The exponential pace of technology is upending industries around the world – and it’s just getting started.  From AI, robotics, 3d printing, to synthetic biology and quantum computing – there is massive change coming, and corporations and governments are unprepared.  In this workshop, Vivek and Tarun Wadhwa teach leaders of the world how to not only prepare for these disruptions, but turn them into opportunity.

For nearly a decade they have pioneered new models of innovation and competitiveness on an international scale.  Their lectures and corporate workshops are the result of that – and they have used those lessons to help Fortune 500 companies and major institutions develop cutting-edge innovations and rethink their practices.

In their one and two day sessions, they will cover the fundamentals of exponential technologies, where and how disruption is occurring, and how to prepare for the changes ahead.  They have helped thousands of participants around the world to watch for convergences, anticipate threats, and become the leaders of this new industrial revolution.

Exponential technology 101: the basics

By 2023, a $1,000 smartphone will have the computational power and storage capacity of a human brain.  Every information technology—including artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, medicine, robotics, sensors, nanomaterials, and synthetic biology—is advancing on the same exponential curve. We will begin by illustrating what the driving forces behind these technologies are unleashing.

 

Artificial Intelligence

  • How A.I. went from being the stuff of science fiction to failure to exponential acceleration
  • Today’s narrow A.I. versus tomorrow’s general intelligence and superintelligence
  • Cheap, reliable, industrial-grade digital smartness; transforming decision-making in stock trading, financial analysis, security, inventory management, etc.
  • Supervised, unsupervised, and reinforcement machine learning and their uses
  • Cutting through the hype: the limits of A.I. in business, and difficulties of implementation
  • The A.I. black box; regulatory issues; reputational concerns. Why there is no magic

 

Digital manufacturing

  • The painfully slow progress of 3D printing, and a timeline for its incredible future
  • 3D-printing household goods, electronics, automobiles, and food
  • The magic of being able to design like nature

 

Medicine

  • Sensor-based medical devices as consumer appliances; epidermal electronics and The Fantastic Voyageinto the human body; the possibilities of telemedicine
  • How we have become data and our doctors are becoming software
  • Virtual psychologists, brain computer interfaces, and robotic surgery
  • Man–machine merger with bionics and prosthetics
  • DNA sequencing and the promise of precision medicine
  • Microbiome, the next frontier, could disrupt the foundation of Western medicine

 

Nanotechnology

  • The dream of nanotechnology versus the reality
  • Quantum effect of particle miniaturization: altering melting point, fluorescence, electrical conductivity, magnetic permeability, and chemical reactivity
  • Creation of new materials and discovery using A.I. and the Materials Genome
  • Molecular assembly and micromachines: still science fiction?

 

Robotics

  • What is a robot, and why don’t we have the robots we’ve long dreamed about?
  • Progress of robots: where we are, and what we will see in the 2020s
  • Robots for manufacturing, delivery, retail management, surgery, and for personal use

 

Sensors

  • Advances in MEMS sensors, which are miniaturized mechanical and electro-mechanical elements made with microfabrication. How these are powering the Internet of Things and making it possible to build a new generation of smart cities
  • Microfluidics, nanofluidics, and “humans on a chip” technologies

 

Synthetic biology

  • “Printing” DNA and booting up new life forms; school experiments with “biobricks”
  • CRISPR; gene-editing flora, animals, and humans
  • Drought-resistant and extra nutritious plants; enhanced animals; editing out genetic disease from humans; resurrecting the woolly mammoth and dinosaurs
  • Where do we draw the line on what is ethical and what are the global laws?

 

Quantum computing

  • Einstein famously called quantum physics “Spooky action at a distance” and said “God doesn’t play dice with the world”. What is a quantum computer?  Is it for real?
  • Applications in machine learning, tumor treatment, logistical planning, trading algorithms, airline scheduling, search for Earth-like planets
  • Quantum terror: cracking open every digital lock and cryptography system

 

Solving the grand challenges of humanity

It is now possible for us to meet the challenges of disease, education, energy, and hunger.

