Work has finally started on my first set of Drivers of Change cards. The theme is convergence and has been identified by many delegates in the foresight workshops as a key Driver of Change. The first step is to start talking to people to try and unpack what this driver might mean. Below is my starting point, postings in this thread over the next six months with document my conversations around this theme. All comments and inputs welcome!!
Our interest in convergence is trying to understand how the landscape around us is changing in response to new collaborations, the merging of sciences and the combination of sectors to provide new and niche services.
New collaborations such as the links developed between Apple, Google and AT&T in the personal computing, mapping and telephony markets were critical to develop the iPhone. The combination of the different skills that each of the companies brought together has significantly advanced the products and services around mobile computing and hints at the evolution of IT into a post PC era. Other collaborations include LucasArts and ILM highlighting the increased convergence between the film and the games industry.
Similarly the collaborations made through the merging of science in areas such as biotech and genetech are creating new markets and business sectors. Biotechnology combines disciplines like genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology and cell biology, which are in turn linked to practical disciplines like chemical engineering, information technology, and robotics. Whilst there is a long history of biotech the convergence started to gather speed in the early 80’s when it became possible to patent genetically modified micro organisms opening up the economic potential for biotech.
The combination of sectors also appears as companies seek to create new and niche markets catering to an increasingly mass customised economy. Health tourism is such an example where companies are providing, and people are purchasing, the ability to have medical treatment in a location other than their home area either for economic or ethical reasons. The convergence however is that such treatments are often cosmetic or not clinically required and as such are being made as a consumer transaction. The ability to stay in a nice place whilst this occurs becomes a need not a desire.
So what are the trends and how will it impact the built environment.