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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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"?