Newsletter NOVEMBER 2014 Vol. 2 Issue 10

Big data + Big networks= Big changes

 

AS THE WORLD BECOMES EVER MORE CONNECTED, AS PEOPLE NETWORK AND AS QUALITY OF DATA IMPROVES IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS OF HUMANITY WILL TAKE A STEP BACK AND START TO GRASP ANOTHER REALITY? THERE ARE SIGNALS THAT THIS MAY BE ABOUT TO HAPPEN.

Signals: from being seen as nothing more than an advanced adding machine, the computer and the digitization it makes possible have offered multi dimensions of new possibilities. But is the “killer app” yet to be invented? Are we just not still digitizing last-century business models? Is society only just waking up to the possibilities its wireless, networked, big data society offers? Signals show that mobile devices connected to big data can indeed mean significant changes to how we farm, and that just by looking at big data we can start to grasp insights previously out of reach. The consequences are huge, and present a real challenge to policy makers and leaders as well as opportunities to entrepreneurs.

Comment.

The links below point to big data being collected and used, and big networks forming in ways that will challenge the fundamentals of how we manage society and run our businesses. The wise leader would do well to follow these signals.

SUPPORTING LINKS

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/11/monsanto-big-data-gmo-climate-change

Monsanto has recently acquired a giant within big data, and is providing farmers with a mobile app that combines data from weather forecasts with modeling microclimate conditions to show when and where to plant. Fields in the US have been mapped to a 10 by 10 meter resolution. A crop chemical company becomes a big data company too.

http://techcrunch.com/2014/06/20/satellogic-launch/

A new start-up is launching a series of satellites so small they take a fraction of the energy of conventional satellites to launch.  Using an open interface people can create their own applications using the data to deliver a wide range of services – some we have not even thought of yet. Viewing the planet in this way can open up completely new ways to take care of the Earth.

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/

Maybe the shift in understanding started with the photos of the Earth from space. What had been a theory back in the 1500s we could see with our own eyes that one planet, we have one planet, and that’s all we have.

http://ipcc.ch/report/ar5/index.shtml

After years of sifting through data, modelling and following actual trends scientists are confident that human activity is affecting the climate system. Had we not had big data and the big netwrok of scientists involved we had probably never come to this conclusion. We have reached a point where all of us feel responsibility for the planet, the arguments are logical and persuasive.

Modelling human networks

http://www.ted.com/talks/nicholas_christakis_the_hidden_influence_of_social_networks#

Data crunching capability makes it possible to see who is talking to whom about various subjects, even giving us the ability to study human behavior online. This links goes to the TED talk of Nicholas Christakis

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/12/capitalism-isnt-working-thomas-piketty

Indeed, there is a possibility that number-crunching economists will be able to sift through terabytes of historical data to challenge even the most cherished beliefs about human nature and economics. This is what Thomas Piketty did.

http://stephenhinton.org/2014/11/25/is-big-data-and-the-big-network-helping-humanity-reach-new-heights/

The blog on stephenhinton.org argues that by using big data to create an overall picture, people can form an understanding by stepping back and considering what they have seen, and then go on to form large networks to create the change they want to see

http://tssef.se/?p=469

Alternative economic policy think tanks like the Swedish Sustainable Economy Foundation are saying that as everything in the economy is digitized, and information about sales, unemployment, benefit costs etc is available real-time, it might be better to steer the economy based on how it is actually performing rather than using monetary measure points alone.

They are proposing a real-time monitoring of the economy connected to flexible steering mechanisms and a good deal of room to maneuver to market forces. The Foundation believes market forces need to be given clear boundaries within which to operate, but be left alone to solve problems.

 

Arrange a simulation session to learn more about how big data on real performance, rather than relying on money measurements alone, can create the circular, high performing economy.

http://stephenhinton.org/2014/08/15/1790/

To illustrate their principles, the Foundation TSSEF is offering, together with Stephen Hinton Consulting,  to run a simulation set up as a management game. They promise everyone will gain at least one or two insights  from simulating the economy.

http://stephenhinton.org/contact/

Contact us to discuss simulations of economic policy or how we can facilitate dialogues around how to handle big data big network issues and opportunities in your organization.

 

Newsletter OCTOBER 2014 Vol. 2 Issue 9. KEEP FOCUS ON OIL, DESIGN IT OUT IN TIME

Time is running out to design organisations that function in an oil constrained world

THIS TIME, FALLING OIL PRICES ARE NOT AN INVITATION TO PARTY ON CHEAP ENERGY. THEY ARE A SIGNAL TO INCREASE THE PACE OF TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY SOCIETY.
Signals: Falling oil prices could be a sign that a recession is on its way. And in a recession it can be hard to find the investment capital to do what needs to be done before the recession eases: invest in the new, renewable economy. Ironic. When times are good, everyone wants to invest in fossil fuels. When times are bad investing in renewables is out of the question. This has to change. And governments and economists want to move the change along with carbon taxes. Whole business models must change. At the right time, of course.