  • Unlimited, clean, and almost free energy enabled by solar, wind, and other sources
  • Educating billions through inexpensive smartphones using A.I. and V.R.
  • Affordable diagnostics and A.I. doctors providing health care to everyone
  • Unlimited food through synthetic meat and vertical farms

Convergence, disruption, and opportunity: how existing industries will be disrupted and new, trillion-dollar, industries emerge

Not long ago, you could see your competition coming.  Management guru Clayton Christensen coined the term “disruptive innovation” to describe how competition worked: a new entrant attacked a market leader by launching low-end, low-priced products and then relentlessly improving them.  Now Christensen’s frameworks have themselves been disrupted—because you can no longer see the competition coming.  Technologies are no longer progressing in a predictable linear fashion, but are advancing exponentially and converging.

In the next five or ten years, this will affect practically every industry.  Very few companies on today’s Fortune 500 list will be on that list by the early 2020s.  They will go the way of Blockbuster, Kodak, RIM, Compaq, and Nokia.  This is not all bad news, because disruption creates opportunities.  New industries will emerge, and companies that lead the change will have the trillion-dollar market capitalizations.

We will explain how technologies converge and disrupt industries.  With the S-curves that exponential technologies form, it very hard to pick specific winners, but you can bet on the trends.  We will detail some of the technology convergences in a range of industries and show how they will affect one another.  Here are some examples.

 

Agriculture

  • Robots are now capable of doing the work of humans in farming
  • Improvements in LED technology enable optimization for plant growth; a combination of LED lights, A.I., and sensors is facilitating rapid advances in vertical farming
  • Drones to monitor crop growth, watering, fertilizer application, and harvesting
  • Meatless meat, made of plants and vegetables;in vitro/ cloned meat; CRISPR animals

 

Communications

AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have seen their landline businesses disappear

  • Wireless exceeds landlines; smartphones leapfrogging PCs and tablets; mobile broadband
  • Race to provide Wi-Fi everywhere with drones, balloons, and microsatellites
  • What comes next for mobile carriers?

 

Finance

  • Peer-to-peer marketplaces and startups forcing redesign of every part of financial system
  • Promise of digital currencies and sober assessment of where today’s cryptocurrenices are headed, and where new value is being created
  • China’s $10 trillion cashless economy, and India’s leap forward
  • Cutting through the hype to find blockchain’s killer apps
  • Tokenization and smart contracts transforming ownership, access, and resource sharing

 

Similarly, in this lecture we will cover the transformation of the following industries: manufacturing, energy, insurance, real estate, education, transportation, health care, retail, and technology services.

Exponential vulnerability: building new defenses for a fast-changing world

The rapid pace of technological change is placing companies at unprecedented security risk.  Nearly every day brings with it the tale of a corporation newly hacked; but in reality the incidents not publicized far exceed those that are.  Executive e-mails, employee health information, and industry contracts are all fair game in this new age of cyber-espionage.

We will provide a roadmap of what corporations can do to protect themselves.  We use concepts that everyone in business needs to know and distill the most practical knowledge without getting lost in the technical specifics.  Customers, clients, and boards are holding executives responsible for their company’s security, demanding a shift in mindset toward one of proactive defense from the status quo of reactive response.

 

The changing nature of breaches and attacks

  • Growing attack vector, points of failure, and companies’ new risks
  • Why companies will face the same threats as countries, and how they can protect their reputation and resources while under attack
  • How to institute security considerations and controls throughout a company

 

Securing connected devices

  • Implications of the global debut of ransomware
  • The next generation of Internet of Things, and what it will take to secure it
  • New insurance products, financial strategies, and market-based remedies

 

Building resiliency in corporate security

  • Breach unavoidability, and how to deal with it
  • What blockchain can and can’t do to prevent data loss
  • How hackers make systems stronger by exposing vulnerability—and how to make them work for you rather than against you

 

