Undercover ops, one of the darker sides of life, occasionally suffers from sudden exposure in the media, witness how the Concorde’s specification blueprints ended up in Russia or when US secret services used massive listening Big Ears (Echelon) to monitor official, supposedly privy phone exchanges. Yet, far from limiting its activities to the covert manoeuvers to access and analyse State secrets, the spy business today has refocused for some time now on industrial targets. The challenges and techniques used evolve constantly. In an open world, where information systems play an increasingly structuring role, the issue of how to protect sensitive data and technologies has now become a priority question.
What would it take for algorithms to take over the C-suite? And what will be senior leaders' most important contributions if they do? The advances of brilliant machines will astound us, but they will transform the lives of senior executives only if managerial advances enable them to. There's still a great deal of work to be done to create data sets worthy of the most intelligent machines and their burgeoning decision-making potential. On top of that, there's a need for senior leaders to let go in ways that run counter to a century of organizational development.
The world market for service robots will represent 25 billion euros in 2015 and could well be 100 billion euros by 2018 and 200 billion in 2023, according to the International Federation of Robotics. If we can assert that this entire high growth sector is emerging, there are, nonetheless, variations to be considered: some robots are close to industrial maturity, while others are still in experimental assessment phases. But the growth trend is now well established. It may not necessarily be spectacular but will affect considerably both developed societies and their economies.
Come year 2030, what will business enterprises look like? Almost every qualified answer points in the same direction, or at least provides a foreseeable trend: if as predicted instability becomes the rule and not the exception, and in a context of an entirely new ecosystem stemming from pervasive digital technologies, business enterprises will have to evolve quite considerably if they wish to remain efficient, sustainable and resilient. What factors come to bear here?
To stay competitive, companies must stop experimenting with digital and commit to transforming themselves into full digital businesses. Here are seven traits that successful digital enterprises share.
Electronic devices have become pervasive in our household equipment, our cars, our communication tools and indeed in almost every object that surrounds us in our private and professional spheres. Not only do they multiply, but they continue to decrease in size, to use less energy and cost less. To assemble such devices, the semi-conductor industries have perfected silicon-based technologies. However, they will soon be approaching the physical limits of solid state physics. To go beyond this barrier, they are already working on new approaches for nanometric level electronics.
Mathematical skills have become strategic for the business world and the most advanced companies hire high level scientists who tackle the underlying, fundamental, theoretical questions. However, this increasingly vital role of the boffins dedicated maths specialists often brings with it new demands and unforeseen responsibilities.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and expert systems are less trendy in 2014 than they were back in 1974 but since that time they have never ceased developing and the processing power of today's computers opens ever wider prospects. In the same way that robots have changed factories, the rapid advent of expert systems has changed numerous skilled office workers' jobs. Some have been transformed, others destroyed. What is at stake is the very existence of our middle-classes, the core of modern economies. But the final word here is not written on the wall yet, inasmuch as the concept of expertise is also changing very rapidly.
In countries that have based their wealth on production, every discovery and innovation that potentially lower production costs attract very strong attention. Since 2007, the discovery and exploitation of shale gas and oil have put the USA energy industry back on the track to competitive procurement faced with competing nations who have been low costs champions for decades. The new question on the table is to ascertain whether 3D printing can have a comparable impact.
Since its humble beginnings in 2002, the London technology scene has become a vibrant centre of innovation and entrepreneurship. With its legacy of international industry and diverse population, London is not only an international economic capital, it is also a jumping point to the rest of Europe, Africa and Asia. As a relatively newcomer to the industry, the London tech scene is still eager to prove itself. Its close-knit community attracts start-ups from all over the world, and as recent news indicates, thousands of entrepreneurs, many from the US, are launching their businesses in the British capital.
A growing segment of the workplace is no longer tied to a single, full-time employer. In the US, as many as 30% of those in today's job market are either self-employed or part-time, and the largest companies report that 30% of their procurement dollars are spent on contingent or fractional workers. While raising concerns, the forces reshaping the nature of work can result in more productive, happier, and sustainable lives.
Further fueling the ongoing debate over the future of the news media and independent journalism, eBay founder and billionaire Pierre Omidyar last month committed $250 million to a news site co-founded by journalist and author Glenn Greenwald. Omidyar’s investment followed the announcement over the summer that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos had purchased The Washington Post, also a $250 million investment. The late Steve Jobs’s wife, Lauren Powell, and 29-year-old Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes are also pouring money into old and new media ventures. Could this new band of news media owners shape a technology-led business model that will be profitable and protect the integrity of impartial, ideology-free journalism? Ultimately the ball will rest with the consumer.
MEMS are to the world of smartphones and tablets what transistors were to consumer electronics in the 1960s. They're everywhere! A series of technological breakthroughs and industrial gambles paved the way to a flourishing market. An insight into this revolution by one its key players, STMicro's Benedetto Vigna.
The myth of scientific management has all but disappeared, yet the industrial world continues to overvalue methods that have been standardized from outside the business environment, at the expense of creative solutions developed within companies themselves. Isn't it time to change the approach? Michel Berry, founder of the Paris School of Management, has long cultivated an attention to the singularity of situations. But how does one share the intelligence hidden in things singular? How should one train, transmit knowledge and exchange views? Envisioning management as an art overcomes these contradictions.
Tablet sales showed their first sequential decline ever in the second quarter of this year, according to research firm IDC. Apple sold fewer iPads than expected in its most recent quarter. Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader sales fell 20% in the fiscal first quarter ended August 20, two months after the company announced it will no longer make color versions of Nook, only black and white ones. And analysts are worrying about whether smartphone profit margins can hold up as buyer fatigue sets in.
What makes a great leader? The answer to this question has changed over time, as it refers to the way we form our representations of a company – a well conceived machine, a living body, a spirited team... Trends come and go, representations evolve, formulas change. Yet, the actual core of talent, or even the stroke of genius that makes a difference, seems to escape these formulas. So are management sciences condemned to mere prattle?
Disruptive technologies have given the old science of onomastics unprecedented powers. Combined with datamining, extracting semantics from names can provide numerous, valuable applications. Though discriminating names carries a high risk of abuse, it can also drive new, unexpected ways for developing poor areas.
The venture investor and former Facebook executive examines technologies he thinks will improve the quality of life and economic output, and explains why most executives undervalue technical proficiency.
The Bitcoin bubble bursting is but one small part of a bigger story. The most exciting part is not speculation, but challenging the banks' control over payment solutions. This is what we should discuss. Starting now.
Social relations, buzz, leadership, popularity, reputation... at first sight, marketing and social media seem to speak the same language. But the actual value of marketing 2.0 is difficult to assess. Can social marketing become a real growth driver?