This post was inspired by a question on Quora and so I put my answer here on the blog as well.
Looking in our heavily research driven crystal ball, we see the following 15 engineering disciplines the most sought after in the next 25 years. In the following 25–50 years thereafter it will change a bit as AI and model engineers will build ever smarter systems that can do quite some of the engineering work – but for many reasons we are certain – not all !!!

AI / ML / NLP and friends engineering

By 2030 AI will be in any product or many components of a single product
approx. a million open positions as of today, Dec 2018

Algorithmic engineering (mathematicians)

> It’s the substance AI is made of and we need hundreds of thousands of them

Model engineering

> The biggest challenge in AI: Creating the model of what AI should be intelligent about

Molecular engineering → Molecular model engineering

>A precursor to smart materials, bio materials and much more

Smart Material engineering → Smart Material model engineering

> By 2030/2040 isch it will affect most everything we produce. Any material we deal with in our everyday’s live may be smart and do things that we can’t believe today/ It’ll be as big as AI is today if not even more revolutionary

Bio engineering → bio structure model engineering

> By 2040 it is the base for augmented human bodies. Getting eyes like an eagle, joins like a panther, reflexes and organs we can only dream of today. But it will also change the way we see all life around us and the influence we may have.

Robotics → Robotics model engineering

> an obvious one – yet the robots of the future, past 2040, will be very different. Not because of AI but because of the smart material and the bio engineering development.

Autonomous machines engineering

> Today we see robots, cars, etc. as autonomous machines. Tomorrow, 2025 onwards, we can add IOT and other autonomous devices to the mix. By 2050, we can see far remote machines on the Moon doing work we won’t do on earth…

Nano Technology engineering (re-started)

> Carbon nano tubes are revitalized as material we could use to build a space elevator and other crazy things we cannot do otherwise.

MedTech engineering → MedTech model engineering

> BY 2030 we can finally expect getting nanobots into our body for surgery but also as monitoring and other robotic tasks. It will be only the top level in that space. There is a lot ongoingly that will need very specialized engineers.

FinTech engineering → FinTech model engineering

> Whether we have a cryptocurrency comeback or a new development on our “old” currency, by 2025 blockchain like technologies is in the financial business future.

SecureTech engineering

> 2020 to 2525+ everything we need is vulnerable on its own. Security is, was and will remain to be a huge part of our technology world.

Energy systems engineering

> 2020 to 2525+ whether we will harness one day the gigavolt flashes (~10 Billion volts) or leverage our abundant geothermal energy, everything we do will need ever more energy.

Civil engineering (urbanity trend eyc.)

> Already today we are building more and bigger cities in the next 20 years until we experience the turnaround back to country live around 2050/2075 or so, especially when not only all production but also must services will be automated. In the then following 50+ years we will rebuild earth like we cannot imagine today.

Quantum computing engineering perhopes

> Not sure if we ever find a solution to the still unstable quantum states in the quantum computing theory. But if – lots of engineers will all of a sudden be needed.

There are many many more like food engineering, life style engineering, education technology engineering, health care engineering, and so forth, but the above give you probably a good idea where we are going.

P.S.
Why do we (World Innovations Forum) think so? There has never been a technology that was invented and in less than 10 years mainstream. Since we see what is in very early stage development of startups, we can see well into the next 10 years. New inventions and findings coming in in the next 10 years, will take us well into 2035 which are obviously very hard to predict. But we can at least try to predict the development that will come on top of the current development like robots that will advance but will advance even further when other developments like smart material have advanced. That brings us into year 2050. Thereafter we can only see consequences of the development we predict like the turnaround of urbanization and megacities. If most people no longer work in corporate bird cages but do things they simply love to do, join the makers movement, start their own little business and so forth, there is not only no need to live in a city but possible an urge to go back into countryside. That assumed consequence gives us fruit for thoughts beyond 2075 into 2100 or so. Again nobody really knows but we have ever better indicators and prediction models improving accuracy and to do what we do :)

I see thousands of horror stories and get hundreds of fearful questions like will AI be harmful to humans, will “they” take over the world. People see them already as fully developed beings and thousands of times superior over humans. There is an interesting psychological analysis about that – but first let me stop this absurd craziness.

WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE?

First and foremost AI is a piece of software. It is typically written in very well known and for decades widely used programming languages such as C, C++ or Python. To make the software do what is smarter than just “if this happens then do that” software developer are using smart algorithms – mathematics. Another technique that is used is so called “Neural Networks” – but also that is pure software. The neural networks is a mechanism that is seen in our brain handling all kinds of filtering, sorting and decision providing mechanisms. So all in all, AI is software, math and libraries of techniques.

