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The Future of Social Technology

“The best solutions are the ones that cause a shift in people’s thinking."

The Future Trends Forum creates insight about innovations that will change business and society. Created in 2003 by the Fundaci贸n de la Innovaci贸n Bankinter, every six months it gathers some of the most important figures in entrepreneurship, innovation, government and venture capital from around the world, to discuss and debate a particular theme. Short speeches are delivered, which are made available to the public. There are also debates and group discussions. To encourage frankness and honesty, the discussions are not recorded. Quotes from these appear in this publication, on the condition of anonymity. What you read here are not finished articles, but instead summaries of the some of the ideas and discussions that were aired at the Future Trends Forum XVII in Madrid, December 2011. The theme was "The Future of Social Technology".

Social technology is a blending of technology that enables peer-to-peer interaction, and increases value because of it. Our story is divided into sections:

08 INDIVIDUALS From one to many

16 BUSINESS Three times three Rebuilding the business model

26 GOVERNMENT Keeping the government from stopping the internet

34 INVESTORS Why we invest How a VC thinks How to create a successful business

42 BUILD THE FUTURE Make Your Own future technology

Future Predictions



A short history of social technology




April 2008. Facebook’s popularity overtakes MySpace’s, based on the number of monthly unique visitors.

March 2006. Text-based social media service Twitter is born. So-called “Tweets” are limited to 140 characters each.

February 4, 2004. Facebook launches. Initially open only to Harvard students, then opens to 800 colleges in May 2005. By September 2006, Facebook is available to all users 13 and over.

December 2006. Yahoo offers $1 billion to buy Facebook, but Facebook ultimately declines the offer.




December 2, 2009. Facebook member-ship hits 350 million. Climbs to 400 in February 2010 and half a billion users five months later, after surpassing Google’s weekly web traffic in March 2010.

May 21, 2010. It is reveal-ed that MySpace, Facebook, and other social networks are sending user names and IDs to advertisers along with user URL data.


November 30, 2010. Facebook valued at $50 billion based on private market transaction.




February 16th 1978. First dial-up Bulletin Board System (“CBBS”) is launched. BBSs continue to grow in popularity through the 1980s.

Personal home-page service Geocities is launched. Goes public in 1998 and is purchased by Yahoo! in 1999 for $3.57 billion. Geocities is shutt-ered in 2009.

Early social media service is launched. At its height, the service claims 1 million users.




May 2003. Corporate social networking site LinkedIn opens its doors.

March 2002. Social media site Friendster launches. Membership peaks in 2008, then begins its steady wane.

August 1999. Blogging service Blogger launches. Purchased by Google in 2003.

July 2003. MySpace launches. The site is acquired by News Corp in 2005 for $580 million and is receiving more than 75 million visitors per month in late 2008.

Credits: Socially Aware newsletter.

2011 March 15, 2011. Starbucks passes 20 million “Likes” on Facebook. May 19, 2011. LinkedIn goes IPO, the value of its shares more than doubling in the initial day of trading.


June 28, 2011. Google Plus launches its closed beta— in a little over two weeks, more than ten million people have joined,sharing around one billion items per day.

June 30, 2011. News Corp. sells MySpace to Irvinebased digital media firm for $35 million. Specific Media, the buyer counts Justin Timberlake among its investors. July 13, 2011. Twitter celebrates its five-year birthday—the social media giant delivers 350,000,000,000 Tweets day.


“Social techn makes peopl more empow emboldened enlightened engaged.” 10


nology le wered, d, and



From one to many Wadah Khanfar ex-director general Al Jazeera Network

“We have just passed the first anniversary of the Tunisian revolution. If you had asked me just before it started about the future of the Arab world, I would have been pessimistic. I would have said the Angel of Death, Izrael, was the most important factor, as everyone was waiting for the old leaders to die. Though in fact, we knew that their children would simply succeed them. There was no room for hope. None of us expected the timing and the scale of what happened. When the Arab Spring began, we were faced with a serious problem of how to report the protests. Al Jazeera was banned from Tunisia 15 years ago. In Egypt, we had a very tense relationship with the regime, where officials threatened or arrested our correspondents, and even blocked our satellite signal.



