Reposted from the World Congress on Information Technology’s newsletter. WCIT 2012 is from October 22-24 in Montreal.
Don Tapscott is one of the world’s leading authorities on innovation, media, globalization and the economic and social impact of technology on business and society. He is also an adjunct professor of management at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and CEO of the Tapscott Group. An author of 14 books about technology in business and society – the most recent, with Anthony D. Williams, Macrowikinomics – he currently leads a project in partnership with the World Economic Forum on new networked models of global problem-solving. When Don is not being a cyber-guru you might find him playing keyboards in Toronto-based band, Men in Suits.
From your perspective, why is WCIT 2012 important?
It’s important for leaders in ICT to come together periodically to review the state of things. And this is particularly important right now because the internet is enabling profound changes in the world. The current global economic crisis is not just cyclical, but rather symptomatic of a deeper secular change. There is growing evidence that we need to rethink and rebuild many of the organizations and institutions that have served us well for decades, but now have come to the end of their lifecycle.
At the same time the contours of new enterprises and industries are becoming clear. With the social web, mobility, cloud computing and the rest of the digital revolution, society has at its disposal the most powerful platform ever for bringing together the people, skills and knowledge we need to ensure growth, social development and a just and sustainable world. And all around the world the first generation that has “grown up digital” are entering the workforce and becoming citizens. These “digital natives” are a powerful force for change.
So WCIT 2012 is occurring at a time when people everywhere are collaborating like never before. From education and science to new approaches for citizen engagement and democracy, sparkling new initiatives are underway, embracing a new set of principles for the 21st century — collaboration, openness, sharing, interdependence and integrity.
What are the benefits of having WCIT 2012 in Canada?
Well for all those people suffering from hot climates, it’ll be nice for them to get some fresh Canadian air. And Montreal is a truly wonderful city and Quebec and Canada is a very open and welcoming country. We’ve also got some big brainpower that’s been helping to organize the event.
How is Canada doing in terms of making use of the benefits of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)?
Pretty well…It’s never good enough as far as I’m concerned but telecommunications has always been important to Canada because of our vast geography so Canadians have had to be innovators and leaders in ICT.
What needs to be done to capitalize on the output of WCIT 2012?
It’s an amazing program with a great cross section of world’s leading thinkers and practitioners. Countries and companies should be sending strong teams to WCIT 2012 so that they can collectively experience the event. I’ll also be doing a daily TV broadcast on the WEB about the results of each day. There will be many follow on activities to help organizations execute on the learnings at the event.
What are the global challenges when it comes to ICT?
The biggest challenge is not technological in nature but rather in transforming our enterprises and institutions through technology. Having said that, there are many tough technical issues. With the new technology, in particular cloud computing, every organization needs to rethink its ICT architecture and find ways to migrate to the new paradigm in computing. This requires strong technical and business leadership. As such it’s a great time to be a CIO or IT manager. Sure the consequences of not getting it right are huge, but I don’t think there has ever been more fun to be had.