Life is too short not to pursue our passion, are the very first words from John Smart, founder and president of the Institute for the Study of Accelerating Change whom is kicking off the conference. He quotes Buckminster Fuller: You can't get an unbiased education, so the next best thing is a multi-biased education. [Great quote!] Let's look at issues from several angles to sift the truth. [I really enjoy the 'debate' format of several sessions.]
The goal of the Accelerating Change conference is to be the foremost futurist conference. And ACC sees technology as a lever, as Archimedes would say, for positive change.
John is encouraging us not to spend all our time (if you're not a blogger that is ;-)) in sessions alone. Just like in a university, half of your education comes not from the program itself but from your peers. All the amazing people in the audience have self-selected to be here - meet them.
How can change be positive? There's a lot of talk about offshoring especially to India and China. (Actually the institute itself, a non-profit, outsources their own I.T. needs to India.) But the Chinese themselves have lost 10 million jobs to factory automation. Innovation is always disruptive - but is there a way to keep it creative as Joseph Schumpeter would say instead of destructive.
There is only so much this conference can cover in 2 1/2 days. There are many areas of innovation. For example...
Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay and now of the Omidyar Network, wants to innovate around the concept of microfinancing initiated by the Grameen Bank and develop microcredit securities (via mortgage-backed securities) to spur local community economic development.
New Balance, the shoe company, does all their manufacturing in U.S. employing a lot of innovative automation and processes. Their market share went from 2% to 10% within last year.
[Note: I'm blogging my notes of the conference in near real-time. The operative word here is notes. I intend to synthesize the conference highlights with the perspective of distance later in the week both here and cross-posted at my blog, Crossroads Dispatches.]