Newsletter SEPTEMBER 2014 Vol. 2 Issue 8 EVERYTHING IS CHANGED

Climate change will force us to ditch old paradigms. Enterprise will go on even if capitalism doesn’t.

REPORTER AND AUTHOR NAOMI KLEIN RELEASES HER BOOK This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate NAMING THAT CHERISHED PARADIGMS ARE BREAKING AS CLIMATE CHANGE ADVANCES AND THE PERFORMANCE OF CAPITALISM LOOKS EVER MORE SHODDY AS A WAY TO PROVIDE ESSENTIALS TO HUMANITY
Signals: Sooner or later the things we have been ignoring, brushing under the carpet, get named by brave individuals. Once a voice with enough authority and context gives it a name, it has to be dealt with. Naomi Klein, a brilliant reporter and sharp mind does just this in her new book.As she states clearly: Capitalism, since it was unshackled by the deregulation of the 1980s, has widened the gap between rich and poor. The top 3% held 55% of all wealth last year, up from 45% in 1989. The bottom 90% controlled 24.7% of wealth, according to statistics released this month by the Federal Reserve. The book represents a new wave of signals – bringing leaders, policy makers, thinkers and householders to confront cherished beliefs. 

Newsletter AUGUST 2014 Vol. 2 Issue 7 The funnel, the game change and the dialogue.

Searching for ways to reflect on leadership challenges

HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THE NEED TO ADAPT NOT JUST OUR CORPORATIONS, BUT OUR WAY OF SEEING THINGS? THIS IS THE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE SIGNALS TAKES ON AS EUROPE TAKES ITS SUMMER VACATIONS.
Signals: Thinking about the way we think was once popular in strategic circles. No so much anymore. However, at least we question our assumptions more, thanks to the rise of great minds like Peter Senge http://executive.mit.edu/faculty/profile/30-peter-senge and Donella Meadows http://www.donellameadows.org/. We need to sit back and reflect. The signals we are seeing tell us that the collision course with nature we are all bound on will be the trainwreck of the century, and the solutions we need to look for are not on the level of changing light bulbs, but in the very way we perceive the world. We need to redefine what we mean by growth, how we see the economy and how we as strategists advise the organisations we work for.

Newsletter JULY 2014 Vol. 2 Issue 6 Land, Lives and Peace Special

STEPPING ASIDE FROM OUR NORMAL PRACTICE OF OFFERING EVIDENCE FROM THE MEDIA REPORTS, THIS ISSUE REPORTS FROM THE CONFERENCE ON LAND, LIVES AND PEACE RECENTLY HELD IN SWITZERLAND. WE AIM TO DRAW THE ESSENCE FROM THE MANY WORKSHOPS, KEYNOTE SPEECHES AND INFORMAL DIALOGUES THAT MADE UP THIS IN-DEPTH GLOBAL CONFERENCE. WE END WITH A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF CONSEQUENCES FOR STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT.

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Signals: Internationally we are facing a true predicament: the wider community of practice encompassing military, security, food security, land issues and development planning has amassed a huge amount of data and insight into the immediate risks humanity faces. Simple basics like the access to land and looking after land so it can provide food and other basic functions are lacking. At the same time, a deep frustration is expressed by the community in the apparent lack of a collective awareness and ability to address these very practical needs. It is as if we are living in a culture of predicament, standing shocked and scared unable to move.

Special Webinar offer to readers of Signals

Dear Signals subscriber.
We invite you to a webinar following up the Energy Scenarios covered in previous newsletters.
You may remember the energy supply signals we commented on in the newsletter from May.

Signals:  Whilst countries are crafting fossil fuel descent trajectories, the special role that energy plays in the economy means that you cannot just unplug the economy from its fossil fuel life support, and hope. Energy might not even comply with the laws of supply and demand.

Newsletter JUNE 2014 Vol. 2 Issue 5 Food and Water Security Special

SIGNALS ARE COMING IN THAT PERMANENT CHANGE IN THE CLIMATE SYSTEM IS UNDERWAY.  THIS IS PRESENTING THE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE OF THE CENTURY. SOME ARE CALLING ON CORPORATIONS TO TAKE THE LEAD, OTHERS ARE LOOKING TO FIND WAYS TO ADAPT AND ACCEPT. MEDIA IS COMING UNDER FIRE FOR NOT REPORTING ACCURATELY.

Signals: The climate system has changed permanently, energy supply is going to be tougher than many have imagined; both will impact food security. As argued by the Water and Food Award, that will undermine markets and all businesses will be affected. Corporations can realign their missions to include water and food security. Indeed, as some have commented, it may only be corporations that have the wherewithal to lead the change although as the finalists in this year’s Water and Food Award demonstrate, it is grass roots initiatives just now that are leading the way.

