shift 2020 Brain Food Rudy De Waele

Shift 2020 Brain Food #9 – #futurism #IoT #robotics #AI #futureofwork #vw #iotshifts #startups

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iotshifts conference barcelona

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Welcome to shift 2020 Brain Food #9 newsletter with insights and links to must read articles on digital transformation changing our world in business and society, carefully curated by yours truly.

I’m delighted and grateful to be able to do what I love and share these wonderful stories and knowledge with you. How about you?


We’re two weeks away from the IoT Shifts Conference in Barcelona for which we have a special reader discount (see below). If you haven’t made up your mind yet whether you should attend, check out the full program and speakers attending.

IoT Shifts Highlights
The event will kick-off with a keynote by Matthew Davis, Product Director, Experience Innovation @ Nike and a following panel discussion on Health & Fitness (Quantified Self & mHealth) with Christian Lindholm (KoruLab), Kwame Ferreira (Kwamecorp) and Sergio Mottola (Huwe) moderated by Denise Silber (Doctors 2.0).

The next session will map the IoT Developer and Platform Landscape with latest data from VisionMobile, and an exclusive new launch by the The Things Network from Amsterdam.

Following a Future Outlook session with heavyweights from Ericsson, Orange, Alcatel-Lucent and newcomers Sigfox and Libelium.

The afternoon kicks off with the latest research and visions for Connected Transport (BMW) and aviation (Sita Lab) followed by a session on IoT design fiction, value and touch with Near Future Laboratory, Creative Innovation Works and

The next session explores if IoT will enhance us into Smart, Augmented and Empowered Citizens? With smart views, experiences and insights from Han Pham, Volker Hirsch and Esteve Almirall from the ESADE Center for Innovation in Cities.

For the closing sessions, we asked expert Javier Creus (Pentagrowth) to give us an overview of exciting New Business Models currently applied in IoT, followed by a panel discussion on How to build an IoT business? Startupbootcamp IoT curates this last session & Data, including pitches by Zolertia, The Social Coin and Datumize, moderated by Aldo de Jong – Co-founder at Claro Partners.

Our house philosopher, Humberto Schwab, will spice-up all sessions and discussions with some extra brain stimuli.

On day 2, we’ve got plenty of workshop directions include sessions by startups Nuwe, Libelium,, FabLab, Sigfox, Claro Partners, Strategy Sherpa and the ever-surprising Dignified Self.


I’m giving away 2 FREE tickets this week to readers who can point me out to the best article on IoT you’ve read so far. Just reply to this email to send your url. The quality choice is entirely mine =8-) I will include the best suggestions in the next newsletter edition.

For other readers, I have 10 tickets with a 50% discount. Use the VIP_shift2020 code or usethis direct link to benefit from this unique promotion.

Thanks to IoT Council, Barcinno, MobileGroove, Ubergizmo, M2M Now, Smart Insights, IoT Meetup BCN, betahaus and Barcelona Loves Entrepreneurs for being such wonderful partners!

IoT Shifts Transformation Retreat

We’ve got two seats left to attend the IoT Shifts Transformation Retreat the days before the conference using the Socratic Design method led by philosopher, Humberto Schwab. Join this unique and rare opportunity to gain coaching, industry insights and IoT knowledge that can assist your business growth and personal development at a beautiful luxury 5-star resort in the Peralada (near Girona) in the north east of Spain. It will be a small group of about 15 CEOs, CTO/CIOs and strategists, IoT startups and leading thinkers in the cross-sections of IoT and Experience.

If you’d like to book one of these two seats left, ping me.

Hope to see you there!

Onwards now with some of the best links I read this week, interesting enough to share with you.

IoT Reports
The earlier in this newsletter mentioned McKinsey Global Institute report, “Internet of Things: Mapping the value beyond the hype” states that the current hype may actually understate the full potential of the IoT: “Capturing economic value will require an understanding of where real value can be created and a successful effort to address a set of systems issues, including interoperability.”

You also may want to read the reports from Accenture and Deloitte on this subject. Great stuff!

The Smartest Building in the World
It knows where you live. It knows what car you drive. It knows who you’re meeting with today and how much sugar you take in your coffee. (At least it will, after the next software update.) This is quite possibly the smartest office space ever constructed.

Entering the building, the app (developed with the building’s main tenant, consulting firm Deloitte) finds you a desk. Because at the Edge, you don’t have one. No one does. Workspaces are based on your schedule: sitting desk, standing desk, work booth, meeting room, balcony seat, or “concentration room.” Wherever you go, the app knows your preferences for light and temperature, and it tweaks the environment accordingly.

Check out the video.

“What is a futurist?”
According Gray Scott, it’s about using current scientific research in emerging technologies to imagine how we will live in the future. Here are Seven Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World Forever he’s been thinking about. I go with 1, 2, 3 and 6.

(Image ©

Why Futurism Has a Cultural Blind spot
I often start my presentations looking back at how we used to predict the future a couple of decades ago and compare that to what is there out now. It’s mostly disappointing to be honest.
Here’s a nice story by Tom Vanderbilt making the same point looking ahead, showing us that the future was not quite as advanced as we thought it would be, nor did it come as quickly… from a time capsule perspective. The past, meanwhile, turns out to not be as radically distinct as we thought.

Religion could be influencing the course of human evolution; atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins said in an interview published this week: “Well, I suppose that if there is a meme that says don’t use contraception or don’t use contraception that works, then that does tend to affect gene propagation, obviously. So that’s the kind of thing that might be going on. But remember that genetic evolution is a very slow process… compared to culture evolution, so we are dealing with two rather disjointed timescales here.”

Watch the Wall Street Journal’s video interview with Richard Dawkins.