And so, the protests that occurred would have been mentioned at the end of the bulletin, as there would have been a lack of images from the scene. We’d have used some graphics, maybe host an analyst, maybe talk to a witness and try to qualify their statement. But the news would be marginal, because we always lead with the best quality pictures that we have that day. However, as the protests became huge, we started to think how to cover them. We had no choice but to go to the new media desk, to speak to them and try to find a solution. We came face to face with the footage that was appearing on social platforms. Editors who hated the idea of using low-quality footage were using it because it added clear value - we cared more about the accuracy and presence of the story than the quality of the images.


Wadah Khanfar was director general of Al Jazeera between 2006 and 2011. In 2009, Forbes magazine ranked him as the world’s 54th most powerful person, and in 2011, Fast Company magazine named him the number one most creative person in business. 13


Social media was never at the center of our news gathering, because individuals had to struggle hard to convince our editors that they were relevant. They were always seen as people who were connected to the internet but weren’t qualified to pick and choose credible, accurate sources. You might have used them as features at the end of a bulletin, rather than depending on them to gather facts on the ground. So the first few weeks were very difficult. We didn’t know who these guys were, and we had to go through many processes in order to authenticate the information, and really get to know these guys. Our news team started developing networks with the actors themselves, talking to them, learning their track record on facts and information via their Facebook walls, learning what kinds of mistakes they made. We found ways of double sourcing, contacting many sources in a village where something happened, to find if what we have been told on social media was accurate or not. People who were more reliable than others, we might later host them in the newsroom, and give them basic training on professional standards of journalism.



This scenario came about as a matter of necessity, but with time it became a matter of choice. As we embraced it, we entered a new ecosystem in which amateurs and experts came together to create authenticity, accuracy and professional standards, with the ability to put a huge amount of information into context. And when the Egyptian government took us off the air, we adopted a new frequency. For a while, iPhones and Blackberrys became the only way people could follow us there, and we spread word of it through Twitter and Facebook. Today, on a daily basis, our newsrooms receive hundreds of hours of footage live streaming from every corner of the country, from people who volunteer to send it in. It has changed everything we knew about social media, and put social media at the heart of our newsroom. However, we have not reached 100% satisfaction. Governments started to learn how to use this media, and how to fight back.


In Tunisia, they were taken by surprise. In Egypt, they never thought that kids could use Facebook to start a revolution. However, in Syria we receive thousands of tweets and emails on a daily basis that turn out to be deliberate misinformation from the regime. The credibility of the medium is in danger of being lost.

I believe in the wisdom of the people. In the Arab world, the masses behaved in a much smarter way than the governments. The more that you have access to these voices, the closer you are to reality. People reacted against centres of power, redefining the game and becoming the centre themselves.

If we get 30 reports from a place including names of people and emotional outbursts about friends and relatives who have been killed, it seems very convincing - and it’s easy to fall into a trap. It has now happened in Libya, Yemen and Syria. We made our editors aware of this, had to apologize for our mistakes and explain how those mistakes happened.

What I am worried about in the next phase is how to continue this momentum to build a democracy. Organising and recording rotests is one thing. but now the people have to engage in dialogue to create new political realities.

Yet as governments have learned how to use social media, protestors also have learned new techniques to verify their stories. The people who send us footage have started to verify images by holding up a newspaper from that day as the start of the shot, then showing the rest of the scene, landmarks, etc. so the government cannot deny the date and the location. It is a huge learning experience for everybody.


