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Convergence as a Force of Good

The world has shaken, and industries have shaken, and people have shaken. This is how we embraced 2021 – me in meditation after sipping kombucha from a wine glass accompanied with fine dark chocolate – simple and devoid of clutter and to myself immersed in hope, joy, responsibility and an urge to be the better version of who I have been with a sense of emergency and immediacy.

An era where our actions, deeds, impulses, perceptions shape us as individuals and as the collective have gained speed and depth through convergence.

Disruptive innovation defines when a new innovation wipes off an old market and replaces products, services and markets with updates and soon it is as if the old version never existed. Netflix replaced Blockbuster in a flash, Airbnb started to define how we travel. When individual exponential technologies (which are recognized at their rate to double in power as their prices drop) start interacting, the speed, the scale and the scope of change accelerates. As computation speeds up, materials sciences advance, 3D manufacturing becomes common practice, platforms communicate, more people in remote countries get online disruptions become exponential and alter not only products, services and markets but the reliant systems, structures and behaviors. We only need to look at how Kickstarter has changed how creative ideas meet with investors, how ZipCar has redefined car ownership and made us consider the time that our cars sit idle at parking lots. “Kickstarter has launched over 450,000 projects, with over $4.4 billion pledged to the site and has also sped up the startup process considerably. The most successful Kickstarter campaign to date, a smart watch called Pebble Time, raised just over $20 million in little over a month.” *

The future of transportation and travel is changing as cities are working to Hyperloop or aerial ride share – Chicago to DC in 35 minutes. The days that our AI will run our daily schedules on our account is not far out. “Google’s Talk to Books lets you ask AI a question about any subject. The AI responds by reading 120,000 books in half a second and answers by providing quotes from them. The upgrade here is that the answers are based on authorial intent and not merely keywords. ” **

VR is another disruptive technology which will relate our sense of presence in a world especially when we are socially distanced. It is estimated that there are 35 million virtual technology users and harnessing on VRs influence on behavior change we will see many industries being disrupted by its use such as education, travel, entertainment and shopping. Even the more traditional companies are onboarding the future that convergent technologies enable like the 200 years old Brooks Brothers who have started working with AI in 2018. Fashion companies are using AI to study the data to meet the personalized demands of the shoppers and Brooks Brothers has teamed with ORS Group to manage their stocks, use blockchain to have an end to end AI powered platform for better customization, speed to market which in return will mean better profits and less waste. This was 2018 and today with the criteria that the Green New Deal suggests there will be further obligations to embrace technology even for the at scale segment of the fashion industry.

All disruptive technologies and their smart objects are very much like the “Hyper Objects” which Timothy Norton (and yes I do love to refer to his thinking) refers to and they not only close the gap between worlds but also introduce an element of gamification. Self-cleaning clothes which do not need water, nanomaterials that eliminate ironing or that can measure humidity, temperature and adapt to ideal conditions once are science fiction are introduced into our lives. Today’s market dynamics are not based on executing performance based on a linear profit growth but rather disrupting the business system itself. This approach could also be designed to remain within natural resource boundaries of our earth systems and to be an example of much needed force for good for the people and the planet.

Closed-loop economies are attempting to transform industries, cities to Zero Waste structures and the example of Plastic Bank which allows anyone to pick ocean plastic waste and bring it to a plastic bank and not only help clean oceans but also improve the lives of the communities involved. The collected materials are recycled as Social Plastic and are reintegrated as products. Every transaction is secured and traced on blockchain. The next decade in fashion along its entire value chain will also be more on experiences rather than purchases or transactions. Consumers demand better experiences on and offline and an industry that has long moved away from being a form of shelter to expressions of joy, creativity, individuality, aided with converging technologies and faced with the urgency to be compatible with nature and societies can and will do better.


* Excerpt From: Peter H. Diamandis. “The Future Is Faster Than You Think.” Apple Books.

** Excerpt From: Peter H. Diamandis. “The Future Is Faster Than You Think.” Apple Books.


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