The VW scandal

(Image © The Economist) 

You probably have read loads on this topic already but I’d like to include some must read articles and emphasise why this story is so important for future business: brands can’t afford anymore to play dirty in a global society dominated by the instant and social media influence. Stories like the VW scandal have hit Volkswagen hard financially (stock down by + 30%) and the company image has been damaged for quite some time. It’ll take time to recover from this one.

So, could the Volkswagen scandal power an electric car breakthrough? By subsidising diesel, Europe has slowed the transition to hybrids and electric cars. With diesel’s future in doubt, their moment may have come.

The move from fossil fuel to renewable energy is happening, it’ll take some time but we have to make the transition at some point, the sooner, the better. No time to waste!

Read also “Dirty secrets: Volkswagen’s falsification of pollution tests opens the door to a very different car industry” in The Economist. The damage to VW itself is immense. But the events of last week will affect other carmakers, other countries and the future of diesel itself.

Problems at Volkswagen Start in the Boardroom
Whether the company’s insular corporate structure gives it the flexibility to manage successfully through the scandal remains to be seen. Given the serious financial and reputational damage, the long-term survival of Volkswagen is a real question. Professor Elson says he believes the company won’t disappear: “A board like this doesn’t give investors a lot of confidence,” he said.“They’ll get through this eventually, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the German government ends up having to bail them out.”

In the new economy, Volkswagens competitors might look entirely different in a couple of years and will likely include Apple, Google, Tesla and Uber. And their cars won’t run on diesel!

“Being first isn’t always best. Before Facebook went wide, there was MySpace. HD DVDs beat Blu-Ray discs to the market by a few months, but ended up being abandoned by the company that created them. Tesla has the first electric cars that are both desirable and well built—the recent Model S variant broke Consumer Reports’ rating system—and CEO Elon Musk plans to bring electric cars to the mass market. But it may not be the company to achieve that goal. Apple is reportedly ramping up its electric car team, and Google is plugging away with its self-driving car program. At the same time, almost every established car brand is working on (or has) an electric car. Could Tesla end up being another early market leader that ends up as a footnote in a rival’s history of success?”

A real-life astronaut reviews the Matt Damon film “The Martian”. Written by astronaut Clayton Anderson.


The Internet is eating your memory, but something better is taking its place
“If we can now remember more with a little help from our technology friends, that is arguably a great step forward. Rather than worrying about what we have lost, perhaps we need to focus on what we have gained.”

Man fitted with robotic hand wired directly into his brain can ‘feel’ again
Advanced prosthetic allows paralysed man to control movements and register when the robotic hand is touched.

Trans humanism not real? Anyone?

The Choice Ahead Regarding Digital Technology by John Hagel
“It will be up to us to ultimately determine how we use that digital technology. Will we use it to narrowly squeeze out all inefficiency in the work we do? Or will we use it to catalyse and amplify the imagination that makes us uniquely human and that could identify entirely new avenues to create fundamentally new sources of value?”

Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.
This is our moment to acknowledge the unintended consequences of the technologies to which we are vulnerable, but also to respect the resilience that has always been ours. We have time to make corrections and remember who we are — creatures of history, of deep psychology, of complex relationships, of conversations, artless, risky and face-to-face.

Future of Work
According to a 2012 Gallup poll, 52% of employees are not engaged at work, and another 18 percent are actively disengaged.

The Research Is Clear: Long Hours Backfire for People and for Companies
Excellent article on HBR on recent research into the productivity results on working longer hours: “In a study by Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, managers could not tell the difference between employees who actually worked 80 hours a week and those who just pretended to.“

Are you’re going to build your teams in the future analysing them with metrics or build teams bonded by purpose, passion and excitement for solving problems?

In line with a talk I did recently at HRMExpo on “Reshaping work in the digital age”, David Siegelargues that a new model of the company is emerging, and culture is at the heart of this revolution. The big challenge for large corporations is that companies need to move from the factory model to the laboratory model. At Undercurrent, they call it the Responsive Organization. Their CEO Aaron Dignan gives an inspiring overview in his essay on the new operating system of business.

The eight-hour workday hasn’t changed much since Henry Ford first experimented with it for factory workers. Now, Americans work slightly longer—an average 8.7 hours—though more time goes into email, meetings, and Facebook than whatever our official job duties actually are. Is it time to rethink how many hours we spend at the office?

Why Sweden Is Shifting To A 6-Hour Workday

The era of cheap labour is over by Paul Mason

The flip side of our algorithm future is that we will all be turking for these algorithms.

16 More Startup Metrics
A few weeks ago, Jeff Jordan, Anu Hariharan, Frank Chen shared some key startup metrics (16 of them, to be exact) that help investors gauge the health of a business when investing in it. But good metrics aren’t just about raising money from VCs … they’re about running the business in a way where founders can know how — and why — certain things are working (or not), and then address them accordingly. In other words, these metrics aren’t just for pitching but for discussing in subsequent board meetings, quarterly updates, and management meetings. As one reader shared: “Drive with them, don’t just ‘report’ them”.

The Real Reason Quirky Failed
Excellent analysis by Ben Einstein from Bolt why Quirky went busted last week.

Alfred pairs busy individuals (aka you) with organized, knowledgeable, intuitive people who handle all of life’s necessities: from groceries and dry cleaning, to tailoring and sending packages. Alfred is an automatic, hands-off service that hums along quietly in the background of your life – so you can be free to live yours.

Hired is the first two-sided marketplace created specifically for Engineers, Data Scientists, Designers and Product Managers who are overwhelmed with job opportunities. The marketplace where tech companies compete to hire you. Brilliant idea and execution!

That’s it for this week. Feel free to pass this newsletter around to your friends and colleagues interested. You can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here.

You can read the previous editions of this newsletter here.

Be kind to yourself and your loved ones.

Have a great weekend!


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