Perspectives

The Edge Series pocket-guides

The “Big Shift” Mini-Book Series is your shorthand, pocket-guide to navigating The Big Shift.

Perspectives

John Hagel and John Seely Brown in Techonomy

Physical and virtual digital ecosystems

John Hagel and John Seely Brown, Deloitte LLP Center for the Edge, share their perspectives on the interplay between physical and virtual infrastructures in the world of the Big Shift.

This series of columns explores how advances in technology and the evolving digital ecosystem are changing the way we interact with and within the physical world. The result is innovations in products and services, strategies, business models, and organizational structures that offer new opportunities for growth and learning. Read the Techonomy articles below.​ 

​​Recent Techonomy articles

Making dumb things smart
Our physical world is now technology-enabled by the digitization of everything from books to movies to tools—such as the flashlights, cameras, calculators, day planners, music players, and bus schedules that now reside on our smartphones.

Local tech platforms uncover neighborhood secrets
When the favorite dog groomer and sitter for our family’s timid and particular Maltese left town one week before we were headed overseas, finding a replacement quickly became a household priority. We had no dog care referrals and there was little time to vet the unexplored options. What to do?

The conference paradox: In-person matters when you live on the edge

Technology has advanced so much that we can now buy ice cream, deposit checks, chat with friends, find and apply for jobs, and share pictures of cats—all from our phones. We have Skype. We have social networking. And more people than ever are making use of virtual social platforms to connect and stay connected with others, educate themselves, learn skills, conduct meetings, and do business.

The farmer, the food truck, and the foodie
Food trucks and family farms aren’t the most obvious businesses benefiting from rapid advances in core digital technologies. But in both the highest-tech new industries and traditional hands-on small businesses, advances in social software, cloud computing and other technologies are reducing the cost of identifying and managing a large number of participants in a diverse ecosystem.

As the maker movement surges, so do "stories" of creation
On a few blocks in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood (SOMA), the emergent sharing economy is thriving. On a stretch of Mission Street where multi-tenant housing residents, a homeless population, and employees of the hulking Federal building tensely coexist, a “civic hack” is transforming a vacant building.

John Hagel on how businesses build around innovation
John Hagel and John Seely Brown, co-chairs of Deloitte’s Center for the Edge, recently published a report tackling one of Techonomy’s central themes: How can institutions adapt to exponential technology change and reorganize themselves for "scalable efficiency"?

What the sharing economy means for business
With digital peer-to-peer platforms emerging in dozens of vertical markets, the sharing economy appears to be in its own Cambrian explosion of diversity.

Too much like-mindedness hurts companies and the country

In the book, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart, Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing focus on one of the long-term trends driving the political rift.

What’s next in the Techonomy?
In the last few decades, we have witnessed a steady doubling in the price performance of digital technologies. However, we are reaching a tipping point of this exponential growth and it is unclear how the cumulative effects of technology will reshape our economy, political systems, and collective future.​

As augmented reality blurs lines, how will companies respond?
Do you remember the first time you used a touch screen or saw someone play Nintendo Wii or employ another motion-controlled device? These technologies revolutionized how we physically interact with the digital world. Augmented reality tends to sneak up on you.


The limits of the virtual: Why stores and conferences won't go away

Despite the rapid advances in telepresence and distributed working tools, people still brave traffic and go to the office. Business travel is on the rise as people congregate for meetings and conferences. Attendees pay $7,500 for tickets to TED talks when the content is all posted free of charge on their website.
 
Friedman vs. Florida, or how to thrive in a world both flat and spiky
The regional effect of technological advancement and globalization is a widely studied and hotly contested topic. Thomas Friedman’s renowned book, The World is Flat, argues that globalization, and technological advancement have leveled the playing field in terms of commerce—that location is less and less important.
 
Space counts: Why physical flows matter in an increasingly virtual world
We now have technology that can help us to “see” the incredible diversity that surrounds us and recognize opportunities for serendipity. The drawback of these technological amplifiers, however, is that they tend to reinforce the types of people we already know, which can limit the impact of true serendipity.

Meet the Authors

John Hagel III

John Hagel III

Co-Chairman | Center for the Edge

John is co-chairman for Deloitte LLP's Center for ...More

John Seely Brown (JSB)

John Seely Brown (JSB)

Independent Co-Chairman | Center for the Edge

JSB currently serves as the independent co-chairma...More

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John Seely Brown (JSB)

Independent Co-Chairman | Center for the Edge

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John Hagel III

Co-Chairman | Center for the Edge

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Blythe Aronowitz

Chief of Staff | Deloitte LLP Center for the Edge