We have protest 2.0 but how do we create democracy 2.0 from the result?�


Overheard at FTF Genuine online identities are the best shortcut we have for knowing what to listen to. // If somebody broke into my Facebook account, it wouldn’t take more than two minutes for someone to call my phone and tell me. If someone stole my passport, I wouldn’t find out until I next went to the airport. // The more I share, the safer I am. // Everyone wants to express meaning in their lives. // Social technology is there to remind you of things when you need to know them. // In the future, people will be engaged in networks that in some instances, but not all, are horizontal. // When you reach a certain number of users, the difference between expert and amateur is not that big. Scale is a bigger factor than reputation. // The more I use Twitter, the more I appreciate The Economist. // People can choose to express themselves on any platform, and they don’t give a shit about the values you want them to care about. // The past was all about experts. Social media pushes us towards the average of mass opinion. // We have to beware of intellectual segregation, as we increasingly only seek ideas that we agree with. // In the future, algorithms will know you better than you know yourself. // Facebook is powerful because it has real identities and social distribution. It’s the best shortcut we have for knowing who to listen to.




Follow Avaaz


“A global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.”

“Add text, images, stickers and sketches to objects around you by scanning them with your phone. Anyone who scans that item will see your post directly on top.”



“For any com that integrat social techno properly, res become avai dynamically the network. 18


mpany tes ology sources ilable y throughout .� 19


3x 3 rules for business Andreas Weigend director of the Social Data Lab Stanford University



“The old ABC for how companies interacted with consumers was: Advertising - Branding Communication. The new ABC is

“When I started at Amazon, we thought the main source of recommendation information was simply where someone had clicked into the past. But it turns out that the person does not matter so much. Three things are more important to influencing consumers:

Approval Belonging Connection You have to give people the chance to connect to individuals.”



1. Understanding the situation. The web is about the past and the future. We want to learn the present, and our mobile phones can help that. They can help us understand where somebody is and what mood they are in.


Andreas Weigend was Chief Scientist at Amazon between 2002 and 2004. He currently directs the Social Data Lab at Stanford University 21


2. Learning who influences decisions. I always ask my Stanford students: “Out of last ten things you bought, how many were because you saw them at the house of a friend?” The answer: most of them. Maybe it was always that way.

2. Write down the equations of your business. Jeff Bezos and I probably spent 100 hours going from group to group quantifying what we called ‘fitness function.’ What we meant were very customer-centered matrices.

3. Incentivising the social element. We love to share the love, especially if we have a good reason for doing so.”

Amazon is about delivery on promise, more than stock. One of the right metrics for them was what they promised for a delivery, and when it actually arrived.

Success “I have 3 rules about how to be successful in business. 1. Start with a problem, not with the data. Every other company that comes to me says “we have all this data and there must be some value in it, can you help us find it?” After a while, the conversation changes and we say “Why don’t we figure out what problem it is you want to solve.” It’s usually much cheaper to find others to collect the data you need, then to start with aimless data gathering.



It takes a lot of work, but get the equations right. Don’t worry about individual points in the space, but focus on getting the axes right. In order to expose the trade offs in doing business, you have to put them in a mathematic form. 3. Let people do what people are good at, and computers what computers are good at. Don’t mix it up.”


“Let people do what people are good at, and computers what computers are good at. Don’t mix it up.”



A new socially integrated business model Emily Green president and CEO Yankee Group

20th Century Business Model

21st Century Business Model

(silos of expertise and assets)

(diffusion of data and leadership)




Fluid Decentralised, multifunction, fragmented

Capital intensive

Capital efficient

Predict, invest, assume risk

Little acquisition, with projects scaling as they develop

Command and control

Orchestration by permission

People are awarded authority, are remote from the workforce

Managers set the tone, recruit contributions from others and rely on gut feelings combined with information for decisions



Captive Grouped by functions and place



Value is created by capturing and leveraging assets

Transparent, agile, data driven



Emily Green is President and CEO of the Yankee Group, based in Boston, MA, “the preeminent research and advisory firm equipping enterprises to profit in a mobile world.� She previously held senior leadership roles at Forrester Research and Cambridge Energy Research Associates. 25


