Archive: technology

October 29th, 2012 | By Mallory Smith | Posted in Art & Society, Innovation | Comments Off

Time to Vote

We shouldn’t place barriers on voting that deter potential voters. We should make voting easily accessible, and incentivized, so we get as many votes as we can for the fairest possible election.

Even if the government disagrees, citizens are fed up and taking these matters into their own hands. Celebrities are trying to make voting seem like the cool thing to do. People on Facebook are developing apps and groups that encourage people to become informed voters. Not only is voting information becoming available in more and more places, but some of your old voting locations are getting new technology to speed up the end-of-night paperwork for voting registrars. In Stafford county, one man, Cameron Sasnett, developed a program called “results-logic” to tabulate results faster and with more accuracy. This also allows voters to get through the lines more quickly, speeding up the process on both ends.

As the presidential election is upon us, it is important now more than ever to look at how Americans’ voices are heard even before we get to vote. New technology is emerging that allows for more effective communication between Congress and its constituents. Former congressional aide Marci Harris left her position to solve one of government’s biggest problems,  ‘The way information is processed is breaking. There has to be a new way,’ said Harris, who founded PopVox, a startup that aims to improve the communication between Congress and its constituents. This technology is focused on getting citizens’ opinions TO Congress, but what technology exists that enables, nay forces, Congress to directly communicate back to its constituents? Is that even a technology solution or is it just a matter of Congress stepping up their level of transparency? I’d be interested to see how these new technologies can benefit each and every American, even those without internet, or those uncomfortable giving out private information online. It should be an attractive thing to vote, but so many people have voting limitations thrust upon them, or they just don’t understand the tremendous value associated with voting. Perhaps if citizens thought their voices would actually be heard, and valued, they’d take the time to vote for an America they actually want.

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January 30th, 2012 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Business & Economy, Science & Tech | Comments Off

Five Marketing Technology Tips

I am in Milan for a day-long marketing technology conference where I will be presenting to the event, which is sponsored by Ambrosetti. So I’ve been surveying various material on technology and marketing. According to an online survey, CMOs say tech-savviness is the area of greatest need and opportunity in marketing. It’s becoming more and more valuable to know how to effectively and efficiently use technology in marketing. Here are a few ideas.

1. Content Network Optimization. Search Engine Optimization is great–search marketing reaches more people than Yellow Pages, and allows you to generate targeted leads, but what about optimizing for content? One company, Scienceops, uses their patent-pending algorithms to optimize for content. Contextual marketing is designed to produce data concerned with what the consumer is doing online when they change from a person shopping to a consumer buying. By optimizing for content the marketer gains deeper, extremely relevant, and highly marketable insights into the how, when, and what is needed to make a sale.

2. Approach the new world of technology and marketing with a lot of flexibility and agility in terms of project creation and project management. New applications are coming with lightening speed and today’s hot thing is tomorrow’s big bore, so a rapid pace of change is the norm. It’s frustrating but real to have to keep on such a learning curve.

3. Mobile Advertising. Search Engine Watch notes that “6.8 percent of all U.S. Web traffic occurred from mobile devices.”

4. Plan for the democratization of your brand. That is, the company has less and less control, while those formerly known as consumers (and now known as individual publishers of text and video to the web) have more and more control. So, you have to engage people in a more comprehensive way.

5. Interaction comes before transaction. Each day, the ability of people to interact with each other, with other customers, and with you increases. And each day this interaction takes on greater importance as the precursor to any transaction decision.

For more thoughts on marketing and the future see The future of marketing 2012 and beyond.

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January 6th, 2012 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Innovation | Comments Off

Entering the new year 2012

So, we are back. Had a wonderful holiday in Peru visiting Machu Picchu among other places. Truly an awe inspiring place, matched only by New Zealand’s south island, and parts of the Canadian Rockies for grandeur.

Machu Picchu Christmas Day 2011

We here at Futurist.com continue to work on getting the new site ready to launch. Given that we have years of content and it turns out a rather quirky legacy in terms of some back-room functionality issues, what we thought would be quick and easy has turned out to be a bit harder. We are still hoping to introduce the new look by mid-month, so please stay tuned. We will blog here a bit in the mean time.

