Posts Tagged ‘Sustainability’

6 Themes for IT’s Future

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Wow, time flies.  It’s been a busy and slightly ugly Summer, but enough of that, it’s finally time for us to bring you the presentation I made at this year’s Architect Insight Conference back in May of 2009.   A particularly important event for me as it marked the first public release of the 6 key themes we’ve been working on for the last 12 months or so.

This presentation walks you through the 6 key themes that are the foundation of all of the challenges (and opportunities) we face in helping move the value of technology in our society even further forward and why, in some cases, our initial perceptions of them are not always correct.

Sit back (remind yourself what Summers _used_ to be like) and enjoy…

You can download the webcast here (right click and “save as”) or click here to subscribe to the Envisioners podcasts on iTunes.

Towards the Digital State

Monday, April 20th, 2009

A colleague (Jerry Fishenden) has been working on one of the most complex challenges we face – ensuring a proper, balanced understanding of the potential for technology in a modern society.

Digital StateThis sounds simple, but let me tell you it isn’t.  This is about trying to get policymakers to think beyond today’s headlines but more importantly about imbuing technology in everything we do.  Jerry’s made a great start on the journey and his first draft provides some focus for the first of the key elements – Health and Education. You can join the debate and download the document here…

I’ve been talking with Jerry over the past few months about this initiative and in particular have been discussing more around some other key areas of focus around Sustainability, Transportation and the Built Environment.

As a starter for this conversation let’s jump on the Sustainability bandwagon, (why not? everyone else has…) but in all seriousness, I am getting pretty concerned that the general view of Sustainability and the Environment is so narrow (i.e. only CO2 emissions), I think we run a significant risk of getting this disastrously wrong.

It is imperative that society takes a systemic view to the overall impact of their activities (work and play) on the environment, and in order to achieve this, we need to provide a way for individuals and organisations to have a much better sense on the impact they are having.

That systemic approach however, will be difficult for many to comprehend – it needs to massively broaden our understanding of the components of the problem such that we can start to think about how elements like, clean water, electrical power, heating, cooling, compaction of waste, use of CO2 for food/fuel production not to mention the role for micro-biology and nano technology all have a part to play in both the problem and the solution. If we are able to do this, I think we may be in a much better position to spot key opportunities for example – community (or even domestic) based micro-generation such that policy makers can start to devise appropriate incentives and funding/payback models to enable their adoption.

Technology has a fundamental role to play in helping a modern society achieve it’s sustainability goals, but we”re not going to get there by talking about “virtualisation” and power saving “features” (see also IT Sustainability Impact post)

There’ll be more to follow on this and other key topics in Jerry’s Digital “Manifesto” – be sure to keep any eye on Jerry’s blog…

IT Sustainability Pop Quiz

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

IT Sustainability Pop Quiz

You know, I just love this slide, but sometimes I wish I’d think more before wheeling it out.  I presented this last week to our National Railway provider and didn’t think for a minute about how their electricity bill “slightly” skewed the answer.    Lucky for me they humoured me and let me get on with the rest of the conversation.

Anyhow, there it is folks, stop worrying about virtualisation and power saving PC’s – start worrying about how to transform the 98%…

6 Themes for Comtemplation

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

The catalyst for the birth of “The Envisioners” was the emergence of 6 key themes that seem to be effecting everything we do with IT today (and why mostly, our understanding of these issues is not as it should be).  What better a way to start this blog than with an overview of these themes as they form the foundation of the work The Envisioners do, and will be core areas of focus as we continue along this journey of discovery, helping us all reach a better understanding of the true value of IT in a modern society.

We’ll be coming back to each of these in much greater detail over the coming weeks, but for now let’s get to meet them:

Cost Reduction
costreductionMore than just today’s bandwagon, the current state of the global economy offers a real force for change. It is absolutely vital we understand how to harness this to our advantage rather than treating it as a constraint to progress. Being respectful that the current economic crisis has a devastating effect on many people’s lives, we need to be bold enough to avoid the mistakes that “easy” answers for cost reduction will bring – we’ll be looking at examples that help to unpick how we can make the biggest difference without sacrificing our future.


Yesterday’s news? No, I thought not, but as with Cost Reduction, this is a considerable force for change that we need to understand properly before we can figure out the best way for us have the biggest impact. Please, this is _not_ a discussion about bottled water and virtualised data centres, this is about how we identify and embrace the systemic change that is required if we are to make a real difference in our own lifetimes.

Security & PrivacySecurity & Privacy
No broad discussion about technology would be complete without a conversation around security and privacy, this one however, is focused on how we need to understand more about the evolving boundaries of privacy and the changing way in which we need to think and apply security principles in all that we do. Like it or not, this is going to require some really difficult conversations about our definition of “risk”, but these are conversations we can no longer choose to ignore.

Like it or not, the world is changing around us. Technology is (or has) become a pervasive part of most peoples lives and is no longer the “special” thing it was when I was a lad. This is big, treat IT as something special and “complicated” and you will fail. Why? Because no-one really cares anymore – it just has to work and we as individuals just have to get on with making it work. Don’t believe me? Ask your kids.

As individuals, we are incredibly resilient, we cope with significant change every day and mostly without blinking. There’s something about the work environment that changes this and we need to understand why. Why is it that we resist change so much at work when at home we just suck it up and move on. Ultimately, the more agile we are (as individuals and organisations) the greater our chances of success.

Innovation ManagementInnovation
All of the other themes point towards the need and drivers for transformation in both our personal and professional lives and innovation is the only way we can make that transition happen. But most people will tell you that having the ideas is actually the easy thing, it’s doing something with them that’s the difficult bit. Above all things managing Innovation effectively is the most critical thing for your success in the future, we’ll be looking into how other organisations approach this problem and offering ideas (and asking for yours!) on how it can be done to best effect in any given situation.