Overheard at FTF Social technology began with individuals and then entered corporations. // People need hierarchy. Why will Twitter kill hierarchy when nothing else has managed it? // Right now, we have unions, engineers and users all expressing how the world should work. // Social technology poses a challenge to the legitimacy of management—you can more easily be judged on the proclamations you made about decisions. // We are no longer creating businesses around ideas, but instead around networks that can be reconfigured rapidly. // Technology doesn’t come from a lab, it comes from a series of choices. The question is who gets to make those choices. // Social technologies turn upside down what information is scare and what is plentiful. // The internet destroys everything it touches, and rebuilds it to look like itself. // The biggest change for businesses over the last 5-10 years is probably the sheer quantity of data being produced. // How do we get executive teams to make step changes towards the future? // I started to track how much time my employees were using Facebook. It was about an hour and a half each day. I couldn’t ban them because we work in social media, so instead I decided publish the top five users each month to the whole company. That worked for a while, but then they switched to their mobile devices. // The ability to see and discuss what others are doing leads to less redundancy and fewer simultaneous inventions. However, it does post a challenge to the ownership of individual ideas.




Follow Socialcast

Chatter by SalesForce

“Helps employees share knowledge and discover data in real-time, so they can focus on meaningful work.”

“A business collaboration tool designed for people who work together at the same company or organization.”



“Social techn is the ideal to protestors — for secret pol



nology ool for — and also licemen.�



How to keep the government away from the internet Ilya Ponomarev co-chairman of the Russian Parliament’s Hi-Tech Development subcommittee

“Where I am from, we are not in an Arab Spring, but a Russian winter. In Russia, the population is traditionally divided into two. Half go to polling stations and participate in political life. Of those, half will vote for whatever the ruling party is, and the other half votes for the Communist candidate, whoever it is. That was the situation for the last 15 years or so, but this has started to change.

Now we have seen our largest public gatherings for two decades, in protest against the cheated elections of 4th December. People’s votes were stolen, and then the whole thing started. It was a peaceful protest, without calls for a new revolution. I think the majority of those people were actually sympathetic for Putin, but were protesting against not having had the right to choose.

The last four years, Russia has been ruled by a very weird tandem of Putin and Medvedev, and they decided recently to swap so Putin would be president and Medvedev would be prime minister. People were saying that we could see 20, 30 years of these two guys swapping roles.

These people decided to come on the streets, and the whole thing was built around social media. It was a protest from the Facebook generation.



Social media in Russia is developing in a different way to many western societies. Russia is the world leader in total number of hours people spend on social networks - more than twice the amount of the average western European country. Facebook, by the way, is the third most popular social media platform in Russia. The first two


Ilya Ponomarev worked on new technologies in the oil and gas industry before becoming the CIO of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. In 2007, he joined the Fair Russia social democratic party, and was elected to the Russian parliament that year as the representative of Novosibirsk, Russia’s third largest city. He is currently the co-chairman of the Russian Parliament’s Hi-Tech Development subcommittee. 31


are both Russian companies. Young people in Russia are very active on the net, and their view on life is that they want government to disappear so that nobody will touch them. The popularity of Russian TV is dropping significantly. People aren’t reading newspapers, as they are seen as being filled with propaganda. The freedom is in the network. The internet was actually heavily supported by Medvedev. I was the first politician in Russia to create a Twitter account, but Mr Medvedev was number two or three, and his entry led to a big jump in Twitter’s popularity in Russia. Medvedev is now the most popular blogger in Russia, and he himself is writing, reading feedback and giving orders in reaction to some of the comments he receives. The government is trying to encourage people to create grassroots projects built around social activism, similar to the British project Fixmystreet. The Russian government is slowly accepting the idea of open data. However, it doesn’t understand how the network works, or how to talk to the people there. The KGB is trying to control the net. Our cellphone operators currently block access to the network - you 32


can take an iPhone to Russia, but you can only call or text with it. I am at the centre of this, as the co-chairman of Internet Regulation Committee. I see my challenge as to try and ensure that our committee does as little as possible. I feel that any regulation in this area would be problematic. I think that the internet is a medium, and to create special laws around it would be a bad thing. Our objective is to make the contemporary legislation relevant to the internet - not the other way around. This idea is very popular with internet users and in my party, but with the ruling party, it is very unpopular. But I think we will soon become the first G8 country to have a genuine internet-based political party. The people who protested on the streets are currently represented by nobody. The political parties all concentrate on cultivating their popularity with babushkas - old women who depend on public money, not those who identify themselves as existing outside the system. Young Russians are looking for a new party that represents the angry citizens. Sooner or later, social media will provide one.”