Instead of keyboard and mouse, so called “Natural language Processing” tools or in layman’s terms: speech recognition tools are used.  So we can talk to the computer and it will talk back by using speech synthesiser. And since we are used to use web cams, electric thermometers, GPS and stuff, we can attach these to the computer as well.

Now the combination of computer, software and all kind of sensors, the “machine” looks much smarter than before. But hey, it is still a machine, doing what the software we wrote, is dictating it to do.

Another thing, which started the avalanche of hysteria and craziness, is the idea that in the combination of smart algorithms and neural networks, we can actually program the machine to “learn”. The only magic in this is that we humans have an enormous respect for “learning”. The machine however learns VERY differently than we. Give the machine 100,000 images of dogs and it will learn how a dog looks like. If we now add a dog in 100,000 other pictures where also cats and other animals are in, the likelyhood to recognize the pattern of a dog is pretty high. In contrast to a human, my daughter took about 20 to 30 impressions of a dog to “learn” what a dog is. She also learned that a cat is a similar animal but not quite the same.

Why is AI such a big deal

Well, you could give an AI system the construction plan of a car. Then ask it to create an optimal body, that is as light as possible, as stiff as possible, has a dynamic material behavior in case of a crash and considerable ,ess expensive.
The AI system could instead of only 100,000 views take 10 Million iterations of each component and come back with a design where the car is only 100 KG instead of one ton, has a network style body instead of full material and using all kinds of stiffness measures that it is stronger and at the same time lighter. With less material and for instance only steel at certain point, carbon in others and so forth it would eventually cost 50%, weighs only one 10th and is much safer. Artificial INtelligence can be programmed to do things like that basically anywhere. Making enormously precise Weather Forecasts, analyze stock exchange behavior of thousands of companies over the past 100 years and  the behavior of investors by the minute to predict much better value development. It can help analyze illness, make more accurate and more neutral decisions as a judge and so forth.

If it is so cool – why don’t we do all of this now?

Well – AI is still in development. Approximately 1 million engineers in approximately 100 countries work independently on all kinds of solutions. Mathematicians join the software developers and vice versa. However it is by far not as easy as many people think. The most advanced development right now is autonomous cars. Invented originally in Germany in 1992, where the first autonomous car drove 2,000 KM from southern Germany to Scandinavia and back, all in autonomous mode. Autonomous cars may then take 20 years to get all the kinks out and be safe enough to get on the road. Politicians go back and forth whether they should support it or not, the public is in hysteria to say the least and there is a lot of uncertainty about how AI could be turned into weapons.

What risk remains with AI?

Let’s assume for a moment, we would not have automobiles today. Now somebody would come and suggest we build cars and street, but also need to take in consideration that every year more than one million people will get killed and 20 – 50 million insured. Would we allow that anybody is building those killer machines? Never ever I guess. But the CAR is not the killer it is the human that drives the car. Like in all other ares, the human that uses the gun, the human that uses the knife, the human that drives the tank. Yes, AI and Robots could be build to go to war, kill the opposing country and possibly wipe out a nation. But it is not the robot that magically makes that decision – it is the human that designs it. And as seen in 1945 in Hiroshima, we could do that already in the last century.

On the other hand, we have 340 Million occupational deadly accidents a year. How about accelerating the AI and robotics development to get machines into those jobs and safe 340 Million humans each year. This is more than people dying at wars and accidents all together.

Yes, there are risks that ill-minded people take this technology as a weapon against others. We saw this with Social Media, the Internet, any type of technology in the past.  and we need to do everything to prevent them. But those machines build from plastic, silicon and metal will not magically turn into living things with a purpose we didn’t program and wipe out all humans or stuff like that. Those visions – even coming from people like Steven Hawkins – are based in a huge deficiency of understanding what humans really are and that our “intelligence” is not more and not less to our brain, than  the muscles are to our body. Today we can lift thousands of times more with our cranes than with our muscles. Soon we will be able to think through constructions or algorithms thousand times more complex than we can calculate with our brain. But one thing have cranes and AI in common: Humans have developed them and have the interest and responsibility to make them as safe as any way possible.

Autonomous Machines, driven by Artificial Intelligence, are no living beings with a purpose to kill us. They are machines with a purpose WE GIVE THEM. And if that purpose is killing, then it is still us who made it that way. It is not something THEY CAN DO unless we allow it to go that way.

