2015 12 14 21 Disruptive Trends in Technology & Society in 2015
A disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates a new market and value networkand eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leaders and alliances. - 1995
(10 years later......)
What Disruption Feels like in 2015 ?
Disruptive innovation, is change that makes a difference. Innovation that changes a system irrevocably for the better, the spirit of progress, the inventions of the young, the new world being born!
If it seems I've been blogging incessantly about innovation and disruption of late, you would be correct! Being an amateur futurist, is also about looking for trends that have the potential to impact systems in profound and often interconnected and complicated ways. What used to take years to occur, will now take months. What used to to take decades, will now make unexpected accelerations that will correlate with how exponential growth occurs along predicted paths.
I'm going to blog now about 2015 stories that felt disruptive and notable to me personally, perhaps they did for you as well. This is to demonstrate a phenomena I call "convergence", where the acceleration of change on so many fronts means it's impossible for us to keep up. What occurs here, is more reliance on technology, to keep up, with the pace of technology!
1- Slack has changed the way we communicate as teams, in groups and document our process in company cultures. In effect, it's made Email less relevant and less the gritty essential task it once was. For this reason, I name Slack, disruptive company of 2015. There has never been a time when we were more aware that corporate culture is the key to a company's success. The tools you use have organizational implications on the professional productivity, just as gender and ethnic diversity does as well on a team's ability to see problems from multiple frames of reference.
2- User Generated Content, has disrupted the way brands do social media, build trust and reach Millennial audiences. For mobile millennials, don't even brand customer success, don't even pretend your testimonials will have social or knowledge authority, unless they are genuinely from your customers. Doing UGC, was one of the biggest disruptive trends in digital marketing in 2015, and ushered in an era of visual and video channels in content marketing adapting to the new mobile omnichannel reality.
3- Donald Trump, disrupted how we do politics in 2015, and further degraded the democratic process, the quality of the MSM (mainstream media) and in my view further harming the reputation of the United States as a free country that not only tolerates, but values diversity, progressive liberalism and human rights. As a deeply multi-ethnic society, to make racist or insensitive remarks against Mexicans, Muslims, Women or any other non-white group, is NOT okay.
The "Clown" is harming an already tarnished international reputation of the USA, and if elected, runs the risk of creating a deeply divided police-state. The idea that an arrogant billionaire can bulldoze his way to the White House, is something I find outrageous and is depictive of a deeply troubled (racial tension, wealth-gap, low quality propaganda centric media) society. Politics too can be "disruptive", not generally in the sense we're going for in this article.
4- Age of Entrepreneurship commences, 2015 was the year when we realized I think as a culture, that the traditional job, stability, corporate hierarchy and lack of authenticity in many jobs, is no longer acceptable. Increasingly from here on in, folks will be tempted to start their own business, join a startup that has value systems that they admire and will be forced by necessity to growth-hack their own jobs, careers and future in a fundamentally different way.
This is because, the world is accelerating and the very foundations of economy, business and innovation, is turning things on their heads. That is, a shift to Millennial values is taking place.
5- #COP21, the Paris Summit on the Environment, came to a conclusion with seeming progress about how the World organizes itself to combat rising global temperatures. To keep global temperature increase "well below" 2C (3.6F) and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C. $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future. Will this be enough for future generations? Only time will tell.
6- Algorithms in 2015, increasingly permeated every phase of our lives. From search engines, to online shopping, to how content is distributed on our social feeds. Algorithms are now embedded in everything, covering nearly ever aspect of our lives, and likely profiling us in the background, and eventually developing a way to predict and manipulate our behavior for profit.
7- If you follow Ted Talks, you are not blind to the fact that Machine learning is growing up, faster than some predicted. This means AI for specific tasks are reaching and surpassing human ability already in many key fields. This changes how Big data and analytics leads to better BI, real-time interactions and ultimately, predictive analytics. This also heralds the beginning the age of automation, where no job is safe.
8- Quantum Computing, continues to evolve and become accepted as a future technology in waiting that will expand and augment our computational power and processing speed, with implications we cannot yet imagine. It hasn't permeated the mainstream conversations quiet yet, but it's going to and soon.
9- MOOCs, have truly gone mainstream and are offering opportunities for quality free learning and those intelligent minds that have a passion for self-learning through online channels. With augmented reality integration, educational systems institutions are set to become disrupted by new technologies that improve upon very outdated systems that no longer correspond with corporate, startup and digital reality.
10- The Future is Open-Source, the future of the internet is tied to collaboration and open-source platforms that makes it easier for startups to disrupt their respective fields. Tools such as Apache, JBoss, MySQL, and Ruby on Rails have made it less expensive to develop new products and services and to deliver them across the Internet.
The way collaboration takes place online has disrupted old mentalities of completion, rivalry and and keeping the little guy down. This is a paradigm change that has been a long time coming. Web 2.0 is synonymous with Linux and Google and Android and results in more creative SaaS and apps that are better than established rivals.
11- The Future is Cloud based; 2015 was also the year cloud based technology really is seen as the future where everything is scalable, flexible, with the ability to create on-demand services that are streamlined, fast and seamless. This is after all, the digital customer experience we all want.
