We are obviously leaving in times of change, revolution and evolution. Many sectors are undergoing brusque changes in their structures, players and in general all aspects of their businesses and relationships.
The final step onto the Knowledge society has brought disruption to many sectors and companies such as; music, publishing, retail distribution, travel, etc… However, this has only been the tip of the iceberg which the “old ways” of going about businesses is going to ram against, and it will be like hitting a brick wall.
Let’s define disruption first, it’s the interruption of a convention or widely accepted belief through the implementation of a new idea that helps the fulfillment of a vision. From a business perspective, disruption can take the form of better quality, better pricing and so on and so forth, always with the re-shaping of a particular market or market segment.
From my point of view, there are three very clear candidates for massive disruption, these are; Energy, Education and Healthcare. I won’t go extensively into them here, but I’m convinced we’ll, sooner rather than later, witness deep transformations in each one of them.
As Sir Kenneth Robinson has well put it, we have a fast-food model of education, where a standard set of parameters is followed in order to achieve “academic excellence” and pave the way for a future successful career. This is very good if we want to have a society and world run by people who are not creative or imaginative, who aren’t willing to move outside of the pre-established median, thus mediocrity.
In the way in which the current democratization of knowledge and access to it are readily available to large masses of people, that users can interact remotely and that this can be done without leaving one’s own house, we’ll most probably see a great shift from Bricks and Mortar plain vanilla education systems/programs in favor of more social ways of learning and growing. This will have an obvious impact in higher education institutional funding, a recalibration of academic degrees, and in general all the effects to be felt due to a shift in the tectonic plaques of educational systems in the civilized world.
There’s a need for cleaner cheaper energy. If this wasn’t clear to all a couple of months ago, after the Fukushima incident and the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, if someone hasn’t come around that bend already they shouldn’t be reading this, they’re too stuck in the ways of the old world.
There’s going to be, already is, a push for the discovery of abundant sources of clean and cheap energy. I don’t know if its going to be a replica of photosynthesis, a new way of harnessing the power of light, some new system to safely exploit atomic energy or a discovery in nuclear fission, what I do know is that while these new discoveries happen and effectively become industrially operational, there’s going to be a major disruption in the way in which energy is distributed.
Nowadays, we have an industrialized system for energy distribution springing from old ways of energy generation. From my point of view the disruption will come when energy starts being treated as a network, this is, when the deployment, use and distribution of energy will depend upon intelligent systems that take into account networks and not linear systems, moving thus closer to the interweaving of people and their lifestyles.
The medical world has always faced three major questions to solve; 1) Diagnosis, 2) Medication, 3) treatment. If one takes a close look at that hierarchical system, there’s a primigenious element that needs to concur for the healing and healthcare process to take place and be effective, this is, information.
Information is needed in order to diagnose. This information is current and past. The result of the “bundling” of that information and the doctor’s opinion will lead to the prescription of drugs of which information is also needed and in the last instance, new sets of data will be created as an offspring of treatment.
So, there’s going to be a massive disruption in the adaptation of data/information rich processes to the healthcare industry. This will come in the way of unified medical records, data harvesting, data processing and mining, and eventually data access across the board. Records won’t be institution centric anymore, but move closer to people centric systems whereby a patient’s record is readily available anytime anywhere and doctor’s who treated specific illnesses in the past will be accessible by colleagues in order to have their opinion.
Anyhow, disruption in the three above mentioned areas, which are just around the corner, will make a cleaner, cheaper and safer world, will plant the seed to have freethinkers and creative minds strive forward in the making of a better world through the coming closer to fulfilling human potential, thus creating happier people, and last but not least, reduce healthcare bills, improve treatments and their results, and advance towards exploiting the benefits of massive pools of health related data in a way to improve human condition and the world we live in.
I can’t wait for all these things to happen, and I’m truly and honestly thrilled and puzzled to see what kind of projects, companies and products actually breakthrough and help make this world of ours a better, cleaner, healthier and safer place.