 

Today we may debate whether or not a robot will ever be superior to a human. Superiority has many angels. And a robot may not catch all of them. But in the basic work life, it is different. And maybe one robot may not be as good as a human – but a whole range of networked Artificial Intelligence-based robots will outperform us in almost any segment of work on all levels and all industries !!!

 

Our single biggest disadvantage

The vast majority of humans, still today, keep knowledge close to their chest. Sharing of knowledge, experience, and mistakes is not our biggest strength. Sitting in a corner, thinking through the permutations of what happens with a machine in certain circumstances – is our biggest strength. But we know that our brain capacity is not unlimited. As long as we continue to share only if really necessary, think for ourselves, hope we earn special attention for our knowledge – we are in danger that all our jobs get eradicated before we adapt to newer better behavior. Our physical limitations are too weak to stand up against a series of highly developed AI networked technology – whatever we call it.

Cultural Advancement

We are what we got introduced to by our cultural frameworks. Our parents teach us to be humble, not to share our experience unless it is necessary, to experiment for ourselves until we are sure that our experiments are successful. We are conditioned to not talk about things that are still uncertain. Our communication prison is huge. Some cultures however advanced already. And the most interesting thing is that it was actually that very advancement that brought the AI / Robotics technology to life – Silicon Valley. Now some may argue it was elsewhere and so and so already had developed that first version of AI years ago. Well – so sorry to say that, an innovation has absolutely no value unless it is brought to a broader market. “The initial value if any innovation is zero”. Without cultural advancement, we will maintain that widening gap between developed and emerging countries. As long as emerging countries do not embrace more openness, a culture where failure is not just OK but actually good and a key part of learning – the country will remain to be an emerging country.

Artificial Intelligence, biggest driver for human advancements

Humans have one extraordinary ability: humans can adapt to new situations within one and the same generation. No other life form can do that. Big Data is giving businesses who leverage big data a huge advantage over others because they simply know better and faster what is going on. If we learn that networked AI systems will be able to tap into those data and create analysis, able to make decisions and derive strategies from the results, They will be ahead of us and we will essentially do what they suggest. We can’t even verify in time so we simply go ahead and do it. Yes it’s still a tool – but we do what the tool is telling us what to do without even being able to debate it. But we will learn one thing: if we connect our brains we get a whole new edge – maybe beyond our own imagination.

Experiment at Society3 World Innovations Forum

Imagine we do what these AI networks do and network our brains, very simply on a daily base by sharing, communication, analyzing our own mistakes and come to new conclusions every day? The collective intellect when really in action has unknown and incomprehensible reserves. The least we can do is to explore them. And it is almost for free. We only have through some of the old cultural remains overboard. At Society3 this is exactly what is going on right now. Society3 is building a digital layer across the globe that exists to connect people and their ideas, challenges, questions and answers together. http://society3.com We are not here to win a competition with AI-based robots but simply bring human entrepreneurs to a level that has never seen before.

In my previous two blog posts I shared a base view and two examples. In this post I will share some ways to get to a state of the art level of digitization in your business.

As stated in the previous blog post, computerization or digitization 1.0 started in the 1960’s. With rare exceptions, most businesses are fully computerized. Computers, smartphones, Internet and the corresponding software are simply the underlying infrastructure for digitization. In my follow on blog post, Digitization is a mindset,  I described the effects based on the two examples: Amazon and Uber.

Find out your degree of digitization

The degree of digitization today, can also be seen as a collection of individual and unique competitive advantages. If you like to further explore full digitization of your business you may want to use the following guidance:

  1. Think in degrees of digitization?
    – Digitization is not a have or not have. It is a sliding scale from basic to medium, to good, to excellent
    – Can you identify the degree of digitization in your business?
    – Do you have a customer advisory board you can work with to increase the level of digitization?
  2. Modern Business Culture?
    – Digitization is a mindset and requires a modern, open minded and transparent company culture.
    – Do you have an executive team or business owners who don’t want more transparency and rather keep everything close to their chest?
    – Do you have an old style sales and marketing culture that prefers to deliver information only on request and see it as a special value rather than an obligation to freely provide it such as pricing etc.
  3. What is your logistics integration look like
    – Do you still need to manually enter orders, requests or anything else?
    – Are your customer and business partners able to access any record of their transactions online?
    – Can your customers see the order or return progress at any time online
    – Can your customers access business history with you online?
    – Are there any rewards systems for customer activities?
  4. How deep is your sales channel all the way to the individual consumer integrated in your digital presence?
    – Are your direct customers, business partners, vendors, supplier all the way to the individual end user of your products or services fully integrated in your digital presence?
    – Can any of your customer access their own data easily in your system, maybe change their names, email addresses etc? Can they see the products they have and the services they can acquire?
    – Do your customers have access to all the manuals, service descriptions, pricing, spare parts etc.?
    – Do you have a customer community where your customers can meet and exchange experiences?
    – Do you know if your final end consumer is interested in finding out more information from you?
    – Do you have any form of relationship escalation between the end consumer, sales channels, yourself and maybe suppliers of yours?
    – Are customer rewarded when they mention you online on public networks?
  5. What services, knowledge and information can you provide completely paperless?
    – What is the degree of paperless information flow from brochures, to orders, invoices, or contracts?
    – Do you still require a hand written signature on any document?
  6. How many technological channels do you support today?
    Is all the information available on classic websites, do you support mobile devices, do you have dedicated mobile apps, is information exchange possible via social media?

Competitive Advantage

Each and every act of digitization 2.0 should be considered a unique and individual competitive advantage. If it is not a competitive advantage it is probably just a regular digitization 1.0 measure to run your operation.

Obviously the above are only some samples of obvious digitization measures to increase your degree of digitization and creating unique competitive advantages. True so called “disruptive moments” in your business model, network effects and other topics are rather individual to your specific business case.

The global race for more innovation is rapidly accelerating – still it is lead by California. Even the east coast states like NY, Massachusetts or other US states including Texas or Florida are still looking at California when it comes to top innovation. And Europe as a whole is far back and so are most of the Asian countries.

Asia the manufacturing powerhouse – not yet the innovation driver

Clearly Asia is on the run for the pole position in the world when it comes to mass manufacturing. Yet, Japan, who was actually the first Asian country with huge manufacturing power, shows a state of saturation, high prosperity and therefor high salary and its competitiveness in production leadership is slowing down. Other Asian countries have a high potential for becoming leading production farms to serve and support the growing population on earth – and with that potential a high potential for more production revenue a high potential for growing prosperity.

Strategic tech innovation still come from the US

However – in the past 30 years – it appeared that the manufacturing power is a very different economic value compared to innovation power. And while Germany, Switzerland, and France boost some of the most innovative technologies outside the US, with their “hidden champions” – it is the US who dominates the global technology space with the most relevant innovations. Relevant meaning technology that if it would be taken away would have a serious impact on the global economy.

Large corporations can’t disrupt themselves

All too often people hope that large corporations can just create an “innovation lab” in order to create innovative ideas – very much like a startup – and bring them to market. But in almost all cases that dream is bursting like a bubble after the innovation was created. When running a 20,000+ people company, each and every employee must run on 90% or better performance in order to be economically viable. If only a few would start experimenting with crazy ideas, the whole corporation me get in trouble. And if an “external” innovation lab brings a new solution into the company, the executive team quickly realizes that the sales organization has no resources to create a market or sell the product into the existing customer base, marketing has no capacity to bring new products to market, support teams are at 110% load and so forth. Corporate innovation is bound to the very same principles like a young startup: permanently under funded, lacking resources, trouble to get initial traction,  difficulties building a brand and a sales force and so forth. Corporations must create very different methods and values to actually make a corporate innovation lab successful.

Government Innovation Programs

Government innovation programs have evolved and we see a huge amount of innovative solutions in many countries. However most of those innovative solutions don’t make it. Billions are pored into startups and great ideas, yet they did not return the investment. An innovation in itself is of zero value. Only of the innovation is successfully brought to market and considered a value for the customer, it begins to create a value for the owner, the participating employees and partners and the economy. Yet, a local product is never bringing a major contribution to the national prosperity. But if the product goes global, the national  contribution to prosperity begins to flow. A country that is self sufficient is probably healthy and OK but never very prosper. A country with a high export rate however creates prosperity from the excess production value. A country with a high export rate from genuine and highly innovative products is the most prosper way for economic growth.

Innovation Economics – We Need To Understand

Here is probably the most interesting aspect of the innovation economics: If 5 countries are highly innovative and 10 countries not, obviously the five countries are much richer than the 10. And in the old thinking of competition, we try to be better (more innovative) then the other countries. But if all 15 countries are highly innovative, all 15 countries are rich and the five countries are richer by serving 15 rich countries than serving only 4 other rich countries and 10 poor countries. Yes, the delta is less and less but the overall economic power grows. Once we accept that model, we no longer keep countries poor or keep people dumb. Instead we keep competing but on a smaller difference. Formula-1 race cars are extremely fast and the winner wins often by a margin of a split second. Unlike 50 years ago where we saw minutes in between – simply because everything was a secret. In Silicon valley we have a spirit of sharing – even the “secret” strategies. Simply because we learned that sharing, openness and transparency is the biggest accelerator of all.