The new realities of data collection and analysis

  • The changing nature of what and how machines communicate about us
  • New architectures enabling companies to capture user data with limited risk exposure
  • Navigating regulation and evolving social demands for privacy and data security

 

Preparing for the next generation of cyber threats

  • Preparing for the arrival of quantum computing and its threat to encryption
  • How offensive and defensive A.I.s represent the future of corporate security
  • Rethinking our current infrastructure; designing new protocols

How to innovate in the exponential era

Corporate leaders are unprepared for exponential disruption.  While they focus on existing markets by improving processes, limiting risk, and innovating incrementally, startups set about changing the world and fearlessly conquering new markets.  Big companies are organized in divisions, each focusing on its own products and problems rather than those of the company.  Their executives believe that they have succeeded in the past, and so can succeed in the future; that old business models can support new products.

Goliath doesn’t stand a chance against David in this new world of exponentially advancing technologies.

We will impart some of the new principles of innovation, including differences between big companies and startups and the emergence of new work paradigms (we are always on, connected; everything is urgent; adapt or perish). We will explain how to turn stodgy business executives into intrapreneurs.  And we will discuss the implications of cloud-based information, instantaneous spread of knowledge, of ideas’ coming from anywhere, and of the reliance of success on sharing rather than on hoarding knowledge.  We will illustrate the new techniques of crowdsourcing, crowd creation, and contests and discuss the importance of building an entrepreneurial culture that empowers employees.

 

The new principles of corporate survival, management, and work

  • Why the silos that companies organize themselves into will ultimately spell their doom
  • The reputation economy, shifting from trust in institutions to trust in individuals
  • How markets have moved power from seller to buyer; why intellectual capital and brand no longer lock in customers; why one-way messaging no longer works; and how companies must build loyalty with value or perish

 

What doesn’t work and why

  • Government top-down innovation clusters: nearly all have failed
  • Silicon Valley outposts: setting up an office there won’t save a company
  • Expensive R&D efforts: it takes more than money to innovate
  • Traditional hierarchies: managers must facilitate rather than control

 

Exponential methods and the Silicon Valley way

  • How to leap forward without squandering time or money
  • Building a culture of innovation
  • Ideas exchanges, and crowd-solving of strategic problems
  • Minimum viable products and iteration
  • Incentive prizes to discover unconventional solutions; how to develop these
  • Why Silicon Valley excels at stealing and copying and buys what it can’t steal
  • How moonshot goals and demands for tenfold improvements lead to fresh mindsets, novel thinking, and norm-defying expectations
  • What makes data the new currency of the information age

 

Preparing for exponential disruption

  • Making the cultural transition from traditional–linear to entrepreneurial–exponential
  • How to incubate ideas, invest in startups, acquire runaway successes, and partner with companies that provide strategic advantages
  • Why bold leaders disrupt themselves before someone else disrupts them

Silicon Valley’s magic toolkit: how to innovate, part 2

Silicon Valley has invented the world’s most sophisticated toolkit for fostering innovative thinking and build cutting-edge companies.  How was Elon Musk able to beat Wall Street and defy the odds with both Tesla and SpaceX?  How did Airbnb transform the very idea of what a “hotel” is?  And how can you apply these ideas to newer industries?

In this lecture, we will show you howto apply design thinking to business practices; what the Lean Startup model demonstrates; software startups’ methods of keeping their products relevant; and why platforms give Silicon Valley companies their ultimate advantage.

