the same tools to help build functional democracies. “Social networks, Twitter and texting were critical to the revolution,” said Yassine Brahim, Tunisia’s new minister of infrastructure and transport, last year at Davos. “We are going to leverage social media to build a horizontal democracy rather than a vertical democracy.” We must ensure that the wiki revolutions result in just societies, and not be taken over by the old regime or other regressive forces. 7. As the Old Media collapse, improve how We inform ourselves as societies Traditional media such as newspapers and magazines continue to decline, in turn eroding the traditional ways we inform ourselves. Meanwhile there is an information explosion being caused by new media: Between the beginning of history and the year 2003, five exabytes of information were recorded. Today five exabytes of information are recorded every 24 hours. There are new dangers of information overload, balkanization, and the fragmentation and credibility of online content. Yet with the explosion of “the third screen” — mobile devices — there are vast new opportunities to inform people in the farthest reaches of the developing world. There are new emerging models for societies to be informed. How can we avoid a world where people only receive the information they agree with – isolating us into self-reinforcing echo chambers of content? How do we ensure quality, good judgment, investigative reporting, and balance? New thinking suggests each of us can become a media citizen where we manage out media diet to be appropriately informed. What can business, government and the media industry do to develop media citizenry?
  3. 3. 8. Ending the government debt crisis: New models for cheaper, better government The concept of “Reinventing Government” has been around for two decades. But its time has come. The sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the spiraling debt in America and other Western countries call for more than tinkering. Coupled with citizen resistance to increased taxes, there is an emerging crisis where the basic funding for government operations is threatened globally. 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 willingness to open up formerly closed processes and data to broader input and innovation. Governments can become a platform for 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. 9. New models of regulation: The citizen regulator The financial meltdown illustrated how the speed, interdependency and complexity of the new realities make traditional centralized rulemaking and enforcement increasingly ineffective. There are too many innovations, products, relationships and activities to effectively oversee and regulate. After years of chronic underfunding many regulatory agencies are ill-equipped to pick up the slack of the past, let alone confront novel challenges for which they have neither the resources nor the expertise. If the traditional approach is inadequate, what can supplement it? Effective regulation is more likely to stem from efforts that increase transparency and public participation. Rather than simply regulating, governments can drive transparency and civic engagement in industries from financial services to energy – not as a substitute for better regulation but as a complement to traditional command and control systems. But do individuals and civil society organizations have the capacity to help regulatory bodies develop more effective systems of monitoring and enforcement? Do connected citizen regulators really have the power to change behavior of corporations and other institutions? What needs to change to make this a reality? What are the implications for traditional regulatory approaches? 10. Kick-start job creation through entrepreneurship The “jobless recovery” is an oxymoron. There is no recovery unless it is inclusive. Unemployment levels around the world are brutally high, particularly for young people. We urgently need to create more jobs, and we know that eighty percent of new jobs come from companies that are less than five years old. The good news: every day it’s increasingly easy to start a business. The internet provides young companies with unprecedented access to the resources and promotional tools once associated only with larger and older corporations. And start-ups have the advantage of not being saddled with bureaucracy and other legacy costs. To create jobs governments should adopt fresh policies to encourage entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs also need more than just money – they need encouragement in the form of a supportive environment, access to resources, talent, innovations, and customers. We need to break the entrepreneurship logjam. 11. Privacy in the age of social networking The privacy community is in shambles. In the past the threat was Big Brother (governments) assembling detailed dossiers about us. Then came Little Brother (corporations) creating detailed customer profiles. Today the problem is the individuals themselves. Hundreds of millions are revealing detailed data about themselves, their activities, their likes/dislikes, etc. online every day. This situation has turned traditional privacy laws and regulations upside down. Privacy and data protection laws emphasize the responsibility of organizations to collect, use, retain and disclose personal information in a confidential manner. But collaborative networks in contrast, encourage individuals themselves to directly and voluntarily publish granular data short-circuiting the obligations of organizations to seek informed consent. To make things worse, some social networking leaders confuse this issue with transparency. But transparency is the obligation of institutions to communicate pertinent information to their stakeholders.
