Ten Macrowikinomics Trends for 2011

Don Tapscott tells it like he sees it.  I ran across him first in one of those big-picture motivational conferences somewhere talking about technology and business and innovation.  I remember he talked about how amazed he was when his kids could teach him tech stuff he just puzzled over.  I get that now that my kids have to show me how to work text messaging.  Tapscott has a book out now called Macrowikinomics, “A follow-up to Wikinomics, the best-selling management book of 2007″.  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet (maybe if I’d jumped on the Kindle train earlier) but it’s on my to-get list.

Here’s how he sees the year ahead:

Below are the most important trends and developments I foresee in the coming year.  I welcome your comments. Do you agree with my forecast? What have I missed?

  1. Rather than just an economic downturn, more people will recognize that we’re at the beginning of something profound. The industrial economy and many of its institutions are reaching the end of their lifecycle— from newspapers and old models of financial services to our energy grid, transportation systems and institutions for global cooperation and problem solving.
  2. The further rise of Global Risks.  We are moving into an age where profound threats are emerging to the global economy, society and even the very existence of humanity. Failure of the financial system, weapons of mass destruction, new communicable diseases, collapse of environmental systems, water security and many other threats make the world a volatile place.
  3. Worldwide generational conflict will grow.  Around the planet young adults are asserting themselves in the workplace and in political arenas.  Protests against entrenched governments are increasing in frequency and severity.
  4. Media upheaval will continue.  More of the music consumer’s dollar will go into the pockets of artists and less to the music labels.  The industry will awaken to the need to sell music as a service rather than a product.  TV will continue down the path of becoming simply another app on the web.
  5. Where traditional print newspapers continue to wither, innovative news ecosystems such as the Huffington Post are growing and will claim a larger percentage of the advertising dollar.  HuffPo has become an influential player in American business, political and social life.
  6. We will see collapse of the app.  Rather than writing applications to run on separate mobile operating systems, developers will return to the uniformity of web sites accessed through browsers.
  7. The Age of Hyper Transparency will arrive. Right now it’s the US government, but Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says private-sector companies are next, starting with the financial services industry. So if your corporation is going to be naked – and you really have no choice in the matter – you’d better be buff.
  8. There will be a social media privacy backlash. With the meteoric rise of social media, we are increasingly willing accomplices in undermining our own privacy rights. Privacy is the Achilles Heel of sites such as Facebook.
  9. The battle over net neutrality will intensify. Internet Service Providers will continue their campaign to charge premium prices for certain kinds of content, while content providers will want all Internet traffic treated fairly.  The biggest confrontations will be in the wireless realm.
  10. The interdependence of actions and events means we have no option other than to try to encourage and enforce mutual cooperation through a new division of labor among the four key pillars of society: business, government, the civic sector and a new pillar enabled by the Internet – the individual citizen.

My thoughts:

  1. Agree.  We haven’t recognized the “new normal” yet.  Will it show itself this year?  Don’t know.  Maybe.  Sorta.  Kinda.  Not all at once, but maybe if you’re paying attention.
  2. Agree.  Little problems are becoming big problems much more quickly.  Learn to deal with scale, quickly.
  3. Agree.  The Baby Boomers aging presents challenges we’ve never faced before, and the Millenials just entering the workforce, well, we don’t quite know what to do with them either.  Yet I’m encouraged that America may be better positioned to deal with demographic upheaval than other more static nations.
  4. Agree.  The “music industry” is broken. The movie industry is showing cracks as well.  Will a new model emerge this year?  How will the rise of tablet-computing, merging iPods and notebooks, affect media consumption?
  5. Agree.  I love to hate HuffPo just like I love to hate the left-wing establishment media, but they seem to have the new-media model in hand.
  6. Undecided.  I don’t do mobile.  Again, the big buzz is tablets–bigger than your cell phone, smaller (lighter) than your notebook, they’ve eclipsed the long-sought “netbook”.  I wonder (as I did in comments on Tapscott’s original post) how tablets might tilt the field more towards people being consumers of media, rather than creators and participants in media.  I wonder.
  7. Agree.  If you don’t want to see your face on the front page of the newspaper Wikileaks, then Don’t Do It.
  8. Agree.  It might be Facebook burnout, or second thoughts about the wisdom of place-aware apps.  Do you really want burglars to know you’re at Chile’s instead of at home?
  9. Agree.  I am inclined towards net neutrality as I understand it, but I have to admit I’m not at all clear on any of the different approaches bandied about by the FCC and/or Congressional critics.  I don’t trust any of them.
  10. Disagree.  That is only because this is such a broad, vague statement as to be essentially meaningless.  Of course actions and events are interdependent.  Encourage cooperation?  Why certainly.  But “enforce mutual cooperation”?  I don’t like the sounds of that.  Maybe when I read his book I’ll have a better idea on that.

So, what do you think?



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