 

First principles

  • Why reasoning from analogy can only take you so far
  • Reducing an industry to its core truths and insights for developing innovative solutions
  • Case study on improving creation of medical devices and prosthetics

 

Design thinking

  • Three-step process for solving business problems with designer frameworks and tools
  • Methods and tools startups employ to test concepts and learn what people want
  • Case studies of how major corporations have applied design thinking to yield cost savings and service improvements

 

Lean startup

  • Methodology for learning what does not work—as fast as possible
  • How to turn anyone into an entrepreneur regardless of their age, position, or industry
  • The importance of metrics, examples of how they have been successfully applied, and a new framework for tracking progress
  • The importance of the continual cycle of building, measuring, and learning

 

Platforms

  • Building a shopping mall rather than a retail outlet
  • The secret of platforms, and their use by the fastest-growing companies
  • How platform owners give away control in order to gain value
  • The power of “network effects”

Society, law, and ethics

Changes that once took centuries now take years or months, and policy, law, and ethics simply cannot keep up with the exponential pace of change.  Many technologies are taking part in this revolution, leaving significant areas of law silent in regard to them, leaving them to undermine not only entire industries but also our entire ethical and legal systems as presently formulated.

Where there is disruption, however, there is opportunity.  In this lecture, we will discuss how our systems, applications, and business models should evolve to maximize benefit and lower exposure to risk as the technological landscape changes.  The fields of enquiry underpinning these considerations fall into three categories.

 

Transitioning to a future of abundance

  • A standard of living—for everyone—previously accessible only to kings and popes
  • Opportunities for social progress
  • What transformation from scarcity economics to an economics of abundance entails, and our options for dealing with it

 

The difference between laws and ethics

  • Technology having always led to developments in law (steel and property, railroad and eminent domain, printing press and copyright), what is different now?
  • Need for prompt consensus on issues we used to have decades or centuries to sort out
  • Laws as codified ethics, and ethics as a consensus developed over time

 

The emergence of leadership from the private sector

  • New institutions, frameworks, and systems needed for resilience
  • Emerging importance of the private sector in understanding technological ramifications and recognition that regulatory guidance will come after the fact
  • The ugly effects of technology’s concentration of wealth and control.

 

In relation to these generalities, we will propose discussions on a range of ethical discussion points and scenarios, including:

  • Where and how autonomous cars and robotics can be successfully integrated into society
  • Balancing the needs of governments and society against the ability of entrepreneurs to overturn existing systems
  • How companies can defend intellectual property at a time when physical objects can be rapidly digitized
  • Ethical and safety issues in ceding control to artificial intelligences
  • How societies, governments, and companies can deal constructively with rapid job elimination
  • Limits on the use of powerful, potentially devastating technologies (e.g. CRISPR gene editing)

Blockchain: beyond the hype

Distributed ledger technologies has a large potential to transform business, being both a disruptive innovation as well as one of the newest foundational technologies. Proponents say that we are at the start of a new internet.  Critics say there’s little value in the hype.  In reality, there are huge opportunities – but we’ve all been focusing on the wrong things.  Crypto currencies will come and go, the price of Bitcoin will eventually head to zero, and ICOs will prove to be more liability than anyone initially expected.

In this session, we will separate fact from fiction while exploring the massive opportunities ahead in this space:

 

Finding the killer apps

  • Where barriers to entry for digital finance have lowered considerably
  • Why there won’t be a single winner in the crypto-currency space
  • Supply chain trackability, device to device value transfer, and real-time price discovery

 

Crypto-economics 

  • How digital tokens will become the basis for virtually all digital exchange, tokens can be tracked, traded, and split up into micro-fractions effortlessly
  • Ability to turn physical and digital objects into a cryptographically secured digital representation of a set of rights
  • Explosion of opportunities to create the new intermediaries

 

The promise of smart contracts

  • Ethereum and what it promises to do for agreements between parties and objects
  • Transitioning to organizations that run themselves and objects that own themselves
  • What’s stopping them from scaling and why they’re not ready for primetime yet

Industry disruption

Participants will be asked to select an industry and to discuss the range of technologies that may pose a disruptive challenge, and in teams will discuss how prepared their industry is for the changes ahead, and where the greatest disruptions may occur.

 

Company demolition

Participants will pick a specific company; analyze its business model, value chains, and products; and create scenarios under which new technologies and startups would disrupt them.

