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Archive for the ‘Identity’ Category

Some time a ago, i took a “little” break for the rat-race, also know as “sabbatical leave”. It allowed me to find internal rest, and clarity about a lot of things important to life. One of the “plans” was to stick to “the plan of not having plan” and let emerge what comes.

I got back to drawing – yes, i was trained as an architect – and discovered i am still quite good at drawing straight lines, but really challenged by curved lines, like human bodies, faces, hands,… probably a testimony of my inclination to the cognitive, analytic, “straight” thinking patterns that formed the first part of my life.

I also did a little dive in the works of Carl Jung. One of the works i struggled through was “Man and his Symbols“.

 

Jung Man and his Symbols

 

I was particularly attracted to the part on dream analysis, and how a dream strictly spoken can only be analysed by the dreamer himself. There is not something like a standard way of analysing dreams. I followed the suggestion to document my dreams. I found this quite confrontational. Very personal. Most of it not really for publication on a public blog.

But i was surprised how some dream transcripts came out in different formats: from films scenarios, to paintings, or even poetry like.

I will start publishing some of these dreams. Here is the first one: i labeled it “breakfast”. Hope you like it.

 

Warm hands wiping

Caressing the table

Weeping leftovers of the night

Used and worn-out shrapnel

Dispersed sparks amidst breadcrumbs and tears

 

More to come…

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On 10-12 June 2013, I was invited as a panel participant to the ISACA Insights World Congress. It was the second time in two weeks – the previous time was during a session at the Amplify Festival – that the panel was asked by the moderator what the future would look like in 2040. At Amplify the question was around the future of work. At ISACA, the question was even more open ended.

untitled-by-allison-mcd-on-flickr

Although nobody of course knows what the future will hold, and everything I say on this topic is almost wrong by definition, I believe I surprised my audience with my very dystopian view on the future.

Many seem to believe that the future will be “bright”, with lots of possibilities for hyper-collaboration, in open and shared spaces, where serendipities happen every minute, where hierarchies don’t exist anymore, sort of love-and-peace in a sharing collaborative back-to-Woodstock environment.

woodstock-poster-for-sale

That may be the case in 2020, but I think the picture will be less rosy in 2040. Already today, algorithms trade in matter of milliseconds, a real-time world that we as humans can’t even grasp, let only survive. Where those algorithms now work for stock trading companies, by 2040 we will most probably be “augmented” – at best – by our personal algorithms.

It will not be a nice picture to look forward to: by that time, we will be totally ruled by robots and algorithms, and we will have to fight – assisted by our “devices” – for that very last minute of work in a crowded world marketplace where we will have to compete at rates of 1.5$ per hour. And this for probably high-skilled tasks, as the rest will be taken over by robots: a “Present Shock” of technological presence, a world undone of human presence, a very disturbing place where we are ruled by algorithms working on our behalf, where betting on peoples future is the new normal, where siren server masters raise interest fees on the mortgage of the personal success/failure of the data slaves.

The Singularity will have happened, but in quite a different way, in a way that technology owns us, eats us, swallows us, not a singularity of jolly happy people being more intelligent or augmented. A world of technology versus machines, where technology will dictate what it wants from us (See also Kevin Kelly “What Technology Wants” – with Kelly being the technology optimist he is – and Jaron Lanier “Who Owns the Future?”).

What we have witnessed during the last weeks’ revelations represents a true tipping point. Where we still may have had the illusion that we could empower ourselves, take charge, we will be at best be empowered by other powers: a new dystopian world where authoritarian technology rules, an authoritarian singularity, where we are reduced to data slaves of the new data masters.

As part of the Digital Asset Grid (DAG) project (an Innotribe project stopped after its incubation phase, and given back to the community), I have written in the past about the “Catastrophic Complexity” that is emerging right now through the explosion of the number of nodes on the grid, ànd the explosion of data. Where these data are more and more stored by “Siren Servers” – a metaphor used by Jaron Lanier – and where the DAG proposed a 100% distributed model of data storage in personal or corporate clouds, but with a choice of appropriate Trust Models, so that we don’t end up in another worldwide west. Indeed, with the advent of trillions of nodes on the grid, we will require a new kind of species, a new kind of architecture, but more importantly a new type of governance.

camel

I am also getting more and more disturbed by a sort of “over-glorification of technology. This may be surprising as a “Techonomist”, where the belief is that technology will enable a new philosophy for progress – I still believe that – but we need some solid healthy criticism in the debate.

techonomy

When I read this week in The Guardian – a quality newspaper, right? – about the “gadgetry and behavior concepts for the 21 century” and the related comments that these are “super important” new behaviors, I believe we are missing the point; we need to counterbalance all this excitement with way more attention for humanizing our businesses.

I am afraid we are slipping into an “Authoritarian Surveillance State” as described in Washington Post, or even a “Techtarian State” as articulated by Stan Stalnaker in The Huffington Post.

