Tim Longhurst's Blog

Naming and Shaming – 2UE interview

January 6th, 2009 · 1 Comment

I’ve just jumped off the phone from an interview with Ben Fordham on Sydney radio, 2UE. We discussed the future trend of transparency – how technologies are merging to enable people to make more informed choices.

Two examples were discussed -

Naming and shaming restaurants – I’ve blogged about that before. And -

Naming and shaming ex-partners – Ben mentioned a website that allows jilted lovers to ward future women away from men they feel weren’t up to par.

Whilst a lot of useful information exists today, and can be found on search engines such as Google, you still have to “PULL” the information toward you by searching for it – you have to know to look for the list of cockroach-infested restaurants or bad ex-boyfriends…

In the near future, relevent information will be identified, filtered and PUSHED toward you at appropriate times… As you step into a restaurant, your phone might vibrate to warn you about eating from that kitchen… A new person in a bar may be cause for your phone to send you a warning text message!

In any case, we seem to be heading toward a future where information will be presented to us in context-relevent ways… But what are the useful applications for this? I’d be interested in your ideas.

And welcome to any 2UE listeners who may have heard me named (but not shamed) at the end of our interview!

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Category: Communication and connection

Think Big Forum – quick post-talk notes

September 3rd, 2008 · 1 Comment

What a day! I’ve just arrived home from Sydney’s Think Big Forum at ANZ Stadium…

I was invited to ‘keynote speak’ at the Forum when I was in Beijing and I decided to change my flights to be included on the speaker list. The way it was put to me was simple, “It’s a business forum, but we’re being innovative about it…” it was to be “degustation-inspired”, with the food theme kept throughout. I was invited to be the ‘group dessert’. What a title. How could I say no?

The day opened with Kylie Kwong talking about her business trials and tribulations (key insight – she swears by the original “E-Myth” book) and was followed by a diverse ‘tasting menu’ of speakers who each had twenty minutes to share their knowledge of the topic.

The format meant that the sessions were fast-paced – 20 minutes each – enough time to get a sense of whether you liked the topic; liked the speaker and wanted more. And that’s where it got interesting – after each session, we were invited to attend a “Master Class” with the speaker we’d just seen. If you were prepared to forgo the next scheduled speakers, you could ‘go deeper’ into the topic. What a great conference model!

So in the afternoon it was time for ‘dessert’… Well, here’s how my 40 minutes broke down…

  • Introduced myself and my work as a futurist / innovation expert
  • Talked about futures studies / innovation and the role they play in business – ie. new products and processes… It all starts by asking the key innovator’s question: “Is there a better way?…”.
  • Talked about the rise of BRIC nations (Brasil, Russia, India and China) and specifically about the rise of China… Then, since I’m fresh of the plane, taught some valuable Mandarin to the crowd “CHINA – LET’S GO!”. Seeing 170 people on their feet cheering in butchered Mandarin was one of the most surreal moments of the day and confirmation that this was a fun crowd.
  • Described the trends I’m seeing in business, particularly some highlights of my favourite innovation programs:
  • The Clean Plumber – constantly innovating, the business’ latest move is replacing a utility truck with a motorcycle for many plumbing jobs – it zips around the Sydney streets with ease; saves on fuel and keeps the business’ promise to be on time.
  • Dell’s Ideastorm, which I believe is one of the best examples of open innovation, particularly given that Dell actually takes advice and turns it into improved products.
  • Australia 2020 – inviting an entire country to participate in your innovation program is a brave move for a Prime Minister – if Rudd pulls it off (by implementing good ideas or at least explaining why he’s not using the ideas he doesn’t like), it could be the beginning of a new attitude of innovation from Canberra
  • and Google… I mentioned the 80/20 rule (20% of time dedicated to innovation), but I also would have liked to discuss their use of Google Labs, which is fantastic.
  • Gave ten tips on how to spot a great innovation culture – that was fun because the pens came out and the heads started nodding – I think I was talking to a room of innovators!
  • Dropped in a top tip – innovation programs are a great ‘Gen Y’ retention tool because they give younger employees a voice and demonstrate that all staff opinions are valued – especially if ideas are acted upon!
  • Examined the major shift from closed/R&D-based product development to open/inclusive innovation programs…

And BOOM! It was 40 minutes… Wait, what?! We’re just getting started… Oh man!