 

Incentive-prize design

“People are wired to compete and contribute”, says Peter Diamandis.  Competitions inspire entrepreneurs and philanthropists to attempt the impossible.  Groups will identify their companies’ or industries key challenges and learn how to develop incentive prizes to address them.

 

Startup creation

Assuming the role of nascent entrepreneurs, participants will practice thinking and acting like the Silicon Valley startups gunning for the companies they work for, and developing ideas for products intended to disrupt a specific line of business that the company is engaged in.

 

Scenarios for the future

The exponentially accelerating pace of change is going to upheave our institutions and systems.  Participants will be asked to analyze three near-future scenarios of technology effects.  They will be asked to evaluate their ethical and legal ramifications, and will develop solutions and frameworks to address them.

 

Building an A.I.

Participants will learn how to train, develop, and deploy a machine-learning module based on technology by Microsoft and Google.  Training a computer to sort and tag images, they will learn the basics of how A.I. systems operate and their uses in business.

 

Design thinking

Participants will learn how to apply the principles of design thinking to business situations: to understand the context of their problems, develop prototypes, and adopt frameworks for collecting information about their users’ sources of greatest pain.

 

Economic development

Participants will create a portfolio of technologies and business models to jumpstart innovation in a struggling region.  Based on the characteristics of the population and of existing industries, they will create a plan for a new innovation system.

 

Tokenization of assets

Digital tokens make it possible to buy, sell, or exchange fractional shares of assets.  This allows for previously illiquid holdings to become tradable commodities, creating new classes of assets, services, and marketplaces.  Participants will create a tokenization strategy for their business or industry, to create value where none had existed.

 

Platforms and platform thinking

Platforms provide tech companies with their greatest advantage.  Participants will learn to build and take apart platform ecosystems by identifying the producers and consumers and their core interactions and learning how and where value is created.  They will take a concept and turn it into a scalable business model.

 

Data, dashboards, and automation

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve in.  In this session we will help you make the most of the information that you have by turning it into actionable dashboards that can help you make better and faster decisions, while creating a strategy for how to apply smart contracts and machine learning for maximum effect.

ONE-DAY PROGRAM SCHEDULE

9:00am – 10:45am — Exponential technology 101: the basics

10:45am – 11:00am — Refreshment break

11:00am – 11:45am — Exponential vulnerability: building new defenses

11:45am – 12:30pm — Working group 1

12:30pm – 1:30pm – Networking lunch

1:30pm – 2:45pm — Convergence, disruption, and opportunity: how existing industries will be disrupted and new, trillion-dollar, industries emerge

2:45pm – 3:15pm — Working group 2

3:15pm – 4:15pm — How to innovate in the exponential era

4:15pm – 4:45pm — Society, law, and ethics

4:45pm – 5:00pm — Conclusion: The future is what we make it

TWO-DAY PROGRAM SCHEDULE

Day 1

 

9:00am – 11:00am — Exponential technology 101: the basics

11:00am – 11:30am — Refreshment break

11:30am – 1:00pm — Exponential vulnerability: building new defenses

1:00pm – 2:00pm — Networking lunch

2:00pm – 3:00pm — Working group 1

3:00pm – 3:30pm — Refreshment break

3:30pm – 5:00pm — Convergence, disruption, and opportunity

 

Day 2

 

9:00am – 10:30am — How to innovate in the exponential era

10:30am – 11:00am — Working group 2

11:00am – 11:30am — Refreshment break

11:30am – 12:30pm — Silicon Valley’s magic toolkit: how to innovate, part 2

12:30pm – 1:30pm — Networking lunch

1:30pm – 2:15pm — Working group 3

2:15pm – 2:45pm — Refreshment break

2:45pm – 3:45pm — Society, law, and ethics

3:45pm – 4:15pm — Working group 4

4:15pm – 4:45pm — The future is what we make it

4:45pm – 5:00pm — Key takeaways / Q&A

The most important skill of the future will be the ability to learn and adapt. You need to be resourceful, keep your eyes open for advances coming out of nowhere, and embrace the new opportunities as they emerge.

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