To understand what’s really going on, let’s looks at some understreams that cause the waves of change at the surface. I have split them in technological and more societal changes:

  • Technological:
    • SMAC: Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud
    • Platforms and APIs leading towards the end of highly vertically integrated organizations, and where the new skill becomes horizontal sourcing of pin-point functionality
    • Explosion and loss of control of data.
    • Explosion of Cyber-threats
    • Our identity schemes not keeping up with the sheer explosion of nodes, hampering our security, as the internet was never built with identity in mind
    • Disintermediation through hyper-connectivity (example Über)
  • Societal
    • Erosion of Privacy
    • Platform, everything as a service
    • New economies (P2P, Sharing, Reputation,…)
    • New expression of value, currencies, assets, cred, influence, reputation,
    • Crowdsourcing everything (credit cards, funding, investing, lending, mapping, reputation, …)

We probably most underestimate this trend of crowd-everything. There is something deeper going on: this is really about the use of external power to scale; think platform, using crowds as change accelerators, like developers for building on your APIs, but now through users. Google recently acquired Waze for 1B$ !.

waze

The industrial scale application of crowd is very much a “Singularity University Meme”, says Haydn Shaughnessy in Forbes.  Crowd-recording, crowd-sensing, crowd-data collection, more eyes and ears and sensors, through Waze, through Glasses, etc. It’s clear some parties want way more data to be available,  searchable, to be monetized, with us working like slaves to provide all these data for free. We evolve from democracy to “crowdocracy”.

Our near future will witness the “fragmentation of everything”: the fragmentation of work, of applications, of hierarchies, and states giving in to power data houses, data guerillas, pods, and cells.

We will see the “asymmetry of everything”: asymmetry of transparency, of search and computing power, of concentration of data. This will lead to power unbalances, to surveillance mania, to loss of freedom of speech. Already now the recent developments makes me more selective on what I tweet and share. The only way out is a 100% distributed system, but I am afraid that it is already too late for that and that our future is already owned by Jaron Lanier’s “Siren Servers”

We already see the “exceptionalism of everything”, where the exceptions become the norm: events such as stock exchange black swans become the norm. We take for granted the exceptional qualities of uber-people like Marissa Mayer, Zuckerberg, and other “heroes”.

We are “attacked by everything”: our secrecy is attacked by Wikileaks, our privacy by Siren-Servers, our security by cyber-attacks, our value creation by thousands of narrow innovations at the speed of light. All this happens at the speed of light, at “Un-Human” speeds, runs on a different clock, lives in another world.

We seem to live in a “perpetual crisis”, jumping from one incident to another, where there is no room anymore for building a story with a begin, middle, and an end; no room for reflection, no room to assess and scan the waves of change on the surface of the data ocean.

The world enters into a complexity

that cannot be addressed anymore

by conventional binary linear thinking.

 

We need new tools, capabilities, and ways of thinking, more non-linear, be prepared to open up for more options. These new tools are about forecasting and assessing in different ways (scenario thinking), decide our options in different ways, design thinking in context with intent and within constraints, and richer ways of expressing our options through visual thinking and other techniques more leveraging the human senses of color, sound, smell, trust, sensuality, presence.

We have come at a point where our only options out are a revolution of the data slaves and evolving as a new kind of species in the data ocean, trying to preserve what makes us human.

I have no clue how we can avoid this dystopia, but we will need a new set of practices for value creation; where data slaves dare to stand up and call for a revolution; where value creation and tax declarations go way beyond being compliant with the law; where we see the emergence of ethically responsible individuals and organizations. But it will be very difficult to turn back the wheel that has already been set in motion several decades ago.

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Last week, I attended the PurpleBeach launch event (check out the twitter stream at #purplebeachlaunch). It’s one of those events that got me again into hyper-reflection mode.

Purplebeacj

I was not really sure what the launch was about – initially I thought it was about the launch of a new consultancy firm – but once on site, it looked like being an experiment driven by Annemie Ress about “People Innovation”. Annemie had been heading HR and people efforts at eBAY, PayPal and Skype and I think she was not sure yet herself where this happening was going to land. She was maybe taken a bit by surprise by the number of folks who signed up for this invitation-only event – and in some way I liked a lot the authenticity of her and the team, being and staying open and curious about what could emerge from a gathering of about 180 folks of quite diverse “plumage”.

I got invited via MJ Petroni, owner and founder of Causeit.org. I met MJ last year when he and his team coached the Innotribe team on making quality team alignments and intentions. Petroni is mentored by Mark Bonchek, PhD, former SVP of Networks and Communities at Sears, now heading his own consultancy Orbit about pulling customers and communities in “orbit” around your brand. Enough credentials to follow-up on the invitation and checkout the event that took place in Audi Quattro Rooms, West-Side of London.

quattro rooms

Day one started with some strange mix of “quite-ok” talks about mobile, big data, digital identity, trends, leadership, HR, and the blurred zone between HR and Marketing.

