Keynote for Hitachi at Wired’s Nextfest

Posted by Dr. James Canton on August 31, 2007 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

On September 14, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, I will be presenting my Top Innovation Trends and the Future of Business keynote at Wired’s Nextfest on behalf of Hitachi

Accelerating change and radical innovations are reshaping the business landscape. Innovation is the key driver of competitive advantage. New industries, products and services will emerge such as clean tech, nano-manufacturing, always-on Internet, on-demand pharmaceuticals, personalized medicine, personal security, Web 2.0 media and alternative energy to name a few. There are massive challenges and opportunities that confront business and society as we step into the 21st century. How will we manage climate change? What will be the impact of 100 new mega-cities? How will the next generation of Web 2.0 businesses compete? How business leaders and companies prepare for the future—the emerging threats and opportunities—is the central focus of my practice at the Institute for Global Futures.

At the same time complexity in business is increasing and the need for more transparent business process tools are in demand. Managing the transaction knowledge space across time zones, geographies and markets will be a challenge few companies have mastered. Many of these new industries are global and have global customers, supply chains and partners. New tools that provide faster information that can support better decision-making are needed.

I think that XBRL can be a powerful tool for better transparency and managing the global enterprise and increasing competitive value by streamlining all kinds of information. The full potential in a world of always-on networks, virtualization and pervasive mobility demands that people have access 24/7 to their business-critical data. XBRL will enable this access and more. I have been an early advocate of XBRL for a number of years.

At first XBRL was viewed as solely a financial management tool. In this era of real-time business, global competition and super-fast innovation I think the future potential to use XBRL goes well beyond finance. I think that any company that wants to maintain a future competitive advantage will want to explore the potential use of this tool.

Upcoming Nanotech Confrence

Posted by Dr. James Canton on August 23, 2007 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

In case anyone has been off the grid or surfing in Bali on extended sabbatical, nanotech breakthroughs are shaping the future of most industries, from life sciences to manufacturing, to energy. There has always been a need for a comprehensive road map. NSF has led the way. New efforts are emerging.

“For 20 years, researchers have explored the amazing promise of atomically-precise manufacturing. Now, for the first time, the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems will show the way forward, and the payoffs along the road, to this ultimate technological revolution.”

“Over the last two years, under Battelle’s leadership, and hosted by four U.S. National Laboratories, researchers from academia, government, and industry have met to chart paths toward advanced, atomically-precise manufacturing. The resulting roadmap reveals crucial challenges and unexpected opportunities in the next steps forward.”

Thanks to the Center for Responsible Nanotech for the info.

Productive Nanosystems: Launching the Technology Roadmap October 9-10, 2007 Arlington, Virginia USA

Why Go:

Explore the enormous promise of nanotechnology, and explore a wide range of applications, including:

– Super-efficient energy collection and storage
– Medical devices to detect and treat diseases at their earliest stages
– Next-generation computation
– Advanced sensors
– High-performance aerospace materials
– Intelligent materials and devices

AAAS Health Enhancement Report

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I recently participated in a report and event to discuss the latest findings about human enhancement, HE. This work started as an outgrowth of our work with the Social Implications of Nanoscience workshops and reports undertaken by the National Science Foundation, US Government. Simply put, HE is about the productive development of peoples potential as well as the use of convergent technologies, nano-bio-info-cogno NBIC to augment intelligence, speed, and most of all, improve health. For a look at the report see:

AAAS Human Enhancement

From Algo Trades to Quants: Future of Trading

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The connection here is that the current rage of hedge funds and private equity Dark Pools is to use advanced computer-based trading called Algo and Quants to find new profit opportunities in global trading markets. Though this futurist thinks AI and computers gaining an edge makes sense, and we use them in our business, the history of this strategy is spotty at best. Yes, there are billions at play here with the major global trading companies like Merrill, Morgan Stanley, Citi and Barclay’s. But when you combine this trend with a depreciating asset class, sub-prime real estate that is part of the global financial “layer cake” of funds, banks and organizations, the stakes are higher, the risks are greater for break-downs–or a return to balance between risk and value.

This futurist thinks the game has just begun and there will be other asset classes that may fall out of favor–metals, oil, equities, take your pick. There will always be speculative viewed markets where assets have higher risk then value and will fall. Having a longer term view with an eye on the present is a smart, but change happens.

The World is Not Flat–But Connected in Real-Time

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The Fed must lower rates and continue to inject funds into the global marketplace, or face the consequences of more defaults of their customers and ultimately consumers. Consumer buying accounts for 75% of GDP. So you either have confidence or not, if not you do not buy, that is not good. Liquidity infusing is part of the drill. Other central banks must follow to stop the slide in their geographic areas. All markets are connected now–capital, equity and retail, to name a few. The world is not flat, it is connected, and the next generation of always-on pervasive connectivity, Web 2.0-Internet 2, will create even more dynamic real-time connected markets–all markets.

Capitalism is an economic game that likes to find ways to create wealth and manage risk. But, as we all witnessed in 2000, the tech bubble was the same trend outcome. Values were exaggerated and the self-healing marketplace–capitalism’s remote control–self-corrected the market. Same deal here. This is the best of honest economics at work. Not just supply and demand, but value and rise equilibrium. By the way, we have been here before the tech bubble.

Long Term Credit and Capital, the pre-hedge fund private equity company that almost brought down the US capital markets had to be saved by the large banks and Fed, when a similar scenario as the sub-prime debacle played out badly. We have also seen numerous commodities traders bet wrong and deep six their companies.

Sub-Prime Madness or Self-Healing Capitalism?

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The curse of being a futurist is that you actually have to take your own medicine, or risk being a hypocrite. So the reality that the sub-prime real estate market has led to another, post-Internet like bubble is not news. Our forecasts showed this risk and it wasn’t rocket science. How much funny money deals could the market endure? Plenty it seems.

This was an example of short sighted credit risk management and everyone was in on the take. Now only the credit-worthy will survive the shakeout. This experiment in value trade offs for taking on greater risk is not new. This Risk Leverage Trend led to the re-insurance industry to protect risk exposure to companies.