  4. 4. Individuals have no such obligation. In fact, to have a secure life and self-determination, individuals have an obligation to protect their personal information. Transparency and privacy should go hand in hand. I don’t buy the view that “Privacy is dead, get over it.” Privacy is the foundation of a free society. What new can be done to prevent the destruction of privacy as we know it? 12. Reversing the tide of climate change through global networks Climate change seems to have fallen off the radar. The failure of world leaders to negotiate a meaningful response to the problem of climate change has dented confidence in the ability of international institutions to provide effective leadership on this issue. Rather than waiting for government action, people and institutions everywhere are beginning to collaborate—for the first time ever—around a single idea: changing the weather. There are now distributed business laboratories where social entrepreneurs can launch experiments, build communities and attract funding for their ventures. In social networks peers challenge each other to take actions that reduce emissions and measure their collective progress over time. We are seeing the rise of a “green technology commons” where industries share intellectual property and other assets that could hasten the transition to a low-carbon economy. Web- based tools turn raw data into usable information, allowing stakeholders such as investors, regulators and ordinary citizens to monitor the progress of communities, nations, and corporations towards carbon neutrality. What are these new networks that are mobilizing households, workplaces and communities around the world to confront the climate change crisis? What can be learned about achieving global cooperation from this extraordinary movement? 13. New models of democracy for the Digital Age In many countries civic engagement by young people has been growing for years, but as evidenced by the November 2010 Federal Elections in the United States, around the world voting among young people is declining. Governments and democracy run the danger of becoming irrelevant. Many surveys show that young people are not comfortable with the old model where citizens are inert between elections and elected politicians and unelected bureaucrats do all the work. To achieve social cohesion, good government and shared norms, the new realities demand a second wave of democracy based on a culture of public deliberation and active citizenship. This is not direct democracy: it st is about a new model of citizen engagement and politics appropriate for the 21 century. There are great new initiatives underway, especially at the city level. 14. Opening up the financial services industry The global financial crisis destroyed long-term confidence in the financial services industry in the U.S. and other industrialized nations. But restoring confidence will require more than government intervention and new rules. What’s needed is an entirely new modus operandi for the financial services industry. Key players (banks, insurers, investment brokers, rating agencies and regulators) need to embrace transparency and integrity as the basis for credible and effective safeguards. New models based on openness, transparency and participation are already changing many parts of the financial industry — from venture capital to mutual funds and even lending. So why not deploy a digital response involving collaboration on a mass scale to properly evaluate and assess the value and risk of new financial instruments? Exposing complex financial instruments to the scrutiny of the thousands of experts who have the knowledge to vet the underlying assumptions could restore trust in banks, kick start venture capital, unfreeze the paralysis of lending markets and lay a foundation for a financial service industry that fosters the growth and prosperity of the world’s economies. 15. New models in health: Towards collaborative healthcare Countries everywhere are struggling to develop effective yet affordable healthcare systems. But all these debates assume an old model of health where patients are passive recipients of medical care and play little or no role in deciding their treatments plans. Patients are isolated from one another and rarely communicate or share knowledge. Healthcare occurs primarily when the citizen enters the healthcare system. For many years, this was the only model possible. But Web 2.0 puts the informed patient into a new context. It enables a new model of medicine experts call “collaborative healthcare.” This approach would be less
  5. 5. expensive, safer and better. For the first time, people could self-organize, contribute to the sum of medical knowledge, share information, support each other and become active in managing their own health. Engaged patients manage their own health more effectively, reduce costs and improve medical outcomes. Every baby and citizen should have a web site – half medical record and half social network for health. How do we get the medical establishment buy into it? What are the implications for healthcare providers and policy makers? 