“People aren’t reading newspapers in Russia, as they are seen as being filled with propaganda. The freedom is in the network.”



Overheard at FTF Very smart people before us engineered social systems that were optimized for the constraints of the past. Most of those constraints are no longer here. // Who will manage our identity in 3-5 years? Will it be the government, who can issue a piece of paper that allows us to cross borders? // What makes someone’s identity? Is it their attributes? Is it their past? // Can a false rumor on social media initiate a revolution? // If any government tries to kill social interaction through technology, the people will react. // It is no longer possible to shut everything down. // Would a ‘good’ government ever engage in deliberate political disruption via social technology? // Social technologies are not necessary benevolent.




Follow Seeclickfix “Allows anyone to report and track non-emergency issues anywhere in the world via the internet. This empowers citizens, community groups, media organizations and governments to take care of and improve their neighborhoods.�



“Social techn used properl valuable opp



nology ly is a portunity.�



Why we invest Richard Kivel Bridgewater Associates

“Everything I’ve done as an investor has been driven by data and its analysis. We look at how the world is operating, trying to find different ways to identify trends that you couldn’t predict only with a single data source. For example, we monitor Twitter feeds that are increasing in a particular part of the world, and the keywords are that are coming from there. What does the SMS traffic look like in certain places? Why are the blogs beginning to spark in certain areas? These trends predict future outcomes, and the second and third consequences of these are sometimes magnificent.



For example, you might see things like disruption in the streets, an increase in Twitter buzz, changes in government activity and public events being cancelled or postponed. Once you have these data points, you can start to extrapolate more information: How will these things impact travel in the region, and the resource availability for different industries? Then we can start to make big bets based on that data. As an investor, we’ve already made bets based on 2014, 2015, 2016. What we’re betting on today is what you’ll know about in 2020.”


Richard Kivel is a strategist and a senior manager at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund with $122bn of assets under management. He is Chairman and President of the MIT Enterprise Forum, connecting technology entrepreneurs with the communities in which they reside. He has co-founded and run several successful startups in the fields of biotechnology and genomics. 39


Eden Shochat co-founded, the world leader in face recognition across social networks. He is currently a general partner at Genesis Partners, one of Israel’s leading venture capital companies, focusing on software, mobile applications and cloud computing applications. 40



How an investor thinks Eden Shochat general partner Genesis Partners

“It is either scary or exciting to be in an age when so much data is collected, and with so many ways to make sense of it. Venture capitalists are pattern matchers. We have a model of the world, and then we match companies to that model. That’s how, when we look at 500 companies a year, we decide which to do due diligence on, and then which two to six companies we will actually invest in.

The overall framework for analyzing apps is simple - look at its scalability, its lifetime value for users, and calculate how much it will cost to get these users. As long as lifetime value adds up to more than acquisition cost, you have a business. VCs especially love trying to spot tectonic shifts. Currently, we’re seeing all apps being rewritten to take advantage of the social graph. That’s the big change of today. Right now, there is one main social graph and it’s Facebook. Forget Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. Facebook can choose to support you or not - for example, it chose to give Spotify access to its API, but not Pandora. That’s the difference between success and failure in the social space.”