In essence, the glue binding the different activities was “business humanization” and “people innovation”. The basic premise that innovation in organizations does not happen without people rediscovering themselves in their full being, a rich combination of left/right brain activities, and greater levels of personal awareness.

And yes, there was some strange Californian “wu-wu”, “mindfulness”, “well-being” and poetry and artistic performance elements as well. After all, we were on the “beach”, a place where you can relax, be idle, and be open to whatever comes your way.

Day one was ok, but not more than that: I was more or less familiar already with the content presented, and was in search for the new insight, the new synthesis, the new “AHA” moment. Alas, I waited in vain for the muse to inspire me.

But Day-2 kicked off by a great discussion about being “on”-line all the time, after a presentation by a trends watcher about future trends, micro work, etc. The presenter was depicting a future of always-on, nowism and “on-ism”, a future where you have to check your smart-device or sensor every second to capture that 5 minute chunk of work on a worldwide marketplace for mechanical turks.

In the following panel, Doug MacCallum (ex eBay but still advisor to the CEO of eBAY and non-executive Director on the board of Ocado) couldn’t hold it anymore:

“What a horror! I don’t want to live in a future like that. People need their time off to reflect and recalibrate. This is a dystopian future”

Doug MacMallum almost got a standing ovation for his intervention, and just the fact he got the ovation is a proof of how deep “presentism” is disturbing our human lives. It was like some sort of relief going through the room.

He went on describing a practice of Executives not sending mails in the weekend, to respect their own free time and that of their collaborators. Great initiative, but I have seen such promises before, and in some occasions the executive is preparing her emails during the weekend, queuing them up, and releasing them on Monday morning, so you have your inbox loaded with fresh instructions and work (sic).

present shock

It made me think of Douglas Rushkoff’s latest book “Present Shock” (Amazon Associates Link), about the fragmentation of everything, including work and value, and the addiction that arises when you are not able anymore to step out of the digital time, back into analog time, where you still have some sense of time fluidity, rhythm, and relative perspective.

Penelope Trunk, co-founder of Brazen Careerist, recently wrote a great article in Quartz. I like the section on refusing to present your-self in a linear way:

Agents represent workers who pick and choose projects that match them rather than signing on for indefinite amounts of time. The Harvard Business Review calls this supertemping. Business Week calls it going Hollywood.

It’s about a deep desire for story and narrative, context, being part of something, being for the long haul.

But unfortunately, we are getting fragmented disassembled

UPDATE: @MayaDroeschler retweeted my post and linked it with metaphysics of pure presence, referring to the the work of the philosopher Jacques Derrida who introduced the concept of deconstructivism, and who also influenced architecture (in the form of deconstructivism). This is the space of famous architects like Peter EisenmanFrank GehryZaha HadidCoop HimmelblauRem KoolhaasDaniel Libeskind, and Bernard Tschumi. Readers who know me, understand that Maya touched my sensitive chord of love for architecture. Picture below from Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

gmb_bilbao_690x235

But I got distracted ;-) The Quartz article also mentions new “modern” practices of young people selling stocks in themselves. This is about investing in – or probably better called “betting” on humans.

A “good” example is Upstart, a start-up opening their site with the slogan “The Start-Up is You.’’

Upstart

Upstart was founded by a group of ex-Googlers, including Dave Girouard, who spent 8 years at Google where he was President of Google Enterprise and VP of Apps.

I can’t help it, but this starts smelling like slavery to me. You already knew that you were the “product” of Siren Servers like Facebook, Google, your bank, your insurance company, your health company; they are getting your data for free and can monetize it without compensation of the data originator. It’s getting worse now: we are now entering an era where one owns the life of another human being, worse even, takes options in somebody’s future and betting on it.

Jaron Lanier has recently published a great book about this “Who owns the Future?” (Amazon Associated Link)

Who owns the future

I feel really sorry for otherwise very smart people Eric Schmidt, Peter Thiel, Khosla Ventures, Marc Benioff and other moguls for putting 5.9M USD in the last capital round of Upstart. I believe they are forgetting something very important here. This is in essence a form of digitizing of what it means to be a human being, digitizing the being into binary data blips, forgetting the rich set of emotions, senses and creativity we all can bring to the table. We are more than data present in the moment. We are part of a narrative, a story, an analog context.

Our “presentism”, just having that safety option to do that quick email check in the week-end, to check that Twitter status, the Klout and other scores are probably symptoms of something deeper going on: just having that capability is for some people already reducing the anxiety of loosing out on something.

