Posts Tagged ‘Institute of the Future’
h/t to Barnabas. First posted on Future of Trade.
A new report in Business Week talks about science parks and a potential new research eco-system.
For many years, cities have been investing in lavish research parks as means to boost their global competitiveness and attractiveness. Innovation parks are seen as the model to move research from universities to the markets, and to incubate new startups.
Are we beginning to see a shift from this model? Recently, low-budget pop-up labs have randomly sprung up in various corners. These run the gamut from co-working hubs to disposable labs. Few are impressive on their own, but stitched together virtually, they collaborate and form new research clouds. What will the new research eco-system look like?
The IFTF has just released a twenty year peek into the future of science parks and research parks here.
I’m helping put together a list of future maps for discussion, and this is what I have so far.
2008 Map of the Decade – http://www.iftf.org/system/files/deliverables/+map+of+the+decade+2008_sm.pdf
2007 Map of the Decade – http://www.iftf.org/node/1792
2006 Map of the Decade – http://www.iftf.org/node/760
2005 Map of the Decade – http://www.iftf.org/node/762
2003 Map of the Decade – http://www.iftf.org/node/781
Future of Map Making – http://www.iftf.org/node/1766
Future of Health and Wellness Making – http://www.iftf.org/node/2134
Future Forces affecting Sustainability – http://www.iftf.org/node/2269
Future of Work – http://www.iftf.org/node/754
Abundant Computing – http://www.iftf.org/node/800
Future of Education – http://www.iftf.org/node/2724 you have to follow the link at the bottom to find the map, just keep digging
Future of Making – http://www.iftf.org/node/1767 and http://www.iftf.org/system/files/deliverables/SR-1154+TH+2008+Maker+Map.pdf
Future of Baby Boomers – http://www.iftf.org/node/2057
Global Health Economy – http://www.iftf.org/node/771
UK Govt Science & Technology Map – http://www.iftf.org/node/757
A list of the workshops and other maps from IFTF – http://www.iftf.org/workshops
Trend Blend 2009 – http://i.ixnp.com/images/v3.78/t.gif
OK, so I’m a bit behind on the blog lately. The Institute of the Future released their 2008 Map of the Decade earlier in the year. I mentioned to the group last week that I wanted to start filling in the gap ‘People and Communities’ in what FG does. I had some ready starts in mind: youth (below), faith, slums .. and this latest map is surprising and welcome in highlighting more along the lines of communities: new commons, new diasporas, superhero organisations … that I feel hungry to take on.
As mentioned, I’m also on what could be another longish project on trying to put an economic cost of undercapitalised and disengaged youth in Singapore. There’s a surprising gap in the research in this field, so I’m starting an ethnographic research to fill in this blank. Let’s see where it brings us.
This started out intriguingly by iFTF’s Anthony Townsend‘s “The Future of Technology-led Economic Development“. Research parks and incubators are starting to show their age as an economic development tool. Tectonic shifts in the way scientific research and technological innovation happen are leaving them behind, and pioneering new models of collaboration that will require us to rethink how we create places for these activities.
Townsend’s work focuses on the impact of new technology on cities and public institutions, essentially the intersection of science parks + incubators, mobility + urbanisation, future R&D models. It’s fascinating stuff, especially relevant as Singapore was one of the first to enter the real estate science park play and make it really work as a driver of growth.
Townsend is now building out the iFTF ‘Science in Place’ program, which will focus on understanding how future science and technology trends will shape innovation at various scales: the laboratory, the campus, the region and the world. Townsend’s ideas are also summarised in his slideshares below.
I think the last slideshare is the more interesting one. Specifically, most of what Townsend mentions are not unknown to Singapore, and we are already doing it. What is missing is the flexibility, what in FG we used to call scalable infrastructure, to quickly build out for prototyping. Here you might want to take a look at slide 34 for the ecosystem of innovation that builds in community buzz and experimentation (instead of science being isolated) and slide 44 which actually urges mixed uses for future science spaces. Our Biopolis is a step in the right direction, but so much more should be done.
Finally, also in collaboration with Townsend, a Future of Science Parks map. Both Townsend and the creators of the prezi map mention they will unveil the full results of the future of science parks forecast at the XXVI Annual World Conference of the International Association of Science Parks in Raleigh, North Carolina, June 1-4, 2009.
I’m fiddling around with a better way to get the word out. I consume information through videos, RSS feeds, interviews and attending conferences. Our main output is consumed through slide formats. That allows for some depth and breadth. This video is a stab in the same direction, with an overlay of music and line animation. It is inspired by “Shift Happens” and let’s see how it is received, consumed and used.
I am also a great admirer of the Institute of the Future’s futurescapes. I have them pinned liberally around my three walls. I love mash ups. I hope to be able to acquire the skills, or at least crowdsource, outsource, to create our own soon.
The Rise of the Rest video is in production right now and I’ll post it up likely next week. I’ll be making a Chinese version as well at a later date. Here’s a wordle glimpse on what it looks like.
Future Sense: The Future of Making
An emerging do-it-yourself culture of “makers” is boldly voiding warranties to tweak, hack and customise the products they buy. And what they can’t buy, they build from scratch. Meanwhile, flexible manufacturing technologies on the horizon will change fabrication from massive and centralised to lightweight and ad hoc. The Institute of the Future (IFTF) has looked at the way things are made is being remade and published a “The Future of Making” map. Whether the organisation is dealing in bits and atoms, knowledge or stuff, the future forces IFTF has identified in this map are likely to have a profound impact on our lives at work and at home.