Tan Yinglan is the author of “The Way Of The VC - Top Venture Capitalists On Your Board” and “Chinnovation - How Chinese Innovators are Changing the World”. He is currently the Head (Projects) of the National Research Foundation for the Prime Minister’s Office in Singapore. He was previously the founding Director of 3i Venturelab China, a joint venture between private equity firm 3i and the business school INSEAD. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Nanyang Technological University. 42



How to create a successful social technology business Tan Yinglan head of National Research Foundation Singapore President’s Office

“In Hollywood, investors look for people, money and a good script. In the tech industry, we look people, money and good ideas. When investing in social technology, there are eight ‘r’s that can indicate a successful company for investment: Relationships - successful companies have good relationships with powerful technology incubators Revenue - a company’s business model has to be focused on earning revenue Remix - some good companies are remixing existing business models and technologies. Hungrygowhere, for example, is an Asian remix of Zagat, Wikipedia and Yelp Rapid growth


Requirements - a company has to fulfill key requirements for its audience Rivals - a successful company can identify gaps in their rivals’ strategies Reproductions - See ‘restrictions’ below Restrictions - government restrictions can result in opportunities. Facebook and Twitter are banned in China, so and are local versions of the same products that have appeared, while Anchorfree is a company that helps Chinese users to access Facebook and more Overall, we find that successful companies are those that play to their strengths, and especially those that look for interesting gaps created by incumbent industries. It is far more profitable to study those apps that are already close to the market’s needs rather than trying to create inventions far away from commercialization.”

Build the future

“There was ne a time when so easy to bui tools, or for c to get what th



ever it was ild social consumers hey want.�




Rise of universal values


Quantification of reputation

Redefining relationships

Commerce based on recommendations

Social Trends

Make your own groundbreaking social technology them together and create an app based on the combination. Send us your ideas, and we’ll put the best on our website— or keep them to yourself, and make your fortune.


Incessant digital chatter

Architecture of interoperability

Rapid prototyping

Convergence of digital and physical

Trends in technological innovation

Our experts have identified a series of social and technological trends that will influence the next five years of social technology. Choose one or more from each column. Put



Area-specific filtering Linked social identities

Deliberate governmental disruption through social technology

Rise in pseudonymity


Open-source code

Growing importance of curation

Changing nature of communities, transcending or ignoring national boundaries

Better algorithms

Machine agents and avatars

Always On


Do-it-yourself tools

Social searching and filtering

Expectation of instant gratification


Rise of social identities

Governmental engagement in social technologies

Online petitions and voting

Intellectual echo chambers



Apps These are the apps that the experts at the FTF came up with, using the two lists of trends on the previous page. Can you do better?

Like-U? Creates star rankings for real-life personal encounters. Social trend: redefining relationships. Tech trends: better algorithms, social filtering

Another Person’s Hat

Perfect Choice

An app that allows you to see the world through the eyes of another person, seeing their social media and other interactions. Social trends: combats the Intellectual echo chambers, rise of universal values, changing nature of communities. Tech trends: linked social identities, Incessant digital chatter

An avatar that will go out and find what I want on the web. The avatar is informed by the choices and actions of my friends. Social trends: commerce based on recommendations, expectation of instant gratification, commerce based on recommendations. Tech trends: machine agents and avatars, better algorithms






An app that looks at the history of someone’s interactions, ranking them for suitability with your network. Social trends: redefining relationships, quantification of reputation. Tech trends: incessant digital chatter, Social searching and filtering

Software to help autonomous, self-organising teams to do project management. Social trends: selforganization, changing nature of communities and boundaries, rise of universal values. Tech trends: micro-tasks, area-specific filtering


Social Tupperware

Accountability tools for citizens to know more about the politicians they are working with. Social trends: quantification of reputation, rise of universal values, government involvement in social technologies, transparency. Tech trends: convergence of digital and physical, Always On

A way of monetising highly influential people, who persuade people to buy things they recommend - just like a Tupperware party. Social trends: commerce based on recommendations, redefining relationships, quantification of reputation. Tech trend: microtransactions



Future predictions According to attendees of the FTF

2015 2014 2013 · Cities open up their data to be used by individuals



· Social data privacy becomes a European right

· A ride-share social application revolutionises thirdworld transportation · Social networks between internetenabled objects become larger than those between humans · Authenticity becomes the dominant value in online relationships


2020 · Social learning becomes commonplace

2018 2017 · Individuals are given the right to alter their social technology history