I guess that’s the problem with tasting menus – sometimes you just wish you could have a little more of each dish – and I did get twice as much time as most of the other speakers, after all…

I invited feedback from the audience either through email/linkedin or my blog, so it will be interesting to see if people have something to say here on this post.

After my presentation, all sorts of business leaders shared their stories with me – I met heaps of bankers, a bullet maker (REALLY! YIKES!), a guy whose business is hydraulics, a guy that runs a solar-panel installation business, a bunch of innovation people from Telstra and ANZ, a logistics guy (who told me truck stories), a recruiter, a few marketing types, a couple of event managers… It was a good mix, that’s for sure.

It was a great day (a good way to spend my birthday!) and a really warm crowd to welcome me back to Sydney. Can’t wait to see my family, friends and clients and get settled back into Sydney!

Congratulations and thank you to the NSW Business Chamber and to the BigThinkers who made the day such a great start to my Spring in Sydney…

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Category: Change Agency

Stephanie Rice Bubbles, Anyone?

August 14th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Being a futurist is about anticipating trends, rather than making specific predictions, however, today I’ve decided to do both. First of all, after winning her THIRD gold medal in the pool today, Stephanie Rice is going to be in the public eye a lot more than before. Additionally, I predict a special edition box of Rice Bubbles bearing her name:

Brace yourselves, Australia!

(Americans mistakenly call Rice Bubbles “Rice Krispies”, in case you yanks were wondering…).

Well done, Stphanie! Man, she’s fast, isn’t she?

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Category: From the frontlines of the future

Getting the Big Picture – top lists/research at your fingertips

August 13th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Getting the big picture on global trends has long been an interest of mine. Over time, I’ve collected resources that help me get a sense of the directions in which the world is shifting, and the way things are today.

Recently I was thinking about the research I would like at my fingertips, but don’t yet have. I’ve included in this post both the resources I’ve found useful, along with the resources I wish I had… You’ll see what’s missing – there’s no link if I don’t have the research/resource. Let me know what you think is missing, too!

There are a whole bunch of indexes out there that attempt to rank/compare countries. None are perfect, but they can help add to our understanding – but only if we know of their existence!

If you find the resources here helpful, please let me know in the comments, as if people find it useful I will endeavor to update this post with new info/research as I find it.

I know that’s strictly speaking more the role of a wiki or other knowledge management tool, but first I want to see if enough people have opinions/ideas about the data I’ve gathered before I spend time creating a community around this kind of information.

Business – Largest corporations – Fortune Global 500 – Size by Revenue
Business – World’s largest shopping malls – Forbes magazine article
Business – World’s largest banks – Euromoney
Business – Global Competitiveness – World Economic Forum research
Business – Fastest growing corporations – Fortune Global 500 Fastest Growing,
Business – Most profitable Corporations – Fortune Global 500 Most Profitable
Business – Largest selling consumer goods -
Business – Biggest media spenders -

Environment – Most/Least polluting nations -
Environment – Most endangered species -
Environment – Most/Least polluted countries -
Environment – Most/Least polluted cities -

Finance – Largest economies -

Geography – Population Density – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)

Media (Traditional) – Largest traditional media corporations – The Nation
Media (New) – Largest new media businesses -

Politics – Mass exodus – countries people are fleeing -
Politics – Mass admittance – countries people are fleeing to – Politics – Largest nations – by population – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)Geography – Population Density – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)
Politics – Largest nations – by per capita wealth – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)
Politics – Largest cities
Politics – Largest international agencies
Politics – Nation size by area – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)
Politics – Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s) – by subscribers/members
Politics – Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s) – by financing
Politics – Countries hosting refugees – Infoplease
Politics – Main sources of refugees – Infoplease
Politics – Internally Displaced persons – Infoplease
Politics – Armed Conflicts – Recently Suspended – Infoplease
Politics – Ongoing Armed Conflicts – Ongoing – Infoplease
Politics – Countries with Nuclear Weapons Capability – Infoplease
Politics – Largest Military Expenditures – InfopleasePolitics – Arms Sales to Developing Nations – Infoplease
Politics – Most/Least corrupt – Global Integrity Index, Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index
Politics – Most/Least stable – Global Peace Index
Politics – Biggest donors/recipients of foreign aid – BBC (Graph)