Full PDF file can be found here.
There are 6 possible implications arising from this trend:
1. Network your organisation
Many of the best ideas may come from unexpected contributors, especially those outside your organisation. What are some of the ways we can identify and engage with external networks of exceptional people through community R&D platforms?
2. Reward solution seekers
Often, employees are rewarded for solving a problem but not for identifying someone else’s solution and integrating it. Problem solvers think deeply but solution seekers think broadly. What are some ways we can reward both?
3. Err on the side of openess
“Open source” used to only refer to software but in recent years, the open-source mindset has been applied to physical objects as well. This kind of openness encourages lead user innovation and peer production. The end result is usually a better product. What are some ways we can embrace open-source culture in an authentic, well-considered way that is good for both the customer and for the bottom line?
4. Engage actively
Powerful new technologies for collaborative innovation are emerging but there is a limited number of hours in the day to collaborate. Projects must do more than just capture and capitalise on the attention of creative people. There must be feedback in the system, intense immersion and meaningful community in order to create an environment where the participants have a vested interest in the project. What are some ways we can encourage the makers’ inherent curiousity, sociability and passion for the process?
5. Go transparent
As people’s curiousity and knowledge about how things are made increases, they’ll seek out more information about the products they buy. For organisations, this new realm of “visible” data will be useful in understanding their own products’ lifecycles. What are some ways we can make the process more transparent?
6. Celebrate hackers
A hacker is an ingenious individual who pushed technology to their extreme. They explore technology’s edges, making it work the way they want it to and building better systems from the bottom up. They reveal what is possible. Instead of litigating against hackers, what are some ways we can celebrate the hacker culture?
While it is unlikely that the maker culture will replace industry as we know it, traditional manufacturers and maverick makers will be closely linked in the future. They will sometimes compete, sometimes cooperate but frequently blur the boundaries that separate them. Success will occur with the two cultures are woven together in new and interesting ways.
Future Sense – The Future of Small Business
One of the oft-cited constraints of the Singapore economy is our small domestic market. This in turn begs the question, how many truly global companies can Singapore realistically grow?
This may be of less concern in the future as the industry trends suggest that many industries are moving to a “barbell-structure” with a few giant corporations on one end, a narrow middle and a large group of small businesses balancing on the other end. According to a new study done by the Institute of the Future (IFTF), there will be significant opportunities for small businesses in the future.
The high-res version of the chart is available for download here.
The re-emergence of “artisans”
IFTF’s latest study suggests that the next decade will see a re-emergence of “artisans” as an economic force. This new generation of “artisans” will be amplified versions of their medieval counterparts. These merchant-crafts people will produce one of a kind or limited runs of specialty goods for an increasingly large pool customers seeking unique, customized or niche products. They’ll be equipped with advanced technology, able to access global and local business partners and customers, and will be capable of competing in any industry. Their firms will be agile, flexible and will often partner with larger firms to accomplish their business goals. Most will be knowledge artisans, relying on human capital to solve complex problems and develop new ideas, products, services and business models. These artisans will attract and retain highly skilled and creative and creative talent by offering freedom and flexibility and in many cases highly competitive compensation.
The study identified 3 key trends for small businesses -
1. Most industries will move to a barbell-like structure, with a few giant corporations on one end, a narrow middle and a large group of small businesses balancing on the other end.
Niche opportunities for small businesses have drastically increased over the last decade. Small businesses will be better positioned to provide customers with highly targeted, customised and relevant products and to serve these emerging niche markets. They will also benefit from outsourced innovations from bigger businesses.
2. Many business infrastructures will be reduced as smaller, lighter and smarter components and manufacturing systems emerge.
New manufacturing technologies will allow small businesses to fuel small-scale and specialised production and to lead the market in meeting the demands of customisation. Plug and play infrastructure will enable small businesses to take advantage of large-scale infrastructure and leverage new technologies that were previously only available to big business. For example, open source hardware and equipment consists of Lego-like modules that can be easily mixed and matched to create new or specialized devices. This will enable small businesses to build electronic devices like cameras and keyboards without understanding hardware design or solid state electronics. This shift to variable cost structures for core business operations will reduce risk and increase opportunities for small businesses and make it easier to start a small business.
3. Cross-border business opportunities, improvement in technology and reductions in the cost of exporting will drive small business globalization.
Taking advantage of new business opportunities, reduced formal and informal trade barriers, improved technology and access to lightweight infrastructures, small businesses will increasingly participate in cross-border trade. Social networks will fuel borderless commerce and will “mute” small trade barriers (e.g. cultural differences etc). At the same time, small business (particularly those established by immigrant entrepreneurs) will diversify and help to increase cross-border trade, unlock new opportunities and amplify economic value.
The study suggests that there will be significant opportunities for small business over the next decade. How can small businesses in Singapore effectively take advantage of these opportunities by becoming more like “artisans” – producing high-quality, high value-added specialty goods for the discerning consumer? Is there a role for our agencies to play in enabling small businesses to grow into this role?
1. Full report:
2. Earlier IFTF studies on the future of small business can also be found here: