The Investment Capital Growth Blog

Welcome To The ICG Blog

Strategic Insights For Business Leaders & Their Teams

Investment Capital Growth is dedicated to the personal and professional development of C-Level Executives and the management teams that run modern business. Our blog shares insights and strategies culled from years of entrepreneural and executive experience. Our thought leaders regularly publish business articles to inspire and empower.

Get Inspired, Stay Connected:

  • Subscribe To Our Blog For Updates
  • Follow ICG on Social Media
  • Engage Our Consultants

Subscribe To The ICG Blog

Posts by Topic

ICG Newsletter Signup

ICG's Monthly Newsletter delivers insightful and actionable information for business owners and their teams. Get the latest updates from the ICG team each month including exclusive case studies, expert commentary, special offers and real life examples of business success. Join the thousands of subscribers that enjoy our informative publication by entering your contact information below.

Contact us.

How AR, AI, Sensors & Blockchain are Merging Into Web 3.0

Posted by Cliff Locks On September 18, 2019 at 10:31 am / In: Uncategorized

How AR, AI, Sensors & Blockchain are Merging Into Web 3.0

How each of us sees the world is about to change dramatically…

For all of human history, the experience of looking at the world was roughly the same for everyone. But boundaries between the digital and physical are beginning to fade.

The world around us is gaining layer upon layer of digitized, virtually overlaid information — making it rich, meaningful, and interactive. As a result, our respective experiences of the same environment are becoming vastly different, personalized to our goals, dreams, and desires.

Welcome to Web 3.0, aka The Spatial Web. In version 1.0, static documents and read-only interactions limited the internet to one-way exchanges. Web 2.0 provided quite an upgrade, introducing multimedia content, interactive web pages, and participatory social media. Yet, all this was still mediated by 2D screens.

And today, we are witnessing the rise of Web 3.0, riding the convergence of high-bandwidth 5G connectivity, rapidly evolving AR eyewear, an emerging trillion-sensor economy, and ultra-powerful AIs.

As a result, we will soon be able to superimpose digital information atop any physical surrounding—freeing our eyes from the tyranny of the screen, immersing us in smart environments, and making our world endlessly dynamic.

In this third blog of our five-part series on augmented reality, we will explore the convergence between AR, AI, sensors, and blockchain, diving into the implications through a key use case in manufacturing.

A Tale of Convergence

Let’s deconstruct everything beneath the sleek AR display.

It all begins with Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) — electric circuits that perform rapid calculations to render images. (GPUs can be found in mobile phones, game consoles, and computers.)

However, because AR requires such extensive computing power, single GPUs will not suffice. Instead, blockchain can now enable distributed GPU processing power, and blockchains specifically dedicated to AR holographic processing are on the rise.

Next up, cameras and sensors will aggregate real-time data from any environment to seamlessly integrate physical and virtual worlds. Meanwhile, body-tracking sensors are critical for aligning a user’s self-rendering in AR with a virtually enhanced environment. Depth sensors then provide data for 3D spatial maps, while cameras absorb more surface-level, detailed visual input. In some cases, sensors might even collect biometric data, such as heart rate and brain activity, to incorporate health-related feedback in our everyday AR interfaces and personal recommendation engines.

The next step in the pipeline involves none other than AI. Processing enormous volumes of data instantaneously, embedded AI algorithms will power customized AR experiences in everything from artistic virtual overlays to personalized dietary annotations.

In retail, AIs will use your purchasing history, current closet inventory, and possibly even mood indicators to display digitally rendered items most suitable for your wardrobe, tailored to your measurements.

In healthcare, smart AR glasses will provide physicians with immediately accessible and maximally relevant information (parsed from the entirety of a patient’s medical records and current research) to aid in accurate diagnoses and treatments, freeing doctors to engage in the more human-centric tasks of establishing trust, educating patients and demonstrating empathy.

Convergence in Manufacturing

One of the nearest-term use cases of AR is manufacturing, as large producers begin dedicating capital to enterprise AR headsets. And over the next ten years, AR will converge with AI, sensors, and blockchain to multiply manufacturer productivity and employee experience.

(1) Convergence with AI

In initial application, digital guides superimposed on production tables will vastly improve employee accuracy and speed, while minimizing error rates.

Already, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — whose airlines supply 82 percent of air travel — recently implemented industrial tech company Atheer’s AR headsets in cargo management. And with barely any delay, IATA reported a whopping 30 percent improvement in cargo handling speed and no less than a 90 percent reduction in errors.

With similar success rates, Boeing brought Skylight’s smart AR glasses to the runway, now used in the manufacturing of hundreds of airplanes. Sure enough—the aerospace giant has now seen a 25 percent drop in production time and near-zero error rates.