Social – Highest/Lowest Literacy – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)
Social – Highest/Lowest Infant Mortality rate – InfoPlease (quoting CIA World Factbook)
Social – Biggest threats facing humanity -
Social – Happiest nations – Wikipedia
Social – Faiths / Religions (ranked by followers) -
Social – Faiths / Religions (ranked by wealth) -
Social – Most recognised brands Interbrand/BusinessWeek
Social – Largest employers -
Social – Global top ten jobs -
Social – Most peaceful – Global Peace Index

Technology – Highest/Lowest rate of mobile phone usage -
Technology – Highest/Lowest rate of internet usage -
Technology – Largest data breaches – Boing Boing

Transparency – Global Integrity Index – Global Integrity

Miscellaneous

Also worth checking out…
Time Magazine’s Top Ten Lists for 2007 (most recent to date)
Watch Mojo’s Top Ten Lists – Great resource – watching out for ‘top tens’ published in US media and then documenting them.
Freedom of the press – Worldwide Press Freedom Index
Journalists Killed in Conflict Committee to Protect Journalists
Risk of becoming a ‘failed state’ Failed States Index
Most and Least Livable Countries UN Human Development Index
Most expensive cities Infoplease
National Statistics Agencies – Infoplease
Worldometers

General world statistics – Infoplease

So what’s missing? Be sure to post your thoughts in the comments section!

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Category: Uncategorized

Big Ideas – James Harkin’s book – plus, what are your big ideas?

July 25th, 2008 · No Comments

Scanning the “Media” section at Blackwell’s bookshop is one of my favourite things to do in Oxford. Sure, I love the web, but being able to scan and access books in real-time using my eyes and hands is something I still enjoy, while I’m sure it seems a little quaint to many of my techno-futurist readers.

On today’s scan, I noticed “Big Ideas” a book of terms us futurists bandy about to give some of the trends going on in the world. Online resources such as urban dictionary or wiktionary are great starting points for such buzzwords and their definitions, but it was nice to see someone with a sense of humour and a great way with words spin these words into print.

For those of you without a copy of the book in front of you, here are the terms Harkin defines, complete with a Google-search link so you can explore their meaning. Sure, it’s not as comfortable as snuggling up in a sofa with the book, but it takes less trees, and let’s face it, digital is very now.

I’ll confess I don’t recognise all the terms listed below, so I’m going to do some clicking myself. James has left room at the back of his book for the reader’s big ideas, so it only seems natural that my “Comments” area is the perfect place for me to invite you to post your big ideas!

The Advocacy Revolution; Badvertising; Bare Branches; Boomergeddon; Brand America; Citizen Journalism; Compassion Fatigue; The Cosmetic Underclass; Cosmopolitanism; Crowdsourcing; Crunchy Conservatism; Curation Nation; The Cyborg; Declinology; Democratization; Digital Maoism; Digital Mapping; The Economy of Prestige; Electronic Frontier Justice; The European Empire; The Experience Economy; The Free Rider or Collective Action Problem and the Prisoner’s Dilemma; Futurology; Generation Gap; Good Business; Gotcha Politics; Happiness; Incentivization; Infomania; Libertarian Paternalism; Life-Caching; The Long Tail; Maturialism; The Menaissance; Muscular Liberalism; Neurotheology; The New Puritans; The New Utopisanism; The Paradox of Choice; Peer-to-Peer Surveillance; Pension Fund Capitalism; Philoanthrocapitalism; Playtime; Positive Liberty; The Precautionary Principle; Pre-heritance; Proletarian Drift; Protirement; Public Value; Regretful Loners; Resilience; Slacktivism; Smart Mobs / Flash Mobs; Social Jet Lag; Social Networking; Social Physics; Soft Power; Status Anxiety; The Support Economy; Synthetic Worlds; The Time Economy; The Tipping Point; Transhuminism or The Singularity Thesis; True Cost Economics; Urban Gaming; Urban Villages; Virtual Anthropology; Virtual Politics; War Porn; Wild Card Theory or ; Black Swan Theory; Worst-Case Scenarios;

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Category: Communication and connection