· Crowds invade government offices around the world, and destroy the official data stored about their populations · EU allows entrepreneurs to become citizens of a synthetic state, where they manage their own needs and do not pay tax · The Netherlands replaces its government with a social voting mechanism


· The complete disintermediation of real-world, in-person communication


Overheard at FTF We develop expertise in identifying the expertise of others. // Social technologies change the economics of self organising. // It’s not about new technology, it’s about the distribution of the signal. // The best solutions are not technological ones. They are those that cause a shift in people’s thinking. If we look for technology to solve our problems, we’re looking in the wrong place. // How can a bank partner with its customers to innovate? // We are witnessing the annihilation of barriers to entry. // Social data comes from mixing search with social technology. The difficulty is in making sure that the data that we gather is relevant. // One of the most interesting questions today is finding influences. A couple of companies are starting to do that. Let’s say that a couple of people have connected in a way that they influence each other. How can you infiltrate those to help them have the opinion you want?




Follow Appcelerator Titanium “A free and open source application development platform, Titanium lets you create native mobile, tablet and desktop application experiences using existing web skills.�


The sceptic’s view Adrian Wooldridge management editor The Economist

“The internet is an impermanent space, distorted by lies and by self selection, whose importance is hugely exaggerated. I think that more scepticism is required. Social media is about saying “Look at me.” It’s become an acceptable form of narcissism and I think it’s corrosive of character. It is a space in which 16 dysfunctional people in San Francisco have a vastly disproportionate influence, and companies that put too much emphasis on social technology are getting a very distorted view of their consumers. The easier things are, the less value they have. What really matters in this world are those things of which we have a shortage. Where we have an abundance of connections and information, what we have a shortage of is attention.



What will matter more and more therefore will be valued judgement. We have this bombardment of information, we don’t know where it comes from or if it’s reliable. You need editorial judgement, filtering out, contextualising. Technology does not make you free, as many people seem to think. Instead, it gives more power to the government rather than to individuals. A lot of things are done to satisfy the clown factor - that is, it looks cool, and that’s the justification for it. But just because you can do something with technology, that doesn’t mean you have to do it. I see the future as an iPad crushing the face of mankind for ever and ever. In a world in which you have this incessant noise, what will matter more and more isn’t new ways to make noise. It is silence.”

Adrian Wooldridge is the Management Editor and ‘Schumpeter’ columnist for The Economist magazine. 55

About the Future Trends Forum Juan Rosas managing director Foundation of Innovation, Bankinter

The Future Trends Forum is the project at the core of the Bankinter Foundation of Innovation. Since it began eight years ago, it has forecasted and kept ahead of innovation trends worldwide. The FTF is the one and only European think tank focused on innovation. It strives to remain ahead of the curve, close the gap and contribute to a more advanced, competitive society, making Spain a more appealing country for international talent. The Global Go-To Think Tank Index has recently ranked us number 19 in the Science and Technology think tank worldwide ranking. The FTF is the only Spanish think tank to be listed.



Last December, the Foundation held the XVII meeting of the FTF on the latest technological trend selected by our experts, the development of a type of technology beyond social networks, enabling person-toperson interaction and the resulting co-creation of value. We named this trend Social Technologies. Our work started by defining the attributes of this trend, the areas potentially affected by these new technologies, the main opportunities and barriers arising or the main players involved in their development; and in particular, we focused our efforts on seeking the best experts worldwide to discuss this new trend.


The conclusions of such meeting are in this report, as well as inside an extended report on the impact of this trend upon society and the business world; they are spread through a series of conferences in several Spanish cities, bringing the future closer to society and promoting innovation among Spanish companies. I would like to express my gratitude to all of the experts who made the Future Trends Forum possible through their attendance and collaboration. I would also like to thank you, my dear reader. I encourage you to make innovation an essential ingredient of your professional career. As Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results�; only innovation is truly transformational.

Editor Andrew Losowsky Art Director Santos Henarejos Printed by Pentacrom Published by the Fundaci贸n de la Innovaci贸n Bankinter To obtain more copies, email To see our digital edition, visit Copyright 2012 Todos los derechos reservados / All rights reserved


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