16. A next step for social media: social business? How is Social Media changing business? Companies everywhere are using platforms like enterprise social networks, micro-blogging, wikis, digital brainstorms, challenges and ideation tools to collaborate internally. These are becoming a new operating system for a business improving its metabolism-capacity to collaborate. However, recent examples illustrate that social media is becoming a new mode production that changes the way economies and firms innovate, create wealth and compete. Beginning years ago with Wikipedia and the Linux operating system and extending today to entire industries like the manufacturing of motorcycles in China. Closed, hierarchical corporations that once innovated in secret can now tap, and contribute to, a much larger global talent pool—one that opens up the world of knowledge workers to every organization seeking a uniquely qualified mind to solve their problem. Scientists can accelerate research by open-sourcing their data and methods to offer every budding and experienced researcher in the world an opportunity to participate in the discovery process. Social media is becoming social production. How can companies benefit rather than being harmed? 17. New models for the music and entertainment industries The music industry was the canary in the mineshaft for the entertainment industries. Digital music offers an historic opportunity to place artists and consumers at the center of a vast web of value creation. But these novel dynamics have turned the record industry on its head. Rather than build bold new business models around digital entertainment the industry has sought legal solutions to disruption. (The third-greatest source of revenue for U.S. labels is lawsuits against customers.) Arguably, an obsession with control, piracy, and proprietary standards on the part of large industry players has only served to further alienate and anger music listeners. With artists now increasingly turning against the record industry’s lawsuits, however, momentum may be shifting in favor of a better way forward. How can customers share music while ensuring that musicians, composers and promoters are fairly paid for their work? How could labels develop Internet business models with the right combination of “free” goods, consumer control, versioning, and ancillary products and services? Could music become a service where consumers have access to online streaming audio of any song for a monthly fee? What new platforms for fans’ remixes and other forms of customer participation in music creation and distribution are required? How could new approaches apply to other aspects of cultural content like film, television, books and even art? 18. New models for higher education: collaborative learning and content creation Without fundamental reform, universities will not be able to compete with cheaper and more effective online education providers. While many young people are still going to university, a growing portion of the best and the brightest students have given up attending classes, because the information is available in a more easily ingested form online. Universities must shift their business model from the centuries-old notion that a professor lectures students, to a more collaborative, interactive model. Instead of being the “sage on the stage,” teachers should be the co-pilot for students as they explore and collaborate online to acquire knowledge. We also need an entirely new modus operandi for how the content of higher education—the subject matter, course materials, texts, written and spoken word and other media—is created. Rather than the old textbook publishing model, which is both slow and expensive for users, universities professors and other participants can contribute to an open platform of world-class educational resources that students everywhere can access throughout their lifetime. How can leaders create a Global Network for Higher Learning? If universities open up and embrace collaborative learning and collaborative knowledge production, they have a chance of surviving and even thriving in the networked, global economy.
  6. 6. 19. The new demographic revolution: Embracing the Net Generation as young adults The world is becoming younger with over half the population under the age of 25. With many having grown up bathed in digital bits, they are adept with interactive media and completely comfortable with technology. Research shows that those with access to the Internet are the first-ever global generation – with strong norms for freedom, customization, collaboration, integrity and innovation. As they enter the workforce and marketplace, they are a huge force for transformation in every institution. But are we ready? How are they different? What do firms, governments, and educational institutions need to do to embrace them? What can we learn from them when redesigning our institutions for the new realities? 20. The New power of the commons Increasingly it’s becoming difficult or even impossible for companies to achieve breakthrough success without changing their entire industry’s modus operandi. In particular it increasingly makes sense for all the companies in an industry to cooperate for success by sharing intellectual property – placing important assets in the commons. Pharmaceutical companies are about to drop off what’s called “the patent cliff.” They will lose 25-40 percent of their revenue as the patents for many blockbuster drugs expire. There is little individual companies can do to recover from this crisis. They need an industry-wide solution that rethinks how they work together as an industry — to restructure industry practices and share some pre-competitive basis research or sharing their clinical trial data, such as results from failed trials or from control groups. Banks need to share information about risk management. Manufacturers need to take a page from Nike and share information, software and other assets for sustainable business practices. The auto companies should place fuel cell development in the commons. We need a new intelligent power grid for the production and distribution of energy. Co-development and collaboration within the industry and sharing is necessary. But industry leaders need to wake up and step up.

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