Beyond cargo management and air travel, however, smart AR headsets will also enable on-the-job training without reducing the productivity of other workers or sacrificing hardware. Jaguar Land Rover, for instance, implemented Bosch’s Re’flekt One AR solution to gear technicians with “x-ray” vision: allowing them to visualize the insides of Range Rover Sport vehicles without removing any dashboards.

And as enterprise capabilities continue to soar, AIs will soon become the go-to experts, offering support to manufacturers in need of assembly assistance. Instant guidance and real-time feedback will dramatically reduce production downtime, boost overall output, and even help customers struggling with DIY assembly at home.

Perhaps one of the most profitable business opportunities, AR guidance through centralized AI systems will also serve to mitigate supply chain inefficiencies at extraordinary scale. Coordinating moving parts, eliminating the need for manned scanners at each checkpoint, and directing traffic within warehouses, joint AI-AR systems will vastly improve workflow while overseeing quality assurance.

After its initial implementation of AR “vision picking” in 2015, leading courier company DHL recently announced it would continue to use Google’s newest smart lens in warehouses across the world. Motivated by the initial group’s reported 15 percent jump in productivity, DHL’s decision is part of the logistics giant’s $300 million investment in new technologies.

And as direct-to-consumer e-commerce fundamentally transforms the retail sector, supply chain optimization will only grow increasingly vital. AR could very well prove the definitive step for gaining a competitive edge in delivery speeds.

As explained by Vital Enterprises CEO Ash Eldritch, “All these technologies that are coming together around artificial intelligence are going to augment the capabilities of the worker and that’s very powerful. I call it Augmented Intelligence. The idea is that you can take someone of a certain skill level and by augmenting them with artificial intelligence via augmented reality and the Internet of Things, you can elevate the skill level of that worker.”

Already, large producers like Goodyear, thyssenkrupp, and Johnson Controls are using the Microsoft HoloLens 2—priced at $3,500 per headset—for manufacturing and design purposes.

Perhaps the most heartening outcome of the AI-AR convergence is that, rather than replacing humans in manufacturing, AR is an ideal interface for human collaboration with AI. And as AI merges with human capital, prepare to see exponential improvements in productivity, professional training, and product quality.

(2) Convergence with Sensors

On the hardware front, these AI-AR systems will require a mass proliferation of sensors to detect the external environment and apply computer vision in AI decision-making.

To measure depth, for instance, some scanning depth sensors project a structured pattern of infrared light dots onto a scene, detecting and analyzing reflected light to generate 3D maps of the environment. Stereoscopic imaging, using two lenses, has also been commonly used for depth measurements. But leading technology like Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 and Intel’s RealSense 400-series camera implement a new method called “phased time-of-flight” (ToF).

In ToF sensing, the HoloLens 2 uses numerous lasers, each with 100 milliwatts (mW) of power, in quick bursts. The distance between nearby objects and the headset wearer is then measured by the amount of light in the return beam that has shifted from the original signal. Finally, the phase difference reveals the location of each object within the field of view, which enables accurate hand-tracking and surface reconstruction.

With a far lower computing power requirement, the phased ToF sensor is also more durable than stereoscopic sensing, which relies on the precise alignment of two prisms. The phased ToF sensor’s silicon base also makes it easily mass-produced, rendering the HoloLens 2 a far better candidate for widespread consumer adoption.

To apply inertial measurement—typically used in airplanes and spacecraft—the HoloLens 2 additionally uses a built-in accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer. Further equipped with four “environment understanding cameras” that track head movements, the headset also uses a 2.4MP HD photographic video camera and ambient light sensor that work in concert to enable advanced computer vision.

For natural viewing experiences, sensor-supplied gaze tracking increasingly creates depth in digital displays. Nvidia’s work on Foveated AR Display, for instance, brings the primary foveal area into focus, while peripheral regions fall into a softer background— mimicking natural visual perception and concentrating computing power on the area that needs it most.

Gaze tracking sensors are also slated to grant users control over their (now immersive) screens without any hand gestures. Conducting simple visual cues, even staring at an object for more than three seconds, will activate commands instantaneously.

And our manufacturing example above is not the only one. Stacked convergence of blockchain, sensors, AI and AR will disrupt almost every major industry.

Take healthcare, for example, wherein biometric sensors will soon customize users’ AR experiences. Already, MIT Media Lab’s Deep Reality group has created an underwater VR relaxation experience that responds to real-time brain activity detected by a modified version of the Muse EEG. The experience even adapts to users’ biometric data, from heart rate to electro dermal activity (inputted from an Empatica E4 wristband).