We don't think of it often, but this entails not just SaaS, but Business as a service (BaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). If you consider the kind of data and analytics for example, that cloud based POScan have on a store, to say it isn't disruptive is crazy. Tying customer value to Big Data is one of the keys of offering more personalized customer experiences.
12- Advent of Wearable Devices, we are familiar with the Apple Watch and Fitbit, both of which are doing quite well I may add. Embedded computing has a bright future, for fashion and analytics, for health monitoring and so many other possibilities. I'm excited about how wearable devices are going to allow us to have new social & shopping experiences with Bluetooth technologies in spaces, events and at locations such with device recognition and social search in an IoT smart space reality.
13- Transhumanism, really became mainstream in 2015, with popular media, movies and sci-fi permeating more into the memes and mass-consciousness. Whether this is by design or simply the world finally accepting that the future is here, and not some dream, it's hard to say. Things like AI, gene therapies, 3D printing, IoT, cybernetic implants and others aspects of the merging of biology and technology, no longer seem so distant or perhaps even "invasive" as they one did. We are becoming in other words, desensitized to the age of automation & Big Data ahead.
14- Cybersecurity, also in 2015 became a watch word as customer data, hacking, DDoS attacks and groups like Anonymous, become the norm. You're data isn't safe, cyber fraud is at an all time high, and you could be a victim of ID theft as well. A solution to human access, a biometrics system to replace poor passwords, is still seemingly in its infancy. Big Data is collecting information on you, in any number of ways, without your consent, devices are listening, welcome to IPv6. Privacy, cyber-security and cyber warfare remain fascinating topics that have become more legitimate.
Edward Snowden, is still a Hero to a global generation that defines itself less by country of origin, but by their digital habits and value-systems that seek to reframe capitalism equality and human rights to protect minorities better in a more diverse world.
15- Millennials, If 2014 was the year customer experience (Cx) was the keyword of retail, 2015 definatley saw a new audience and keyword to gain importance. This is not the realm of Facebook, this is the Instagram generation, the iPhone generation, and how SMS has taken over from Email as the way to reach them along with video content, and mobile where engagement is more about being authentic, inspiring and entertaining than about flashy ad campaigns that have no moral or ethical substance. The irony of this of course is how inept Gen X has been in understanding what the heck Millennials care about.
Millennials are multi device orientated with a mobile preference and the way their attention system works is fundamentally different.The attention economy of content for them, has to be thus customized to their preferences. Older Millennials, in their early 30s are rising to positions of more authority at work changing the power balance over the next 10 years in terms of who retail is marketing primarily to, with new families that have different value systems. (Think of the young Mother on Pinterest and who uses Instagram to showcase and chronicle her mixed race children)
16- Video on Demand, in 2015 there was a major shift, where traditional "TV" is going out of style. The way we consume video is changing and increasing. Video bringeing has become a popular phenomena. Services like Netflix and their competitors have made it big-time. The way we consume media, watch more - read less, has occurred. We don't have 10 minutes to read an article, but we have 2 hours to watch our favorite show.
17- Location Analytics, this is disrupting how BI works. BI isn't enough, real-time analytics and personalized offers requires data streams fast enough to respond with a triggered Email, with digital signage that recognizes a human, with the kind of flash and wow factor we've always expected, but that hasn't materialized yet. Reaching the consumer at the right time, at the critical moment/touch-point where the buying decision is being made is the key to this.
18- Digital Wallets & Mobile payment services, making payments via our mobile devices re Apple Wallet happend too in 2015, I mean we had a chance to see FinTech and glimpse how it would compete with banking in the coming years. The way we perceive currency could change, as Bitcoin was increasingly referenced in the media. The ideal of crypto digital currencies was once seen as almost a rogue element, no more.
19- Autonomous Vehicles, also saw their debut in a sense in 2015, and the world felt this wasn't crazy or something distant, but realizable and actually convenient. As someone who doesn't have or need a driver's license, I'd actually prefer an autonomous vehicle.
20- Apps, in 2015, made it big, you felt the sense that apps in the future wound become as powerful as SaaS is now and while it's an incredibly competitive field, mobile trends indicate that perhaps in the future apps will overtake websites in how we relate to brands, as we seek real engagement and not simply one way experiences. Apps essentially gamify our experiences, providing us with rewards that incentivize certain digital behaviors.
What is Instagram, but an app where I can visit "beautiful landscapes, food, people" and follow the lives of my friends on a more personal and intimate channel. What is SMS or snapchat, the proffered way to communicate? These are all apps. When social apps are monetized, ecommerce on social media, i.e. social commerce, why would I even want to visit your boring corporate website in the first place?
21- Technology Addiction. In 2015, you felt the disconnect more than ever between social reality and smartphone immersion; coffee shops were not just places where people talked or worked on their laptops but where they would be temporarily "lost" to their devices, public transport was where everyone was on their phone, texting or browsing. Work was not just a place where we were together, but behind screens today, likely implicated in software in multiple ways, likely not exercising enough and gaining unhealthy BMIs.
What was transformative for you in 2015? What felt truly different about technology, culture and society? Did you wake up one day and have any strange realizations about how your life has intertwined with the change in technology & society at large in ways that you are either optimistic, annoyed, cautious or fearful about?
I invite you to share in the comments below, your disruptive trend ideas for the benefit of us all.