 

 

Five major initiatives for increasing national innovation

Society3 created five major initiatives to increase local innovation power and connect it to a global network to drive a global business:

1) Global Exchange
A global network where people are permanently connected. The exchange / community platform provides users instant access to all members via web, mobile and other services. The objective is to get answer on questions within a few minutes or hours, find new business partners around the globe, compare notes, and open sharing for ultra fast learning from each other.

2) Events & Meetings
While a digital global exchange is the only way to get people from around the world to collaborate and learn from each other fast, people need the personal face to face exchange too. Therefor Society3 and their local representatives conduct national entrepreneurs night events to meet and exchange on a national level and the World Innovations Forum to get together at least once a year on a global level.

3) Innovation Education & Acceleration
Education and acceleration through the accelerator program that we are currently preparing to be delivered online so everybody can participate and soon offline in the countries at local accelerators. Unique about the accelerator is the “knowledge and methods to train what it really takes to create a unique and innovative solution, build a disruptive business model, and bring it to global markets within very fast”. Society3 was named one of the top 100 most influential global accelerators.

4) Global Trading Platform
A new blockchain based trading platform will allow startups and young innovative businesses – even old ones – offer and sell their goods globally at a fraction of today’s cost – but most importantly bridging the gap from a conventional local business to a global business. Lacking the skills and bandwidth to go global is the most significant gap to today’s Silicon Valley’s leadership position.

5) Government & Corporate Innovation Labs Support
Governments and Corporations in over 100 countries are undertaking enormous initiatives to increase their innovation power. At least in the past 20 to 30 years no significant innovation stood out compared to Silicon Valley, which was an orchard just 70 years ago. The Society3 Group developed a methodical approach to accelerate significant innovation development within the respective country. Here the same techniques are applied as in the accelerator program: “Knowledge and methods what it really takes to create a unique and innovative solution, building disruptive businesses, and bring solutions to global markets within a very short period of time”.

Purpose for a global innovation push

Beyond the self serving objective to drive more business as a corporate or country, there is an additional purpose for the global innovation push. In order to eradicate hunger, poverty, and inequality, we as the human race, may want to drive “equality in prosperity” across the globe by creating innovation, entrepreneurship and business development from within the countries rather than external aid. And as a bonus we will see a wave of new innovation from all these different cultures.

 

OK in my previous post I talked about the European Digitization Issue. And rather giving it yet another abstract and very complicated explanation what it supposed to be, I’d rather talk about the effects it has today and why we it is a mind set and not a way of using machines. that solve all the problems.

CASE STUDY AMAZON

Beloved by many consumers – hated by many retailers.  Amazon a prime example for digitization. Not only Amazon but many catalog reseller before them understood that it will be impossible in the future to have a store with hundreds of thousands of products to choose from. It will be harder and harder to drive with your car into city centers buying a coffee machine and a mixer and a TV and a few other things and bring it to your car somewhere in a parking garage or actually carry it with a bus. But most importantly the seller with a less privileged brand but a very good product would have no chance to win in such an environment. And as a result we would have only a few global enterprise based products to choose from. The way to solve that problem was to involve the unbiased buyers to share their experience. Recommendations from other users, the information what other users also bought and the whole experience with other buyers was a breakthrough that could only work in a digital environment. Then the idea to let standard seller participate from the Amazon solution was yet another powerful move to integrate other sellers and at the same time make the offer even broader. While we have hundreds of thousands of online shops who are leveraging computer technology and software to sell their wares, it took companies many years to understand that the customer experience is so superior over any others that they could grow to the undisputed market leader. It wasn’t the technology but the mindset of Jeff Bezos to fully integrate the consumer as the most important part of a business success into the digital flow of their business. Today that includes the overview of what was purchased in the past, when, from whom and so forth. Also it included the return process and makes the consumer a part of the entire logistics chain. If we want to analyze Amazon versus other online shops – we may say that the degree of customer integration is by order of magnitude higher than from the other competitors and that could lead to saying the degree of digitization is much higher than from all competitors.