Somebody shouted from the audience “But we are loosing the obvious!” – meaning loosing of being humans – and then a couple of “minutes” later, the quote of the day:

“The Future is Analogue”

I really believe it’s about loosing or sustaining our analogue human identity. Identity is contextual and one context is the time framework we want to function in. I’d prefer to live in the analogue time context; the way Doug Rushkoff described it: “What do we want: the long now or the short forever?”

This lead to my first “Aha” experience at the event: an experience about identity. As somebody quite active online, I try to be – and believe I am – the same person on-line or off-line. I don’t believe I have a different persona online of off-line. But online, I feel more the need to amplify myself  and my outgoing data streams, and at the same time trying the amplify and maximize the incoming streams of new data. But there is too much info out there, I feel indeed this anxiety to miss out on something. I also sense higher degrees of narcissism on-line, narcissism in the sense of self-amplification and promotion. What does that do with my identity? I think I am pretty the same online as in the real world… But “shaping” my online identity raises deep questions on who I am: as an individual, in a group, in the world at large.

Ron Shevlin @rshevlin, author of Snarketing 2.0 sent out this tweet on 28 Apr 2013:

“If identity is the new money,

schizophrenics have it made.”

It was in this mood of identity reflections when I entered a conversation with another Purplebeach participant: Jefferson Cann from Extraordinary Leadership, a soft-spoken gentleman bringing the topic of intimacy into the debate.

The word “intimacy” worked like a red flag on me. I explained Jeff how I was trying to stabilize/discover/re-discover my identity. His feedback was that he was not sure that one needs to fix/stabilize your identity.

“By fixing, you close yourself for being open to the moment, for the intimacy with the moment. The intimacy of the moment INCLUDES identity, so that the identity can flow, can evolve. In that sense, I hope that your MBTI of 10 years ago is not the same as your MBTI of this year, which would mean you have not evolved.”

This coming together of intimacy and purpose gave lead to my second big insight of the week, the second “Aha” moment.

My readers know that I am sick of the 10 min, 15 min, 18 min pitches and talks. I am hungry for depth, for richness of conversations, for going beyond scratching the surface. One of the reasons why I keep writing these long posts ;-)

The insight was that my hunger for depth is really a hunger for intimacy, the hunger for human connection, also on professional environments.

What does it really mean when a manager tells you: “You know, I am a pragmatic man, two feet on the ground, so can you please pitch me your story in one minute, and at the same time tell me what the ROI for the next 2 years will be?”

I suddenly realized that this famous pragmatism and two-feet-on-the-ground is probably a shield to hide from depth, from intimacy. It is a shield against the present that can even be used in Machiavellic ways to include/exclude people from connection. It’s a deep sign of uncertainty and insecurity, the fear of losing control, fear of human contact, the fear of opening up, the fear people will discover there is no substance, and fearing/knowing you cannot compete on content. It’s the fear of having to acknowledge that your leadership power only comes from your position in the hierarchy and not from who you really are.

As Glenn Llopis recently wrote in Forbes about “The 5 Things Leaders are thinking with not talking about”:

Leaders must find a new sense of maturity within themselves to address and navigate these new workplace issues with greater clarity, focus and intention. Leaders must be more proactive in coming to grips with today’s new normal.   In doing so, they must face their greatest fears head-on and get on with the business at hand.  The marketplace, the workplace and those whom they serve demand it.   Until they do, here are five things leaders are thinking, but not talking enough about: 

  • I don’t have all the answers
  • I have difficulty relating to the younger generation
  • Diversity makes me uncomfortable
  • I am uncertain about the future
  • My leadership skills are not relevant

 

It looks like we are witnessing murder by modernity: murder of the human connectedness through the avoidance of intimacy. It looks like most of us – including our leaders – and not ready from the new normal. We need to send our leaders to “Purplebeaches”, so they find again time to reflect, to enjoy depth, to open up and embrace connections between fellow human beings.

UPDATE: as a real example of synchronicity, Jennifer Sertl just posted this awesome video about being human.

 

Some interesting insights:

  • There is no off/on button for feeling an emotion
  • How are we teaching people what is human vs. what is technical
  • We have to re-enforce the usefulness of being human
  • You can’t take care of yourself if your are at the same time taking care of a tribe
  • Everything you do becomes part of a data piece
  • Playing a higher personal – private – game
  • Our ability to have empathy is impacted by technology

“We are loosing the obvious: what we are loosing is our ability to scenario plan, our ability to gain perspective, our ability to know ourselves, and our ability to empathise. Those four things is what separates us from the gadgets”

Life is not digital. The future is one of analogue connection.

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This post is an extract from my first guest post on WE THE DATA http://wethedata.org/2013/01/08/who-am-i-really/

We The Data

I have always been intrigued by identity. Physical-world-Identity or Digital-Identity. But “digital” is an outdated adjective, used my pre-millennial friend to make the distinction with the world as they used to know it.