Now rapidly dematerializing, sensors will converge with AR to improve physical-digital surface integration, intuitive hand and eye controls, and an increasingly personalized augmented world. Keep an eye on companies like MicroVision, now making tremendous leaps in sensor technology.

While I’ll be doing a deep dive into sensor applications across each industry in our next blog, it’s critical to first discuss how we might power sensor- and AI-driven augmented worlds.

(3) Convergence with Blockchain

Because AR requires much more compute power than typical 2D experiences, centralized GPUs and cloud computing systems are hard at work to provide the necessary infrastructure. Nonetheless, the workload is taxing and blockchain may prove the best solution.

A major player in this pursuit, Otoy aims to create the largest distributed GPU network in the world, called the Render Network RNDR. Built specifically on the Ethereum blockchain for holographic media, and undergoing Beta testing, this network is set to revolutionize AR deployment accessibility.

Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt (an investor in Otoy’s network), has even said, “I predicted that 90% of computing would eventually reside in the web based cloud… Otoy has created a remarkable technology which moves that last 10%—high-end graphics processing—entirely to the cloud. This is a disruptive and important achievement. In my view, it marks the tipping point where the web replaces the PC as the dominant computing platform of the future.”

Leveraging the crowd, RNDR allows anyone with a GPU to contribute their power to the network for a commission of up to $300 a month in RNDR tokens. These can then be redeemed in cash or used to create users’ own AR content.

In a double win, Otoy’s blockchain network and similar iterations not only allow designers to profit when not using their GPUs, but also democratize the experience for newer artists in the field.

And beyond these networks’ power suppliers, distributing GPU processing power will allow more manufacturing companies to access AR design tools and customize learning experiences. By further dispersing content creation across a broad network of individuals, blockchain also has the valuable potential to boost AR hardware investment across a number of industry beneficiaries.

On the consumer side, startups like Scanetchain are also entering the blockchain-AR space for a different reason. Allowing users to scan items with their smartphone, Scanetchain’s app provides access to a trove of information, from manufacturer and price, to origin and shipping details.

Based on NEM (a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that implements a blockchain consensus algorithm), the app aims to make information far more accessible and, in the process, create a social network of purchasing behavior. Users earn tokens by watching ads, and all transactions are hashed into blocks and securely recorded.

The writing is on the wall—our future of brick-and-mortar retail will largely lean on blockchain to create the necessary digital links.

Final Thoughts

Integrating AI into AR creates an “auto-magical” manufacturing pipeline that will fundamentally transform the industry, cutting down on marginal costs, reducing inefficiencies and waste, and maximizing employee productivity.

Bolstering the AI-AR convergence, sensor technology is already blurring the boundaries between our augmented and physical worlds, soon to be near-undetectable. While intuitive hand and eye motions dictate commands in a hands-free interface, biometric data is poised to customize each AR experience to be far more in touch with our mental and physical health.

And underpinning it all, distributed computing power with blockchain networks like RNDR will democratize AR, boosting global consumer adoption at plummeting price points.

As AR soars in importance—whether in retail, manufacturing, entertainment, or beyond—the stacked convergence discussed above merits significant investment over the next decade. Already, 52 Fortune 500 companies have begun testing and deploying AR/VR technology. And while global revenue from AR/VR stood at $5.2 billion in 2016, market intelligence firm IDC predicts the market will exceed $162 billion in value by 2020.

The augmented world is only just getting started.

Board of Directors | Board of Advisors | Strategic Leadership

Please keep me in mind as your Executive Coach, openings for Senior Executive Engagements, and Board of Director openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way. Email me: Cliff@InvestmentCapitalGrowth.com or Schedule a call: Cliff Locks

Download Resume

Download Resume (PDF)

#BoardofDirectors #BoD #artificialintelligence #AI #innovation #IoT #virtualreality #vr #d #augmentedreality #HR #executive #business #CXO #CEO #CFO #CIO BoardofDirectors #executive #success #work #follow #leadership #Engineering #corporate #office #Biotech #Cleantech #CAD #entrepreneur #coaching #businessman #professional #excellence #development #motivation Contributors: Peter Diamandis and Clifford Locks #InvestmentCapitalGrowth

Delivering an amazing life breakthrough in your intelligence

Posted by Cliff Locks On July 31, 2019 at 10:04 am / In: Uncategorized

Delivering an amazing life breakthrough in your intelligence

In the coming decade, we may soon begin connecting our brains to an AI.

Elon Musk’s company Neuralink just announced groundbreaking progress on its “Brain-Computer Interface” (BCI) technology, striving towards a 2 gigabit-per-second wireless connection between a patient’s brain and the cloud in the next few years.