INTERESTING TO NOTE
In several countries or cities innovative businesses like Amazon are pushed out. The top case is Switzerland where companies are inspired to be digitized and innovative, but Amazon is not present in Switzerland. It’s mode so complicated that they give up. Yet Swiss consumers buy hundreds of millions worth of goods from amazon in other countries.

Germany: Crowdfunding startups is a great way to get some seed financing from the public. In most countries the digitization of fundraising is normal. Bafin, the regulatory administration in Germany seem to have no interest in supporting this way of digitization and so it is simply not happening. Germany however is one of the countries pushing digitization the most.

CASE STUDY UBER

Beloved by travelers, hated by taxi organizations. Also Uber is a prime example for digitization. The company was built based on the incredible bad customer experience when standing in line waiting for a taxi and looking at the line of taxis waiting to be used at the Las Vegas Airport. The idea was pushed further by the frustration of those who call a taxi and it never comes as well as the taxis that come to pickup a traveler who in the meantime just grabbed another taxi.  Many taxi organizations have been completely computerized and felt pretty digital but the customer experience was still terrible and the most important part of that business: the traveler was just not part of their digital processes at all. Uber developed a system where the traveler knew where the “taxi” they called is at any given point in time and the Uber driver already had the digital id of the caller and could theoretically request a payment if the passenger would just walk away, Similar to Amazon the widely understood business was disrupted by an organization  that included the customer into the already existing digital processes in a way that it completely outperformed the old business.

INTERESTING TO NOTE
Also here, countries that otherwise call for innovation and digitization, banned Uber as the taxi companies had no better idea to fight back by convincing lawyers and city officials to stop Uber in a different old fashion and somewhat corrupt way. In many cases the lobbyists from the disrupted industries fight back by pulling politicians into the game who don’t really know what is going on and rather block the innovation and digitization then helping embrace it.

SUMMARY

I can share hundreds of similar examples where we can look at Facebook in social networking, Google in search and advertising, HomeAway and Hotels, Expedia and travel agencies, E*Trade and broker business…. and very soon to come Banks, Insurance companies, Car Manufacturer, Hospitals and so forth.  All existing and future cases have one in common: The full integration of the customer experience (B2B and B2C) into the digital workflow will massively attack the old way of doing business.

To the contrary, not only Amazon and Uber are having problem to disrupt an old industry with their innovative models, AirBnB, BitCoin and many others face the same challenge.

Country official look for innovative technology to accelerate digitization. Yet stop it as soon as the degree of digitization is too high “in their very personal opinion, limited by the understanding of the technology and their effects”

Digital is about 60 years old

The world started to go digital in the 1960’s with a big push from IBM. In the 80’s the digital world was developed further by bringing the power of digital to every desktop in form of a PC or laptop. In the 90’s with the rise of the Internet to every home and in the early 2000 years with social media to absolutely everybody and their dog. Digitization also branched out to mobile devices and with the inception of the iPhone computer power was at hand of virtually everybody in every continent by the 2010’s

Our Industry is fully computerized

Businesses obviously ask: “What the hell are they talking about, we have computers we do online banking, we have a website, our machines run with CMC systems, the products are designed with CAD system and the processes with an ERP system.  What is the big push about digital? Even the word digital is more than 30 years old. Right. Modern businesses in most European, US and Asian countries are at that level already. Most businesses have a high level of internal computerization or digitization.

So what is all the fuss about digitization then?

We are fully digital! No – and definitely no – YOU are not fully digitized. Your processes are as old as 30+ years. Your customers do not play any significant part in your processes and the degree of automation that helps customers versus automation that helps your internal organization  is roughly 100:1 in our organization’s favor. So what is digitization then?

I feel sorry but it is a misleading term, that has never been even explained in Europe and is absolutely NOT used in the US. Most of us in Silicon Valley has at least a smile with a sorrow face about Europe. But in the US economy that is actually completely down with no idea how to fix it is thankful for any confusion outside the US to give them time to find ways to fix the country. Unlike in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s where top notch US business people flew to Europe and showed them how to use computers, how to connect them in LANs, how to do e-commerce, how to use the Internet and how to do social media – absolutely nobody come to show us “digitization”. Why? The term does not exist. Google for “Digitization in the US” or “Obama and digitization” you will notice there are only a low number of findings and the content has nothing earth shattering.

Can we call the “digitization” push OFF? Please NO.

