Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
A super quick post to put up the slides from a talk I gave at NLB a couple of days ago. It is ongoing research so I would love to hear people’s comments as I finetune/clean up the research.
The LKY School of Public Policy just released its Singapore Competitiveness Report for 2009. You can download it here.
I think the first para says it well. “But while we believe the greatest danger is past, we also recognise the price of our salvation has yet to be paid in full.” SocGen’s view on how public debt will swing recovery (or not) in the next five years.
The conventional view on electric cars is that US and China will lead. Certainly, media reports on Tesla and BYD support this conventional view. But a recent post in Tim Jones’ blog poses the question whether these will be the locations for the early breakthroughs or if other regions may well have a higher chance of delivering the vision. For him, there are two issues which may mean that this US / China leadership should be questioned.
The first issue is the fact that other countries have already made the decisions and are acting on them. Electric car recharging networks are already being built in Denmark, Israel and, most significantly, France. It is in France that government, the car industry and the energy sector appear to be most aligned. Renault is launching (not just talking about) electric vehicles in 2012; Renault and EDF are building a nationwide electric car recharging network in France in 2011; and €400m of initial state backing was personally guaranteed by President Sarkozy in October 2008. So, it looks like the alignment of significant market potential, technology, regulation and finance required to establish the environment for a breakthrough change seems to be coming together pretty well in France with its EU neighbours as candidates for roll-out.
The second issue concerns the CO2 impacts being claimed vs. those being delivered. In many countries the switch from hydrocarbons to electrons for transport is a bit of a red herring as they will be largely relying on oil, gas and coal to generate the electricity in the first place. Yes the point of CO2 production shifts from the vehicle to the power station, but significant breakthroughs are still required before effective and economic carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are retro-fitted to the existing energy base. If electric mobility is going to have significant impact within the next decade, some see that it needs to be aligned to major sources of renewable, clean energy. So looking at the current leaders in this field, it is no surprise that Denmark (wind), Israel (solar) and France (nuclear) are seen as front-runners: These locations have high renewable supplies of electricity already installed or being installed. As such, they will gain most from the associated carbon credits from the introduction of electric mobility. The participation of China and the US in electric mobility will definitely have a major impact – not just because of the size of the domestic markets, but also because of the catalytic effect they have on the rest of the world. But, right now based on current actions, over a 10 rather than 20 year timescale, one can see other countries leading the way, proving the technologies, establishing leadership positions and gaining the most in terms of both economic impact and carbon reduction.
Much of the world’s arable land is being farmed already, so the lion’s share of the increase will need to come through higher yields. In many places, yields can increase—if prices rise high enough to make investment in more-intensive agriculture worthwhile. Still, much of the developed world is approaching the ceiling of what is cheaply possible. Sub-Saharan Africa, despite its long history of food insecurity, is one place where yields could increase dramatically; agricultural basics such as good seed and fertilizer would go far in a region that the green revolution bypassed. Full article on the Atlantic Monthly here.
Everyone should read Ideo’s David Kelley on “Design Thinking”!! It’s not the newest article (and I don’t know how I missed it the first time, considering how religiously I read Fast Company). Nevertheless, a lot of it resonated with us here at the Futures Group. I have a million thoughts in my head. Thoughts around how “creativity can be summoned at will, with a process not unlike the scientific method”, how crisis disrupts the status quo and presents amazing opportunity, how “ideas can attract more powerful acolytes and be disseminated more more widely through business, how we can be confident about giving our stuff away because we know that we can come up with a better idea tomorrow, how being diverse can add a tremendous amount of value to being deep. You really should just go read the article.
To end off, here’s a plug for an SMU event in 2 weeks:
Creating a Market Place for User Innovation
Associate Professor Lars Bo Jeppeson
Director, Danish User-Centred Innovation Lab
Date: Thursday, 26 November 2009
Time: 10.30 am to 11.45 am
Venue: Executive Media Theatre, Level 5
(SMU Administration Building)
Address: 81 Victoria Street
In one of those instances of serendipitous web surfing, I came across Vodafone’s “Future Agenda” programme. About the programme -
Supported by Vodafone Group, the Future Agenda is a unique cross-discipline programme which aims tounite the best minds from around the globe to address the greatest challenges of the next decade. In doing so, it is mapping out the major issues, identifying and debating potential solutions and suggesting the best ways forward. We hope, as a consequence, that it will provide a platform for collective innovation at a higher level than has been previously been achieved.
Their Intial Perspectives here:
I like how it is deliberately designed as a conversation starter. Maybe some of FG’s ongoing work can be crafted like this! Very interesting! Looking forward to more stuff out of the programme.
Youth are our literal future.
I just came back from TED India in Mysore, and I saw examples of how Indian youth, using the array of mobile communications, Internet, social networking tools etc available, have been able to build businesses and also fulfill their social responsibilities. In their own way, they are pushing forward their vision of a new India.
How much does the leading edge of youth tell us about the future? In Singapore’s case, what does the leading edge of youth tell us what to expect of Singapore’s future? Futures Group just completed a study that I’ve posted in greater detail which you can download here.
How can Singapore tap on the leading edge of youth of Asia to help them fulfil both their career and social aspirations? What are their commonalities? I may not have articulated so explicitly before, but I believe that the city/nation that is able to tap on the creative energies of Asia’s leading youth stands in good stead to create a vibrant future.
I’m doing some research into the Future of Data at the moment. I think Wired Magazine described it best when they wrote about the Petabyte Age.
“Welcome to the Petabyte Age. Sensors everywhere. Infinite storage. Clouds of processors. Our ability to capture, warehouse, and understand massive amounts of data is changing science, medicine, business, and technology. As our collection of facts and figures grows, so will the opportunity to find answers to fundamental questions. Because in the era of big data, more isn’t just more. More is different.”
When you are researching big-hairy-gorilla-type topics, like the Future of Data, it is always encouraging to see that other people are interesting in the similar things. So imagine my excitement over the weekend when I came across Matt Jones’ (from Dopplr) presentation on slideshare.
I really like the idea of data as seductive material. The idea that data has the ability to entice someone into a desired outcome or state. My phrase for it was behaviour optimisation, which really doesn’t sound as fun.