Initial human trials are expected by the end of 2020. Long-term, Elon expects BCI installation to be as painless and simple as LASIK surgery (a thirty-minute visit, no stitches or general anesthesia required).

Over a decade ago, Ray Kurzweil predicted that our brains would seamlessly connect to the cloud by 2035. Even considering his 86% prediction accuracy rate, this prediction seemed somewhat ambitious. But Neuralink’s recent announcement adds significant credence to Ray’s prediction and timeline.

In the long-term, the implications of high-bandwidth BCI are extraordinary. Nothing is more important to a company, nation, or individual than intelligence. It is the fundamental key to problem-solving and wealth creation, and underpins the human capital that drives every company and nation forward.

BCIs will ultimately make the resource of human intelligence massively abundant.

In this blog, I’ll be exploring:

  • Neuralink’s groundbreaking advancements;
  • Roadmaps for BCI;
  • Implications of human capital abundance & the future of intelligence.

Let’s plug in…

Neuralink Update

Beyond the pioneering technology itself, Neuralink has a compelling business plan.

The company’s brain implants, connected via Bluetooth to an external controller, are designed to first treat patients with cervical fractures and neurological disorders, allowing them to restore somewhat normal function. Long-term, they will be made available to the general population for enhanced capability, or to enable AI enhancement of our brain.

In the company’s first public announcement, Elon outlined three main goals of Neuralink’s device:

  • Increase by orders of magnitude the number of neurons you can read from and write to in safe, long-lasting ways;
  • At each stage, produce devices that serve critical unmet medical needs of patients;
  • Make it as simple and automated as LASIK.

The three-pound organ within our skulls that we call the brain is composed of 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses, encompassing everything we see, feel, hear, taste, and remember. Everything that makes me, me, and everything that makes you, you.

In the near-term, Neuralink aims to restore function to those patients who have suffered brain and spinal injuries, helping reinstate their ability to feel and regain motor agency. Beyond such use cases, however, Neuralink ultimately strives to achieve a full “symbiosis with AI,” according to Elon. He makes the important distinction, however, that merging with AI will be an option — not a requirement — in the future.

BCI devices will serve as the brain’s tertiary “digital superintelligence layer,” a layer we arguably already experience in the form of phones, laptops, wearables, and the like.

Yet as explained by Elon, “the constraint is how well you interface — the input and the output speeds. You have a very slow output speed, with typing on keys. Your input speed is faster due to vision.”

Neuralink will eradicate these barriers to speed, providing instantaneous, seamless access to an abundance of knowledge, processing power, and even sensory experience.

Understanding the Hardware

One breakthrough enabling Neuralink’s technology is the development of flexible electrode “threads” with a diameter measuring one-tenth the width of a human hair (4 – 6 μm in width, or the approximate width of a neuron). These can be inserted into the uppermost levels of the human cortex and interface (read & write) with neurons.

1,024 of these threads attach to a single small Neuralink chip (“N1”) that is embedded into the skull, just below your scalp. Each of the N1 chips collects and transmits 200Mbps of neural data, and up to 10 such chips (implanted into a patient) allow for the grand total of a 2Gbps wireless connection. The wireless connection is then made via Bluetooth to an ear-mounted device that connects this brain data to the cloud.

Enter an era wherein users can control their brain implants via an iPhone app. Or imagine the 2030 generation of iPhones (if iPhones are still around), revamped to include a separate App Store: Brain Edition.

Given the threads’ infinitesimal size, large number and flexibility, Neuralink had to developed a special purpose, high-precision robot to perform the thread insertion procedure.

Within the procedure, a mere 2mm incision in the scalp and skull is needed for each implant, small enough to be closed with crazy glue. Minimizing risk of brain trauma, the robot’s 24-micron needle is designed to precisely place threads and avoid damaging blood vessels. In initial quadriplegic patients, one array will reside in the somatosensory region of the brain and three in the motor cortex.

As summed up by lead Neuralink surgeon Dr. Matthew MacDougall, “We developed a robotic inserter that can rapidly and precisely insert hundreds of individual threads, representing thousands of distinct electrodes, into the cortex in under an hour.”

Progress in Neuralink’s labs has been fast and furious. Over the past two years, the size-to-performance ratio of Neuralink’s electrodes has improved seven-fold.

Recalling Ray Kurzweil’s prediction of high-speed BCI by 2035 (only 15 years from now), how far can the technology go in this short timeframe?

Well, let’s consider that if chip performance doubles every two years, we are about to witness a 128X improvement in the technology over the next 15 years.

For perspective, remember that the first-generation iPhone was only released in 2007 — just a dozen years ago — and look how far that technology has traveled!