Today, it is ONE environment, blurring the contours of who-I-am as a human being in flesh and blood and with my own mind, thoughts, and consciousness. Both my body and my mind are getting increasingly augmented and complemented by tools, by ecology of machines, networks, and algorithms. That ecology of an emergent self-correcting organism was labeled as “The Technium” by mastermind Kevin Kelly.

We probably have to invent a new word for this “one environment of me”: maybe the word “Dysical” – as a contraction of Digital and Physical – could do the job?  But it is more than one word we need. We need a new language, a new vocabulary, a new grammar; new ways to create the sentences and the narrative that can capture this new form of being. And when we have developed basic literacy in this new language, perfect it like art, like literature, like poetry, for deep and rich self-expressions of the “Dysical-me”.

That rich self-expression will needed a new data order, caused by ubiquitous connectivity and an increasingly pervasive computing environment, and generating two massive transformations: the enablement of peer-to-peer relations, and the explosion of data: big data, small data, augmented data, fast data, real-time data, etc.

I believe it is time to start reflecting on a P2P “Data-Economy”. Thanks to the ubiquitous connectivity, nodes in a grid can now interact and share with each other without central body or governance. The emergence of the Bitcoin currency is a typical example how new and probably more robust and resilient currency exchanges are possible without central banks, central governance.

My “Dysical-Self” is also getting more and more defined by my context and reputation in this new P2P data-economy. My identity not any longer simply equals my identity number or my digital certificate or passport. My identity is deeply correlated with my relationships with other people and other nodes in the grid. Trust suddenly gets defined at the level of the relationship, not at the level of identity.

That sort of trust will also be very much related to our reputation. Whether that reputation is as self experienced with our human antennas, deducted by algorithms (Klout, Peerindex, Kred,…) or Socially Vouched (LinkedIn, Connect.me,…)

It will require some form of Cloud Operating System, where our mobile device becomes the remote control of our personal and interoperable Data Clouds.

But one could go on step further, where we think beyond the device. Dhani Sutandto , Senior Digital Art Director and the creator of the Oyster Card Ring recently indeed quoted in PSFK Magazine:

“There will be mobile devices but they will be something that you would wear discreetly, without making you look out of place. Instead of constantly looking down at a screen, people will wear something discreetly. Your interaction with technology won’t
be gone, but it will be seamlessly integrated and we will therefore look up and interact in a human way with one another.”

Indeed, when trillions of devices are inter-connected, we need to think beyond the context of the “device”. Device is no longer the context. We – the “Data-objects” – are the context, are the interface:

“We are the data”

And we – the data – will need a common interface to deal with our Dysical Identity, to deal with Access, Trust and Grid-Literacy.

There is more context on the WE THE DATA web-site http://wethedata.org/2013/01/08/who-am-i-really/ with thanks to Juliette Powell for giving the opportunity to share these ideas on a broader scale.

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This blog post shares some more details about the Digital Asset Grid session. The session Digital Asset Grid will take place on Wednesday 31 Oct 2012 from 16:00 till 17:30 in the Conference Room-3. It is part of the Main Conference sessions of Sibos. The overall Innotribe Program at Sibos here, and I try to keep that post up-to-date with the very latest speaker and program announcements.

I have written extensively about the Digital Asset Grid in previous blog posts. Most recently in Banks-as-a-Platform and the Cambrian Explosion of Everything, all reflections on what it means to live in a hyper-connected world, to be immersed in the digital age.

We swim in a sea of data and the sea level is rising rapidly. Tens of millions of connected people, billions of sensors, trillions of transactions now work to create unimaginable amounts of information. A new environment requiring a lot of adaptability. We are species from the land that have to learn to live in the ocean. Like camels that used to live in the desert, that now have to survive in the ocean.

A new environment requires a new design.

The digital age and making the new design presents both threats and opportunities for Banks:

  • Dis-intermediation and erosion of market share by new entrants, telco’s and dominant technology companies threaten the position of Banks – and are increasing in velocity – reducing margins and profitability.
  • But there are also opportunities: new sources of rich information are multiplying, and the information that is available is being digitised.

Every business is becoming a digital business,

also banks and financial institutions

However, the potential benefits of the explosion in number of nodes and the data volume explosion are being squandered due to low levels of trust, concerns about security, and barriers to monetisation. The Digital Asset Grid has the ambition to tackle these challenges.

The Digital Asset Grid is a research project by Innotribe, SWIFT’s Innovation initiative for enabling collaborative innovation.

The Digital Asset Grid is probably one of the most forward-looking incubation projects of Innotribe.

The project proposes a new infrastructure

for banks to provide a platform

for secure peer-to-peer data sharing

between trusted people, businesses, and devices

The Digital Asset Grid does for data what SWIFT has already done for payments: providing a new scalable global network that supports “digital data banking”, a trusted peer to peer sharing of any digital asset between two or more nodes on the network. Banks existing qualities in management of de-materialized assets (today this is money but tomorrow this will be data), trust, regulatory compliance, market coverage and risk management puts them in a unique position to assume this role.