Many things are on my mind for 2012 in terms of future issues. Strategic issues include…

    How the rich-poor gap issue in the U.S. and the world will play out this year. Interestingly the Greek historian and biographer Plutarch, who lived from 46-120 AD once made this observation, “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” Unfortunately, so far the dynamic seems to be mostly that the severely wealthy interpret the current political climate as an attack on them, rather than as a call to re-ignite a system that builds the middle class and lifts up the poor.
    Energy and politics. Last year I forecast that 2011 would be a year in which it would become clear whether we’ve hit peak oil, or not. If it did become clear, the evidence is that we have not hit peak oil. Yet, one must wonder whether all the industry hype about shale plays in gas and oil really mean that a new era of abundance is here, or whether this will turn out to be more hype than reality. A whole lot of public policy and global economic implications are at stake.
    Climate change and global warming. Strangely 2011 was the year that this topic became virtually forbidden in the U.S. Politicians are not allowed to mention it, unless it is to say either they do not believe in climate change, or that the science is still too uncertain to do anything about it. My friend Dennis Walsh, a sustainability futurist from Canada, surprised me the other day by agreeing – saying its past time to talk about climate change, as there is no prospect of a sufficient public response anyway. Instead, he suggested, going forward it will be better to concentrate on raising the issue of planning for weather anomalies and local catastrophes. This is interesting. You’ll be hearing more from Dennis when we launch DoTheFuture.com, which has also been delayed, but will also launch this month.
    Technology dominance. There may still be no more important dynamic in the world than the continued spread of communication technology, namely smart phones and wireless nets. It was strange to stand in Machu Picchu and talk to the kids at home via my iPhone – actually had better reception than some places around Seattle Washington.

Finally, at some point I will say a few words about the Mayan calendar and the impending end scheduled for 21 December this year!

Glen Hiemstra is a futurist, author, speaker, consultant, and Founder of Futurist.com. To arrange for a speech, workshop or consultation contact Futurist.com.

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February 10th, 2011 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy, Environment & Energy, Innovation, Science & Tech | 1 Comment

Outlook 2011 Video

Here is our new video summarizing my Outlook 2011. I wrote the outlook at the beginning of the year and we posted the original on January 3. The written version with more detail, links to resources and a recap of how accurate our Outlook 2010 was can be found in our blog archives. After multiple requests we have decided to produce this video version, as we have done the last several years. Enjoy!

Glen Hiemstra is a futurist speaker, author, consultant, blogger, internet video host and Founder of Futurist.com. To arrange for a speech contact Futurist.com.

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January 3rd, 2011 | By Brenda Cooper | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy, Environment & Energy, Science & Tech | 1 Comment

Striking a Balance: The Yin and Yang of Futuring

This is a guest blog by Brenda Cooper.

As long as I’ve been alive, humanity has obsessed over its demise – at its own hands. In second grade, stern teachers sent me crawling under desks to avoid nuclear war (talk about a culture of fear – today has nothing on the sixties). Now we are convinced that climate change will do us all in. Both, by the way, remain real threats. It’s important to guard against evil. Think of that as the yang of futuring, whether done over the dinner table, around the water cooler, or from the dais. But I think we’re missing the yin: we’re failing to notice the good all around us.

Back in the crawling under desks part of my life, people who lived in other countries were unreachable to me, and had I wanted to talk to one, it would have cost a lot of money. Today, I have a phone that’s also a camera and a link to a world of information and entertainment – and to people all over the globe. There’s a good chance I can avoid or find a cure for most diseases that could directly affect me. We’re finally developing a real space industry (sorry – I’m a geek – but whatever it is you love, there is almost undoubtedly progress).

Take the climate change problem. It feels intractable. Old entrenched industries are fighting tooth and nail to hang on to things we KNOW are bad for us (remember the tobacco industry). But people all over the world are working on it. Wind TurbinesAmerican car companies are coming out with good electric cars, China is building green cities, and here at home, in the city where I work, we have a green building program and a green business program. For all that it feels too slow (may be too slow), we’re changing fast on this one as a society. When I drive from here to Oregon, I go through a forest of futuristic new white windmills. I think in almost every pain point where technology changes make a difference (travel, carbon, medicine, communication) we’re changing faster than ever before, and our intent is good. We are a capable species.

Yet I hear more fear of the future than excitement, more worry about what we’re doing than celebration of it. We could do with a little balance. I am not suggesting we relax our vigilance about climate change or terrorism or even nuclear war. But we could pay attention to the good as well. I hope we all work on that for 2011.

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