Yet there is a reason why Europe needs a weak-up call and the term “digitization” was just a word – unfortunately not explained too well. Compared to the US and now even in super fast growing China, what we call DIGITIZATION is ahead of Europe – again. Why?  Because Europeans follow advice and when reading the explanations that describe digitization or sometimes digitalization, it is so abstract and completely useless that people find their own way into something that is actually 180 degree opposite of the purpose of digitization: completely networked activities. Now – if I describe the term in my way I would do what many others do and at the end we have thousands of interpretations. Therefor I’d rather describe the effects of digitization in our normal day to day lives and in our businesses.

I will do that in the next post.

Innovation gets funded with billions of $ all across the world. Hundreds of thousands of startups get founded every year. Yet 90% of the inventions, patented ideas, startups and corporate innovation labs do not succeed. If our crops would have been treated like our brain crops, humans would have extinct by now.

SOMETHING WENT REALLY WRONG

After a keynote at the European Commission’s Digital Agenda, I discussed a burning question with one of the officers. I asked: “Why is so much money poured into more and more inventions and innovative ideas but absolutely nothing in helping to get them to markets?” The answer was prompt and very clear: “Commercial success is the job of the entrepreneur, not of a government”. While I understood the rational behind the thinking, I still found it odd to let 90% of invested money evaporate, just because a more or less philosophical process. The result is not only lost opportunities but also widening the chasm between rich and poor, putting the leadership position of a nation in jeopardy and risking to loose talents who may find other nations more appealing.

Innovation that can’t be brought to market is of no value for the respective society and should not be funded with tax money.

WHAT PROFESSIONAL INVESTORS DO

The top venture investors nurture their investment from Idea to IPO. It’s the only way to get a significant return on investment. Plus they educate, mentor and coach their portfolio companies to bring them to maximum performance. And the result is stunning. instead of 90 % failure rate it’s only 75%. In other words they doubled the success rate of startups they have invested in. Unfortunately that is the tiny fraction of startups that had the privilege to move to Silicon Valley and get investments from some of the top VCs. But in the end, our “Innovation Crops” deliver a miserable 10% yield, while we know we could get it up to 25%.

We need to change the innovation paradigm

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF INNOVATION

I guess we can agree that innovation is perceived a key driver for progress and growth. But is that true?  Is it the innovation or is it the ability to bring new and different products to market and attract a huge amount of people to support it, buy it or otherwise engage with it. A less innovative product that is produced in huge quantities and attract a large global market is most likely creating more jobs, more revenue, more profits and therefor more taxes for the local community than a product that is much more innovative but nobody knows about it therefor the company may not even survive. The true value of innovation is created at the time that product or service is hitting large markets and get a lot of business.

ONLY SUCCESSFUL INNOVATION MEANS JOBS AND TAXES

If we can agree that a value is only created when the companies grows, creates jobs and pay taxes, we should also agree that funding the urge of developing something is less important that funding the the need to bring it to market. Creative minds will build innovative products whether they get funded or not. But only if economic success is supported afterwards the innovation is gaining in value. And if the core driver for Innovation Funds is job creation and prosperity we may need to reconsider the funding strategy and put some money aside for every amount of money spent in the invention itself.

NEW INNOVATION PARADIGM FOCUSING ON COMMERCIAL RESULTS

A new innovation support program needs to focus on commercial success more than anything else. That includes providing non bureaucratic processes and rules to actually be able to make global trade even as a startup. It means lowering regulatory barriers to an absolute minimum. It also means providing business education to leverage latest techniques for an efficient and successful go-to-market plan – something no university will ever be able to offer. And means that young startups are supported with international networks and concepts to leverage existing trade networks. And of course that some of the funds available for the invention itself is also made available to kick start the commercial success.

 

One of the big hurdles for entrepreneurs trying to grow fast and go international, are trade rules, currency considerations, trust, transaction financing, dealing with letter of credits and much more. Global trade for startups is virtually impossible. After getting global four times with our previous businesses, we decided to make it easy for all young entrepreneurs to go international. We started to design a global trade network, leveraging latest blockchain technology, smart contracts and our own global business know how.

Most super growth tech companies were still too slow

When we look back in time, Facebook demonstrated an unbelievable power of growth, yet it was too late in Asia. The same goes for Uber, Tesla and others. On one side conservative investors argue about speed to go international. Yet later stage investors argue about missed opportunities. Conventional growth techniques just did not allow mach faster growth than the current world leaders showed.

We don’t want to support monopolies, but….

Amazon for instance had a great chance to go global without anybody copying it right way. However new contenders like Alibaba do not stop taking market share bit by bit. That means monopolies find their contender quickly and that is a good thing, because we need diversity and options. But maybe it’s a good idea to give fragile startups an opportunity to go international even faster and then learn to defend their innovation at a later stage.