Indeed, with the Digital Asset Grid, we believe we are setting the direction for creating an internet-scale digital platform for information logistics.

The Digital Asset Grid acts as a digital map which describes:

  • The location of the data,
  • The trust framework governing access,
  • The digital identities who have access to that data, and
  • The usage rights these identities have under trust frameworks.

It overcomes the “data frictions” such as lack of security and trust and enables data to flow, leading to the creation of a low cost eco-system of revenue generating apps & services.

In addition, the Digital Asset Grid leverages SWIFT’s core skills and competences regarding governance, identity, security and operational excellence, establishing thus a global data-sharing platform as ubiquitous and reliable as today’s global banking network.

As part of the research, we wanted to go beyond mere PowerPoint presentation of a concept. What we have done is building an end-to-end prototype, with working applications and a working back-end infrastructure, together with a solid business story that is the result of a consultation with several banks of our community. In addition we produced a “foresight”-video of possible use cases.

Innotribe and its collaboration partners will present this prototype at Sibos on Wednesday 31 October 2012 from 4pm – 5:30pm in Conference Room 3. The session is part of the Main Conference Sessions of Sibos.

What we will show-case is:

  • A very strong opening with a strategy story by Antonio Benjamin – Global Chief Technology Officer & MD Citi GTS/ICG
  • A exciting intro into the changes in the digital data landscape
  • A brand new HD video – in the style of “Flowers for Grandma” and “Fly me to the Moon”, taking you into a not so far future 2013-2014, and showing in life environment of what is possible with current technology and the apps that we have built as part of the prototype.
  • A working prototype of the Digital Asset Grid server, server code and APIs
  • 4 applications illustrating the power of the Digital Asset Grid; some apps are relevant for the retail space, others are more relevant in a B2B context.
  • A compelling Business Story, where the opportunities are categories in three groups:
    • Creating new revenue streams through monetization of existing and new data assets
    • Doing the same better
    • Delivering New Services

But it would not be Innotribe if we added some elements of performance and interactivity. I can’t reveal everything in this blog post, but the staging of this session will include a motorcycle and smoking server.

Also, we will have facilitated breakout sessions to create an immersive learning experience for the audience. In these breakouts you will have the opportunity to get into person-to-person conversation with the developers of the applications and the back-end infrastructure, and the partners who have built the Business Story.

And at the end, Yobie and senior representatives from two other major banks will wrap-up the sessions with some suggestions on the way forward. And we’ll have some other surprises and some very cool announcements, which of course I cannot share now, if not you would not come to the session ;-)

The Digital Asset Grid offers Banks the opportunity to transform their industry, making them and their customers more efficient, generating new value and enabling Banks to launch a range of new services – it is a game changer.

The financial industry has a unique chance to seize this opportunity and position themselves in a very compelling competitive position in a future of real-time information logistics.

I cannot enough emphasise the importance of the Banks-as-a-Platform meme: it means that the value creation moves from the centre to the nodes. The market used to think in monopolistic, silo-ed service providers, that put themselves in the middle of the nodes-universe, leading to non-interoperable silos of data and value creation. By moving from a central to distributed architecture at internet-scale, banks suddenly have the opportunity to be themselves the platform, with SWIFT as a shared beacon of governance and trust.

I believe this is a “good” project. Good for our industry. It comes at the right time and at a tipping point where we see an evolution towards a peer-to-peer economy between trusted nodes in the grid.

It is fantastic that SWIFT – through the Innotribe Incubation Fund – makes this sort of research and experimentation projects possible.

Incubation is in my opinion indeed about “catalysing ideas”: it is about setting waves of thinking into motion, planting seeds in the brain, and getting the chance to develop those ideas in full so that they become foresight scenarios that become in their turn reference points for decision making.

Only when you have some strong foresight scenario/reference in your brain, you can spot and recognise the disruptive change signals from the market and make relevant and inspired decisions on “what would I do if this scenario happens?”

The Digital Asset Grid is one of those foresight scenarios of a catalysed idea, a strong testimony that innovation beyond adjacencies can happen in more traditional environments.

The team has done a great job in depicting the “foresight reference model” of a not-so-far-out possible future. The test for our community will be to validate whether we can rally ourselves to take the foresight model out of its incubation sandbox and move it to the next phase of acceleration and do it for real.

I am very excited to be able to share soon with a wider audience the results of the last couple of months of hard work, and I am very curious to see how and when our industry will seize this opportunity. I feel privileged to witness this turning point, and I am deeply grateful to the team, the customers, and SWIFT who made all this happen.

See you all in Osaka! Wednesday 31 Oct 2012, at 16:00 in Conference Room-3.