Bolstered by converging exponential technologies, BCIs will undoubtedly experience massive transformation in the decade ahead.

But Neuralink is not alone….

While there are likely dozens of other top-secret BCI government ventures taking place in the U.S., China, and Russia, to name a few countries, here are some of the key players driving the industry in the U.S.:

(1) Kernel is currently working on a “noninvasive mind/body/machine interface (MBMI)” that will be able to receive signals from neurons in far greater numbers than the 100 neurons that current neuromodulators can stimulate.

Kernel’s CEO and my friend Bryan Johnson aims to initially use the neuroprosthetic to treat disorders such as Alzheimer’s, strokes, and concussions. Yet long-term, Johnson envisions the technology will also help humans keep up with the rapid advancement of computation.

(2) Facebook announced in 2017 its work on a noninvasive BCI that would integrate with the company’s augmented reality headset, providing a “brain click” function at the most basic level. According to Zuckerberg, the BCI can already distinguish if a user is thinking about an elephant or a giraffe, and it will ultimately be used for type-to-text communication.

“Our brains produce enough data to stream 4 HD movies every second. The problem is that the best way we have to get information out into the world—speech—can only transmit about the same amount of data as a 1980s modem. We’re working on a system that will let you type straight from your brain about 5X faster than you can type on your phone today,” as explained by Zuckerberg in a post.

(3) CTRL-Labs, a startup founded by the creator of Microsoft Internet Explorer Thomas Reardon and his partners, is now developing a BCI moderated through a wristband that detects voltage pulses from muscle contractions.

The group aims to eventually detect individual clusters of muscle cells so that users can link imperceptible movements to a variety of commands.

(4) One of the earliest BCI benefactors, DARPA has funded BCI research since the 1970s, aiming to use the technology in recovery and enhancement. Yet recent advancements remain under wraps.

(5) While most of the invasive BCI technologies mentioned here await human trials, BrainGate has already demonstrated success in humans. In one iteration of their technology, researchers implanted 1 – 2 electrodes in the brains of three paralyzed patients. The implants allowed all three to move a cursor on a screen by simply thinking about moving their hands. One participant even recorded eight words per minute.

This astounding feat, possible with just two electrodes, suggests tremendous promise for the thousands of electrodes that Elon plans to achieve in Neuralink’s devices. While FDA approval for human trials will likely take time (Neuralink has primarily tested their technology in mice and a few monkeys), use in human therapeutics is now finally on the horizon.

How much time?

Financial analysts forecast a $27 billion market for neural devices within the next six years. Elon anticipates reaching human trials by the end of next year. And by 2035, the technology is set to achieve low-cost, widespread adoption.

Neuralink’s high-bandwidth brain connection will exponentially transform information accessibility. Thought-to-speech technology will allow us to control avatars — both digital and robotic — directly with our minds.

We will not only upload photos and conversations to the cloud, but entire memories, ideas, and abstract thought. Say goodbye to Google search and 2D screen-confined engines as we adapt to querying directly from our brains.

And for those of you worried about Terminator-like scenarios of AI’s destruction of the human race, BCI will offer us the potential to join tomorrow’s intelligence revolution, rather than be crushed by it.

Closing Thoughts…

Every human today is composed of ~40 trillion cells that all function together in a collaborative fashion, constituting you, me, and every person alive.

One of the most profound and long-term implications of BCI is its ability to interconnect all of our minds. To share our thoughts, memories, and actions across all of humanity.

Imagine just for a moment: a future society in which each of us are connected to the cloud through high-bandwidth BCI, allowing the unfiltered sharing of feelings, memories and thoughts.

Imagine a kinder and gentler version of the Borg (from Star Trek), allowing the linking of 8 billion minds via the cloud and reaching a state of transformative human intelligence.

For those concerned about the domination of AI (i.e. the Terminator scenario), take some comfort in the notion that it isn’t AI versus humans alone. A new version of Human Augmented Intelligence (HI) is just around the corner.

Our evolution from screens to augmented reality glasses to brain-computer interfaces is already beginning. Prepare for the accelerating pace of groundbreaking HI.

Board of Directors | Board of Advisors | Strategic Leadership

Please keep me in mind as your Executive Coach, openings for Senior Executive Engagements, and Board of Director openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way. Email me: Cliff@InvestmentCapitalGrowth.com or Schedule a call: Cliff Locks

artificialintelligence #AI #innovation #HR #executive #business #CXO #CEO #CFO #CIO #executive #success #work #follow #leadership #corporate #office #luxury #entrepreneur #coaching #businessman #professional #aviation #excellence #development Contributor: Peter Diamandis #motivation #InvestmentCapitalGrowth

Continuing Education is a Priority for the Executive Suite and Board Members

Posted by Cliff Locks On July 24, 2019 at 10:06 am / In: Uncategorized

Continuing Education is a Priority for the Executive Suite and Board Members

How ‘Boards That Learn’ Elevate Themselves and the Organizations They Serve.