Blockchain based global trade for startups

Global trading platforms are the most used example when blockchain technology get’s explained to industry executives. However global enterprises can’t just rip out their conventional IT system and replace their gigantic databases with a blockchain. Nobody even knows if a slower blockchain would hold the load. That is very different with startups. Their problem in international trade is the initially small volume. For a blockchain however just right. Bringing thousands of startups quickly on a centralized system would be a nightmare. But using a self regulated decentralized solution a great opportunity. Building out interfaces to adopt the blockchain by a startup is easy – for enterprises a life long project. Making global trade rules standardized through smart contracts can be very easy adopted by a startup that has no real rules today. Just creating all the smart contracts for an enterprise would be a complex undertaking with lots of risks and liabilities.

The Society3 Blockchain would allow technology resellers in any corner of the world to safely buy and sell innovative technology that also comes from any place in the world. Tokenized businesses where anybody can trade anything makes the business much more valuable and much easier to conduct.

What does that mean in reality:

  1. Instead of creating, negotiating and working based on tens of pages of a distributor or sales contract written in many languages and considering many currencies, we invented self executing contracts that define the trade process once and for all. If adjustments are needed in future situations they will be adjusted for future deals as well.
  2. Instead of trying to understand the other trade party and developing some vague sort of trust, all players on the trade platform are authenticated and clearly identifiable. Trust development is taken over by the system.
  3. Orders can be placed by anybody and send to any trade partner. The fully decentralized trade model does not need any “distribution organization” in between. The blockchain and the corresponding user interfaces take care of the transactions and processes.
  4. Shipments are  made by the companies (startups) using any of the freight forwarder who docked onto the platform. Tracking and processing of all documents are taken care of by the blockchain and the corresponding self executing contracts.
  5. Delivery can be made to business partners or directly to end customers. Payments are made in crypto currency and every party takes care of the conversion of crypto into the respective local currency and back.
  6. Smart contracts keep track on both, the order flow and the shipment flow in digital form. Tax and customs documentation can be either printed when necessary or also digitally transferred.
  7. In case of a return due to a defective product, the same process goes reverse.
  8. Transaction cost is covered through miners getting paid for their job in tokens and only over time there maybe a small fee in the sub % range necessary to keep the platform up and running.
  9. Producer, customer, shipper, customs authorities and any other participant can be rated and that way develop reputation over time.
  10. The system provides unparalleled transparency due to its decentralized management at lowest possible cost.

Never before it was so easy to sell and buy products from all over the world to all over the world. Most of the expensive and delay causing intermediaries are reduced to one: the decentralized blockchain.

If you like to be part of the Global Trade System project, influence functionality and beta-test the first version of the GTS as soon as it comes out, please join the group and apply for the project.

GTS Project Application

Application link will be available soon

 

With 50% external funding rate since its start in 2014, the S3 San Francisco Accelerator is one of the most successful accelerator programs out there. In 2015 Society3 was named top 100 most influential accelerator. Now we will make it available for all entrepreneur in the world – no matter where they live.

AN ONLINE VERSION OF THE SILICON VALLEY MINDSET

It is impossible to get millions of startups to San Francisco / Silicon Valley and have them participate in the unique spirit of open minded people, breaking all barriers to find solutions and collaborate day in and day out to create world class solutions. But what we can do is to create that same spirit and the same connectedness online so everybody can benefit. A mindset is not something that works physically and therefore is independent of the online or offline world.

EIGHT WEEK PROGRAM

The program is restructured for attendees to completely participate online. All workshop sessions will be done during the 8 week program wherever the entrepreneurs live. The typical program requires entrepreneurs to participate in the weekly online sessions on Wednesday where knowledge transfer, reviews and discussions take place. During the week, local or remote mentors maybe available. The anchor elements of the program include:
* Vision & Purpose of your business (1 week)
* Leadership, Talents & Culture (1 week)
* Disruptive business model development (2 weeks)
* Go-to-market strategy (1 week)
* Traction & Growth Hacking (2 weeks)
* Fundraising, from Seed to IPO (1 week)

The first online accelerator program (Flight 7) starts April 11.
Graduation and Demo Day is during the World Innovations Forum in Switzerland in June 2018

APPLICATION PROCESS

If you are interested in joining:
1) Make yourself more familiar with the PROGRAM DETAILS
2) Apply here: PROGRAM APPLICATION