Last week, I had the privilege to attend the first edition of Techonomy, a fantastic new conference blurring technology and economy with an optimistic balance that technology in its broadest sense (not only IT, but also gnome sequencing, bio-fuels, big history, etc) can be the driving force for a better world.
First enjoy the announcing video below.
The conference was bringing together 3/4 of Silicon Valley’s leadership, including Eric Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Bill Joy, Bill Gates, Steward Brand, Kevin Kelly, John Hagel, Deborah Hopkins (Chairman of Venture Capital Initiatives and Chief Innovation Officer Citi), Nicolas Negroponte, Sean Parker, Padmassree Warrior CTO Cisco), Jeff Weiner (CEO LinkedIn), and the list goes on, and only a couple of non-US leaders such as Nobuyuki Idea (Founder of CEO of Quantum Leaps Corporation, working on innovation, and previous CEO of Sony Corporation), Nellie Kroes (European Commissioner for Digital Agenda), Vineet Nayar (CEO HCL Technologies, India), and Ory Okolloh (Founder/Executive Director Ushahidi, South Africa).
How to describe Techonomy conference ? I would say “a super-TED with a technology focus and with an agenda”.
The agenda is “a new philosophy for progress”.
It’s a movement
Somebody asked “a movement against which enemy, against which barriers ?”.
I believe it is a movement FOR something.
For a better world. Finding techonomic solutions to tackle the global climate challenges, feeding the world, a better health for everybody, a new value kit for the current and next generation, not based on greed but on the concepts of creative capitalism as formulated some years ago by Bill Gates in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foudation.
In that sense, it should not surprise the regular reader of this blog how much this resonated with myself. Not only the personal inspiration, but especially how we with on organization like SWIFT can adopt and promote the techonomist values and objectives.
I also came across some leaders that could be subject of SWIFT’s CSR initiatives. Take Bill Drayton, Leadership Group Member Chair and CEO of Ashoka, the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, men and women with system changing solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems, encouraging everybody to be a changemaker.
It’s impossible to describe the intensity of the content and contacts of these 3 Techonomy days.
- Evolution is incremental. Revolution is disruptive movement
- Collective learning is what makes us human
- The physical economy is sensoring a second economy of conversational plumbing
- As long as we draw boundaries (for ex US vs. China, we against them, etc) we will not be able to solve the world’s problems.
- The economy is NOT recovering, consumer is running out of money
- Governments do not understand globalisation, businesses do.
- Employees first, customers second.
- Promote younger people must faster
- Building and tapping from tacit knowledge will become core skill
- Markets are like gardens: they need tending
- Innovation happens outside the regulated markets
- Banks make money on spread and opacity. They are by definition against transparency
- Currency is “the instrument of trust in a transaction”. Unfortunately the debate focused solely on the payment transaction and money as the trust element.
- Health agenda: from illness fixing to personal health prediction and coaching
- Some technomists are skeptical optimists that do not take progress for granted. One has to make progress. It does not happen.
- Recalibrating our assumption that form our perceptions. For ex we learned that world population will NOT grow indefinitely and probably max around 9 billion, and then go down.
- Innovation at Cisco: Looking at 30 ! adjacencies as a “portfolio” like a Venture Capitalist does.
- Computer Associates CTO: “a lot of leading edge innovation comes from financial services”
- Innovation requires a culture of taking risk and celebrating failure
- Change happens when the DESIRE not to change is greater than the desire to change. The power struggle to make this balance change is based on societal needs.
- Innovation requires 1) Money, 2) Desire, 3) Need
- There is no value in the idea, there is value in its commercialization
- We have a moral obligation of bringing less developed regions up.
- Cities are “intensities” that have a critical mass of people
- In a city-“OS”, no one single company can dominate. It has to be open source by definition.
- Generation-Y or whatever: you need the backing of 18 year olds. That’s “youth”. 25 years+ does not quite get it.
- Companies scale like biology, and in the end they die. Cities scale like networks, and do not die. The city is the framework model for the future.
- In the developed world, a disruptive innovation is something that can create the biggest disruption. In the developing world, innovation is a technology that is simple, reliable, and that can function as an integrated unit.
- Success in mobile in Afghanistan is because there was no legacy. They are willing to take the risk to jump to the next curve.
- The future is for (techonomist) entrepreneurs that are willing to work together.
The conference is so good. It cries for a European and an Asian chapter. Any European Leader should not hesitate a second to be associated with and sponsor it.
I was dreaming of hosting a European chapter of Techonomy at the fantastic SWIFT Headquarters south of Brussels.
El Jefe, do you hear me ?