Qualified is no longer a destination, but more so a continuous journey. There was a time in the not-so-distant past that dictated that once you ‘reached’ a new professional level or title, it was yours to keep – forever. No additional strings attached or hoops to jump through. After all, you paid your dues and earned your status, right? Not so much anymore… Constant technology advancements, the increasing availability of relevant decision-making data, and even the speed of change itself have all accelerated, relegating previous knowledge and experience to a potentially lower status of importance when evaluating the entire picture. Having ‘reached’ a level of decision-making leadership importance with disregard for ongoing learning, new skill attainment, or knowledge-honing is a dangerous belief and can be a premonition of poor future personal and company performance, especially within the Board.

Darwin Smith, when reminiscing on his extraordinary performance as CEO of Kimberly-Clark, stated, “I never stopped trying to be qualified for the job.” This led his insatiable appetite for continuous learning and solicitation of feedback, which ultimately transformed the sputtering and shrinking industrial giant into the number one paper-based consumer products company in the world. “Business is not about profit. It’s about personal and organizational greatness” – no doubt fostered by a corporate environment of continuous learning and employee personal growth.

Benjamin Barber, the late eminent political theorist, once said, “I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures, I divide the world into learners and non learners.” What Benjamin realized and so eloquently summarized is the principle of true learning and the fact that it is perpetual. There is no end to the process. A person, or group, that knows how to learn, understands the importance, and makes it a priority is a much more informed, resilient, and effective decision-making entity.

Of the 80+ Boards, Board Members, executives, and organizations I work with yearly in my Board consulting practice, including select programs focused on Board continuing education, I am still (visibly) surprised by the lack of discipline in many Board’s and Board Member’s continuing education priority. In more extreme cases, Boards and Board Members feel that they have already learned all they need to know to properly govern a company or effectively weigh in on the corporate strategic plan. These are truly tests of my emotional intelligence and mindfulness as I carefully craft my responses to move continuing education up the Board totem pole.

Group learning sessions with your Board are one of the best ways to collectively educate while simultaneously building Board camaraderie. The number of instances where I am requested to speak on a variety of topics at Board meetings are increasing, a sign that some Boards are making an effort to infuse continuous learning directly into their existing and allocated Board meeting time. In Betsy Atkins’ July 9th, 2019 Forbes article entitled ‘How To Run An Effective Board Meeting,’ she suggests, “At least twice a year, include outside experts in your board meetings. Instead of a board dinner, bring in a meal and have an expert cover topics such as the future of your industry, technology changes impacting your business or corporate governance trends such as ESG or Activism.”

“It is incumbent on boards to ensure they are current and directors should always be learning,” states Jane Davel, Non-Executive Director specializing in Board governance and marketing. “Continuing professional development should be a discussion item at the Board table on a frequent basis.” Unfortunately, this is not always the norm due to increasing Board meeting agenda topics, pressing and urgent matters requiring resolution, meandering discussions, and the common misperception that Board Directorship is a task and not a discipline. Some Boards, however, have bucked this trend by offering yearly education stipends to incentivize ongoing learning. These Boards have realized that continually educating their Board Members not only increases their collective effectiveness, but also raises job satisfaction. Additionally, education components leading to accreditations or continuing professional education credits (CPEs or PDUs) can raise company perception when earned Board-related certifications are proudly displayed on public company proxy statements.

“High-performing Boards demand more from their Directors and Advisors. For example, do Directors have enough understanding of how digital business models, digital ecosystems, and the hyper-scaling of digital platforms is facilitating rapid growth to help reinvent the corporate business model?,” rhetorically asks Cliff Locks, a Board Member at Investment Capital Growth. “The science of building a high-performing Board and delivering superior shareholder value over the long-term needs to include continuous assessments and ongoing education.”

This education includes learning about the advancements in AI and innovation. Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft Cloud and AI Group, told WSJ Pro AI, at the end of last year how AI can be at the center of companies’ efforts to digitally transform themselves. Excerpt from Mr. Guthrie’s conversation then: “Every organization is trying to digitally transform themselves, and really do it on at least four dimensions. One is how they can connect better with their customers. Two is how they can connect better to their employees. Three is how do they transform their operations and be more efficient in terms of how they run the company. And then fourth is typically how do they transform their products and services,” Mr. Guthrie said. “We often show this view of a clover of four petals, and at the center is really data, and AI, the ability to take data, and get insight from it and then drive actions that transform each of those four initiatives.” When you need help reach out to Cliff Locks, for strategic consulting.