By @petervan from the Innotribe team

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“The Cambrian explosion was the relatively rapid appearance of most major animal life forms, accompanied by major diversification of organisms. Before, most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells occasionally organised into colonies. Over the following 70 or 80 million years the rate of evolution accelerated by an order of magnitude and the diversity of life began to resemble that of today.” (Adapted from Wikipedia )

I believe we are witnessing a similar “Cambrian Explosion of everything” in the information technology evolution of the recent years, and we see a relatively rapid appearance of new “life” forms, new building blocks for the way we do business in this hyper-connected economy.

This thought came into my mind when attending recently the Cloud Identity Summit in Vail, Colorado 16-19 July 2012.

Explosion of API’s

During the pre-conference workshops, I had already seen the explosion of a whole set of new authentication methods and digital identity concepts like SAML, OAuth 2.0, OpenID Connect, OIX, Facebook Connect, Google’s Accountholder.com initiative, etc, etc

And then came Craig Burton with a presentation announced as “The future of Authentication” but in essence a variation of his epic talk on “Identity and the API economy”. His full prezi presentation is here. (Disclosure: Craig has been advising us on our Digital Asset Grid research project)

  • If this evolution goes on, we’ll have 30K “open” APIs by 2016
  • But most enterprise API’s are not open, they are kept private, and their growth rate is 5 times that of open API’s. They are also referred to as “Dark API’s”, because you don’t see these species in the open.

Craig then showed some staggering stats of open API’s, the so-called “API Billionaires”

If you do the calculation, this means 150,000 API calls per second for Twitter!

Update: apparently most of these stats come from John Musser @johnmusser from The Programmable Web. Credits are made in Craig’s prezi, but not apparent in my post here. Sorry, John !

Craig believes – and I subscribe – that we will see a very fast evolution where

“everyone and everything will have its API”

And every API needs its identity. Leading to the staggering conclusion that we will need to provision more than 1,000 new identities per second.

In enterprise, one of the more accepted federated identity authentication and authorization standards is SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language). Craig created some consternation by stating, “SAML is dead”, because it is not made for the provisioning of this Cambrian explosion of identities. In essence the SAML model does not scale. For this type of scale, manual provisioning does not work anymore, we need high levels of automation, also at the provisioning level.

Explosion of Nodes

In his Cloud Identity Summit presentation, Craig was focusing on the explosion of number of API’s and the identities they will require.

Let me give another dimension, triggered by the research work we are doing on the Digital Asset Grid: when Craig talks about “everyone and everything will get an API”, I’d like to offer the dimension of “entities” aka “nodes in a grid” that need share data with each other. Those entities can be:

  • Humans
  • Group of humans – a good example is a Google “circle”, it’s a group of people without legal entity and therefore no liabilities associated
  • Companies – another type of groups of people – with legal entity and liability. Note that the liability of a non-profit is different from a commercial organization, from a educational institution, etc
  • But now we also add devices to the mix
  • And programs – pieces of software code – that act on our behalf or independently
  • Services and 3rd parties representing the seller, and 4th parties representing the buyer.
  • And personal and corporate clouds, where persons and corporations will keep the data they want to share in context with all the other entities in this grid of nodes.

And all these entities will get an API and will need to get an identity. It is leading to a “Catastrophic Complexity” unless we find a way to govern our communities differently, less manual, and highly automated.

It was very interesting to see that in the closing plenary of the Summit, Bob Blakley – now Global Head of Information Security at Citigroup – introduced the concept of the “Limited Liability Persona” that you could select as your identity to participate in certain data sharing use-cases. I’d like to emphasise he talks “personas” (plural of persona) and not “persons”. For example using your Limited Liability Persona “1” for getting a bank-account, and Persona “2” for your health transactions, etc.

This multiplication in personas will just add to the number of identities to deal with.

Explosion of Data

Big Data, Small Data, Real-Time Data, Fast Data, etc… I guess you are familiar with the buzzwords. I would like to share some insights that go beyond the generalities heard at most conferences.

Have a look at Avinash Kaushik – Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google – in his fascinating talk at Strata 2012 earlier this year. And especially pay attention as from minute 4:00 where he introduces Donald Rumsfeld as one of the “greatest philosophers when it comes to analytics”:

“Reports say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are the known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know”

And then there is this recent Future of Internet PEW report that opens with:

Big Data: Experts say new forms of information analysis are helping us be more nimble and adaptive, but they worry over humans’ capacity to understand and use new tools well

And in the opening para:

We swim in a sea of data … and the sea level is rising rapidly. Tens of millions of connected people, billions of sensors, trillions of transactions now work to create unimaginable amounts of information. An equivalent amount of data is generated by people simply going about their lives, creating what the McKinsey Global Institute calls “digital exhaust”—data given off as a byproduct of other activities such as their Internet browsing and searching or moving around with their smartphone in their pocket.