Comment.  This food and water special highlights the Water and Food Award in London the 18th June. See the links below to get further insight into the important issues they are addressing, and the opportunities for far –sighted corporations to get involved. Further down we provide links to comments on the various strategies we are seeing emerging as well as supporting links to the challenges to food security.

Supporting links.

The recent IPCC report

http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg2/

The IPCC analysis of food security impact

All aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change, including food access, utilization, and
price stability (high confidence).

http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap7_FGDall.pdf

Comments on the significance of the report

http://billmoyers.com/2014/03/31/five-key-takeaways-from-the-frightening-ipcc-climate-change-report/

The guardian’s take on the IPCC report and consequences for food security

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/31/climate-change-threat-food-security-humankind

A slight change in climate could make our food “hollow of nutrients”

http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/05/co2-producing-hollow-food/

A Fast Company article on how corporations can change the world

http://www.fastcompany.com/3026264/leadership-now/want-to-change-the-world-join-a-corporation

Oxfam calls for large corporations to make the stand

http://grist.org/food/the-bottom-line-is-why-big-food-should-take-a-stand-on-climate?

Blog article explains  how corporations can rise up the food and water ladder

http://stephenhinton.org/2014/05/23/csr-means-contributing-to-a-world-where-everyone-is-fed/

A world with everyone fed turning CSR strategy to food security: The Humanitarian Water and Food Award is challenging corporations to put food security at the heart of their CSR strategy. They will present five finalists and choose a winner at their prestigious Event in central London on the 18th June. http://www.wafaward.org/#!london-2014/ct1m

Going from business as usual to business as putting food on the table is the strategy for the future, argues the Water and Food Award.

This recording of a recent short webinar explains the main outlines. http://csrwebinars.avbp.net/?p=204

 Media

Media is called out on TV for biased climate reporting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjuGCJJUGsg with John Oliver

Government

Blogger Dave Pollard explains how changing climate could mean the end of big government

http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2014/05/28/the-end-of-central-governments/

Antarctic changes studied (new article in Science)

Thwaites Glacier studies show change to be permanent

http://phys.org/news/2014-05-west-antarctic-ice-sheet-collapse.html

READ MORE ABOUT THE AWARD HERE

http://www.wafaward.org/#!london-2014/c23sr

 

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Newsletter MAY 2014 Vol. 2 Issue 4 Balancing energy supply, environment and business risks on the slope

SEEING MOST BOARDS AND MANAGEMENT TEAMS ARE CONVINCED THAT COUNTER -SUSTAINABILITY AS A STRATEGY IS NOT AN OPTION, SIGNALS IS OBSERVING THAT THE NEXT CHALLENGE, DOING THE RIGHT THING AT THE RIGHT TIME TO THRIVE IN A DOWNWARD ENERGY TRAJECTORY, IS DEMANDING LEADERS  FIND THE CONVICTION, COURAGE AND STAYING POWER TO CRAFT A STRATEGY TO TAKE THEIR ORGANISATIONS THROUGH THESE STORMY WATERS.

Signals: As signals roll in that being environmental is leading to healthy profits, the downsides of the industrial growth legacy( including climate change, inequalities and food provision shortfalls) are catching us up. Whilst countries are crafting fossil fuel descent trajectories, the special role that energy plays in the economy means that you cannot just unplug the economy from its fossil fuel life support, and hope. Energy might not even comply with the laws of supply and demand.

Newsletter APRIL 2014 Vol. 2 Issue 3 Pushing the Risk envelope too far

IT SEEMS LIKE WE ARE DEVELOPING A  CULTURE OF TAKING INCREASINGLY HIGHER RISKS IN THE BUSINESS AND IN PUBLIC SECTORS. SIGNALS  SPECULATES THAT WHAT IS DRIVING THIS TREND IS THE NEED FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH IN A WORLD OF INCREASINGLY SCARCE RESOURCES. WE URGE LEADERS ENSURE THEIR ORGANISATIONS  REMAIN VIGILANT TO AVOID DEVELOPING A CULTURE OF INAPPROPRIATE RISK TAKING. DESPITE THE APPARENT OPENNESS OF INFORMATION VIA THE INTERNET, WE CANNOT RELY ON MEDIA TO BRING A DEBATE OF THESE RISKS TO THE FOREFRONT.

Signals: Large gains in productivity may come from genetic engineering of food crops. But there is a dialogue going on that is questioning if we have the tools to deal with this level of risk taking. The same could be said for fossil fuels. On the one hand huge benefits for mankind but the risks are on a level far higher than the industrializing world has grasped during the last century. The same goes for nuclear power.