The balance of expertise, experience, and certification (education), something I like to call the ‘Career Trifecta,’ is extremely important for all professional positions, including Board Directorship. For Board candidates, probe for their level of understanding and proficiency of this important balance and check for their desire to continuously learn. For existing Board Members, leverage continuing education opportunities to raise proficiency and performance levels. The benefits are immense.

How are you prioritizing your Board’s continuing education?

Reach out directly to my good friend Mark A. Pfister to discuss Board Continuing Education single session topics or ongoing Board education programs with his ‘Board of Directors Meeting Facilitation & Continuing Education’ offering and National Speaking Tour topics.

Board of Directors | Board of Advisors | Strategic Leadership

Please keep me in mind as your Executive Coach, openings for Senior Executive Engagements, and Board of Director openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way. Email me: Cliff@InvestmentCapitalGrowth.com or Schedule a call: Cliff Locks

#leadership #business #CXO #CEO #CFO #BofD #Entrepreneur #WSJ #VC #socialmedia #Diversity #BigData #CorpGov #elearning #innovation #AI #ArtificialIntellegence #Marketing #Periscope #Recruiting #technology #startup #HRTech #Recruitment #sales #Healthcare #cloud #work #motivation #InvestmentCapitalGrowth

Tokenizing the World with Blockchain

Posted by Cliff Locks On June 19, 2019 at 10:05 am / In: Uncategorized

Tokenizing the World with Blockchain

These five ideas convey an overriding truth. In our world of escalating change, the core principles of strategy have not only remained the same; they are now more important than ever for creating enduring success.

In almost every industry you can think of, blockchain is poised to cut out middlemen, dramatically improve transparency, and multiply the efficiency of countless transactions worldwide.

While most well-known for its application in cryptocurrencies, blockchain is on the cusp of fundamentally revolutionizing supply chains, healthcare, elections, and real estate. 

But what is blockchain, and how does it work?

Blockchains emerged in 1991 as a way to timestamp digital documents, but became much more widely-known in 2009 when “Satoshi Nakamoto,” whose true identity is disputed, used blockchain to create the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

A blockchain is a decentralized database shared across a network of computers, or “nodes,” that can only be altered after approval from all nodes in the system. Once information is created in a blockchain, it is very difficult to change.

Each block within a blockchain contains (1) data, (2) the hash, or a digital fingerprint of the block, and (3) the hash of the previous block. Different types of data can be stored within blocks, such as the sender, receiver, and transaction amount in the case of Bitcoin. A block’s hash, which is generated based on the data within that block, changes if its data is altered.

Blockchains are extremely secure for several reasons:

  • Because each block contains its own hash and the hash of the previous block, changing one hash will make the rest of the blockchain invalid.
  • Proof-of-work is a mechanism that slows the creation of new blocks, requiring about 10 minutes per block in the case of Bitcoin. This delay makes it extremely difficult to recreate an entire blockchain after changing the data of one block.
  • Consensus models vet computers seeking to join the blockchain with proof-of-work and proof-of-stake tests. Proof-of-work tests require nodes to solve computational challenges in exchange for tokens, which can then be used in proof-of-stake tests to purchase entry into a blockchain. 

Next 5 “Blockchain Breakthroughs” (2019-2024):

One of the most successful entrepreneurs in government and enterprise technology, Eric Pulier is my go-to expert on all things blockchain. The best-known venture capital groups in the world have financed companies that Pulier has founded or co-founded, including MediaPlatform, US Interactive, Desktone and SOA Software.

“Blockchain is a new way of looking at value and a new way of creating a transaction between parties where you don’t need a third-party intermediary and can track things and really have trust.”

— Eric Pulier, Founder, CEO, vAtomic

In the next five years, Pulier predicts five blockchain trends, each poised to disrupt major players and birth entirely new business models by 2024.

Let’s dive in…

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)

An NFT is a token on the Ethereum blockchain that contains unique metadata that differentiates it from other tokens. While currency is fungible and can be easily transferred, NFTs can be used to store much more complex and individual-specific information.

Government documents such as marriage certificates, land registrars, food-grade ratings, and driver’s licenses can all be tokenized using NFTs. In retail, consumers can use blockchain to verify the legitimacy of luxury goods. Digital goods and tickets can easily be stored as NFTs on blockchains.

Pulier predicts, “Now, the token, which is like a Bitcoin, can be a ticket, or a coupon, or a collectible. It could represent a real world good, like a coffee or a piece of art. So, what you’re going to see is the emergence of an entirely new space where non-fungible tokens are going to completely change the economy.”

