In this Digital Age, technology has become the foundation for a new economy: the Digital Economy. The last 20 years has taken a giant leap in networked intelligence, resulting in the growth of new species of businesses that offer both promise and peril.
The following are examples of speeches Don has given on the topic of the Digital Age.
Blockchain Revolution
The technology likely to have the greatest impact on the enterprise and the global economy has arrived, and it’s not big data, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars or solar energy. It’s the Blockchain. The first generation of the digital revolution brought us the Internet of information. The second generation—powered by blockchain technology—is bringing us the Internet of value: a new, distributed platform that can help us reshape the world of business and transform the old order of human affairs for the better.

Don Tapscott argues that blockchain technology will transform financial services, but also the deep architecture of the corporation, animate the internet of things, recast the role of government, and fix the music industry, among others. He argues that the second era of the internet has profound implications for competitiveness, business strategy, architecture, and leadership.

The Digital Economy

Rethinking Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence

When Don Tapscott wrote The Digital Economy in 1994-95, The Digital Age was in its infancy. The pioneering Netscape Web browser 1.0 was in beta, websites didn’t do transactions, we all used dial-up modems, and smartphones didn’t exist. Google, YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter wouldn’t appear for many years.

Yet Tapscott’s analysis – raising issues such as networked business models, the impact of technology on privacy, the inevitable demand for corporate transparency, and the influence of new media on successive generations — deftly captured the many opportunities and challenges that lay in store for society. His pioneering term “digital economy” is now ubiquitous.

Today, Tapscott reflects on the last 20 years and takes a Reality Check for the digital age. He explains that while much of the promise has been fulfilled, so have many of the dangers he predicted 2 decades ago. He argues that as with all disruptive platforms and social revolutions, networked intelligence destroys as it creates. Technology is also the foundation of new species of businesses that are capable of wiping out entire industries. Digital Conglomerates such as Google are achieving leadership roles in a dozen industries, where they do a better job with a fraction of the employees. Excess Capacity Networks like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb hold the power to wipe out jobs in industries ranging from taxis to hotels. Data Frackers like Facebook are acquiring vast treasure troves of data that position them to dominate multiple industries.

Some of the issues he addresses:

  • Frictions between present-day Industrial Capitalism and the Digital Economy
  • The radical effects of the Internet on the traditional corporate structure
  • Social media’s dramatic influence on business collaboration and culture
Digital Business
It’s been 20 years since Don Tapscott wrote The Digital Economy — the first best seller about the Internet. In 2014, a 20th Anniversary edition of the book will be published. This year Tapscott reflects on what has occurred and the next 20 years.

He argues that the corporation is undergoing the biggest change in a century. Due to deep changes in technology, demographics, business, the economy and the world, we are entering a new age where people participate in the economy like never before. This new participation has reached a tipping point where new forms of mass collaboration are changing how goods and services are invented, produced, marketed, and distributed on a global basis. This change does not wreck corporate profit. If understood, it presents far-reaching opportunities for every company and for every person who gets connected, in both the developed and developing world.

As one of the world’s leading thinkers about the role of technology in business, Tapscott discusses insights from his book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration changes Everything. He explains how a “Perfect Storm” of four drivers for change is creating the first category-6 business storm.

  1. The technology revolution — the next stage of the Digital Revolution
  2. A demographic revolution — the rise of the Net Generation
  3. A social revolution — social networking and the explosion of community
  4. An economic revolution — the global unbundling of the vertically integrated corporation into networks.

The conclusion? A new enterprise is emerging — one that innovates, creates value, orchestrates capability and builds relationships differently than the corporation that has dominated the 20th century. These new enterprises compete better and grow faster than the old model. But how can firms find the leadership to make the change?

The Internet of Things
Soon, up to a trillion computing devices will be embedded in everything from toasters, lightbulbs and bicycles to factory tools will converging into a vast global network that will fuel exponential change in business model innovation. The physical world is becoming smart and becoming connected, creating a new generation of ambient computing.

Don Tapscott explains the drivers behind the Internet of things and outlines 9 areas of opportunity.

  1. Intelligent Buildings
  2. Interactive Marketing
  3. Intelligent Traffic Management Systems
  4. Home Automation
  5. Waste Management Systems
  6. Healthcare
  7. Energy Management
  8. Smart Water Systems and Meters
  9. Industrial Applications

He also discusses how four principles of the open world need to be applied to the evolution of the Internet of Things for it to achieve its objectives.

New Solutions for a Connected Planet
In this new age of networked intelligence, collaborative communities are enhancing and even bypassing crumbling institutions. We are innovating the way our financial institutions and governments operate; how we educate our children; how the healthcare, newspaper, and energy industries serve their customers; how we care for our neighbourhoods: and even how we solve global problems.

From their latest book, Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet, co-authors Don Tapscott and Anthony D. williams present groundbreaking innovations from every corner of the globe: how businesses, organizations, and individuals alike are using mass collaboration to revolutionize not only the way we work, but how we live, learn, create, and care for each other.