“The realisation of dynamic and emergent systems as a natural order will cause people to realize the foolishness of trying to game systems to the Nth degree. We will see the rise of more algorithmic thinking among average people, and the application of increasingly sophisticated algorithms to make sense of large-scale financial, environmental, epidemiological, and other forms of data. Innovations will be lauded as long as they register a blip in the range of large-scale emergent phenomena.”

Explosion of Time

This leads me into one of the coolest presentations I have seen on big data, high frequency trading and the new algorithmic ecosystem by Sean Gourley from Quid.com at TEDxNewWallStreet

Especially watch the section as from minute 9:00 or so, where he lets us discover how machines are doing business in matter of nanoseconds: a world of machines where black-swans almost become the norm!

It is not so much that more time is created, but more some form or time “implosion”, where things happen in milli- and nano-seconds timeframes, an outer-space alien to human beings.

Btw: Sean Gourley will be with us at Innotribe@Sibos Osaka 2012 in the session about The Future of Big and Small Data

Explosion of Mobile

Also repeated over and over again at Cloud Identity Summit by different speakers. Whereas many of the suggested solutions consisted of some form of “identity bridges” or translators if you want, I start to believe we come at a point where also here the existing metaphors and techniques are not adapted to the new paradigm of super-scale.

I have seen so many statistics and data that mobile is big, I prefer to refer to the mother of all internet trends, Mary Meeker who moved last year from Morgan Stanley to Kleiner Perkins Caufield Beyers with her May 2012 update on Internet trends.

As from slide #29, she introduces  the “Re-Imagination of nearly everything”

And closes her presentation with

“This cycle of tech disruption

is materially faster & broader

then prior cycles…”

Explosion of Decentralization

With some delay, I found some time this week to watch Don Tapscott’s talk at  TEDGlobal 2012 where he gets into “the interest of the collective”

Tapscott points out that this is “Not an Information Age, but an Age of Networked Intelligence

And Don Tapscott nails it when he summarised the 4 principles for the open world:

  • Collaboration
  • Transparency
  • Sharing
  • Empowerment

The meta-story underpinning all this, is probably well reflected in the recent essay “The Democratization of Globalization” by Parag Khanna: We are not only moving into the age of Networked Intelligence, but we are also moving into Globalization 5.0 that is characterized by a high level of fragmentation and decentralization.

“Call it Globalization 5.0, the most decentralized form of the phenomenon in history. If succeeding in Globalization 5.0 comes down to exhibiting a single trait, it would be resilience—a decentralized, node-to-node way of doing business, where hundreds or thousands of points of interconnection form a giant web of commerce, information and social good. Those who can demonstrate resilience will adapt and thrive. Those who cling to the old, centralised paradigm do so at their own risk”

I am deeply convinced that the “Cambrian Explosion of Everything” is leading us very fast in a highly fragmented world of heterogeneous entities that are sharing and analysing data at warp speed.

It’s a new world

that will soon require new levels of

governance, security, identity

and community or commons management

Who could be the neutral trusted organisation for the financial industry to deliver us that resilience and trust for the next superfast and hyper-connected data-age?

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On March 11, 2012 Bruce Cahan and team organized TEDxNewWallStreet.

TEDxNewWallStreet was designed to explore moving banking into the Information Age.

In 2009, Marc Andreessen remarked “banking is just information science.” Inspired by Marc’s words, Bruce Cahan and the Team set out to organize TEDxNewWallStreet to explore the empowerment of the new reality – a banking system different than the Industrial Age system we inherited.

  • What if Silicon Valley/SanFrancisco/Pacific Northwest or other technology clusters grew New Wall Streets, on quite different terms than exist in New York?
  • How would they spearhead technology in faster, cheaper, more transparent and accountable ways that contrast with the recent (and recurring) issues of the game as defined and played on old Wall Street?

At that event i did a talk titled “FinOlympics”. We are in the Olympic year 2012 after all, right ?

The talk is a consolidation of my latest thinking on innovation. It is an 18 min story about babies as a metaphor for ideas, sandboxes for experimentation and incubation. The babies story is about the process of innovation. The process is complemented by the soul of innovation: the typical characteristics of innovators and disrupters. That section includes the basics of Corporate Rebels United. The inspiration for that section came at the Sandbox conference in Lisbon in January 2012. The Digital Asset Grid (DAG) is a salient example of a SWIFT Innotribe Incubation project. It is one of the more forward looking projects, where we not only look ahead in time, but also ahead in levels of abstraction and disruption. I condensed my latest thinking on DAG in a post titled “The Programmable Me: we are all nodes in the grid”. At the end of this talk, there is a call for creating an experimentation sandbox for Financial Services in Silicon Valley. You can also check-out the my different Prezi’s on each of these topics here. Enjoy!

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