Security tokens

Security tokens are cryptographic, programmable securities that serve as an asset that can also take action. Security tokens can pay dividends, pay interest, or even invest in other tokens or assets, among other functions. Smart contracts, for instance, will allow assets to automatically pay dividends on a specific date if criteria are met.

As Pulier explains, “Most of the tokens that you might be familiar with are called utility tokens, and they don’t represent a piece of a real world object or of an actual equity. Security tokens are now emerging this year.” Security tokens have huge potential to decrease liquidity issues but will require additional infrastructure to take hold, such as their own exchanges, Security Token Offerings (STOs), and wallets.

Tokenized assets 

“Everything that you can imagine that doesn’t have liquidity is going to be fractionalized and tokenized and put on exchanges,” predicts Pulier. Over the next five years, security tokens will start to represent a new form of liquidity in assets that traditionally have lacked liquidity, such as real estate or art. Pulier anticipates these assets will start trading 24/7, 365 days a year.

Malta and Switzerland lead the way in developing infrastructure for tokenized assets. The U.S. SEC and EU’s ESMA have begun issuing comments about plans to put regulations in place. 

Self-sovereign identity

As cyberattacks continue to proliferate, new forms of identity verification will leap onto the scene to protect users. Self-sovereign identity will allow users to maintain a single digital identity across multiple platforms while selecting the information they wish to share on each. This mode of interaction would drastically transform the current digital marketplace that has turned personal data into a commodity.

“Identity is going to be returned through blockchain back to the individual so that the individual will own their data and then be able to marshal it out based on what’s best for them as opposed to how Facebook or Google or other people may want to exploit it,” says Pulier.

In 2014, identity assurance processes cost the U.K. a staggering £3.3 billion. Self-sovereign identity would significantly reduce these costs as well. In e-commerce, online logins will be exponentially more secure and efficient. For financial services, Know-Your-Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) work will be transferable from one bank to another, decimating costs. In healthcare, self-sovereign identifies will put medical history records back into the hands of individual patients, and transparency of permissioned access will become the new standard.

Free speech

“Blockchain allows you to have an immutable record, something that no government can tear down no matter what, because a distributed ledger all over the world is going to undermine the despots, undermine the organizations and the governments that want to clamp down on free speech, and coupled with ubiquitous bandwidth, create a world where everybody is going to be able to have a voice. No speech is going to be able to be brought down or in some way kept away from the masses,” predicts Pulier.

The trend away from hierarchical societies towards networked structures has become increasingly prevalent over the last few decades. Blockchain will only accelerate this transition across the globe, unleashing profound social impacts. Enabling trust within vast networks of decentralized control, blockchain is about to unlock a phenomenon that few human societies have ever achieved before.

Final Thoughts

Operating as peer-to-peer decentralized “digital ledgers,” blockchains will reduce the spread of corrupted information, increase transparency, witness multiplied efficiency in countless processes, and cut out unnecessary intermediaries across almost every industry. 

Within supply chains, blockchains will seamlessly record each touchpoint of an item, increasing production transparency for buyers who wish to make more informed purchase decisions. For elections anywhere, blockchain is poised to decentralize the voting process while maintaining fidelity to prevent election hacks. And in real estate, property record histories stored on blockchains will decimate time invested in due diligence and financial verifications. 

At the individual level, blockchain technologies will allow you to more easily verify your identity, share your health records, maximize gain from your financial assets, and track the origins of your every purchase. 

And at the broader societal level, blockchains will catalyze a sweeping shift away from hierarchical structures towards democratized networks at larger scales than ever before experienced by humankind. A next-generation tool capable of maintaining trust in large populations, blockchain will define a brand new order.

Board of Directors | Board of Advisors | Strategic Leadership

Please keep me in mind as your Executive Coach, openings for Senior Executive Engagements, and Board of Director openings. If you hear of anything within your network that you think might be a positive fit, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way. Email me: Cliff@InvestmentCapitalGrowth.com or Schedule a call: Cliff Locks

#blockchain #bitcoin #cryptocurrency #crypto #ethereum #btc #money #litecoin #bitcoins #forex #cryptonews #bitcoinmining #eth #trading #bitcoinnews #cryptocurrencies #altcoin #blockchaintechnology #coinbase #business #cryptotrading #investment #technology #entrepreneur #trader #ripple #investing #ico #xrp Contributor: Peter Diamandis #HR #leadership #business #CXO #CEO #CFO #BofD #Entrepreneur #WSJ #VC #socialmedia #Diversity #BigData #CorpGov #elearning #Marketing #Periscope #Recruiting #technology #startup #HRTech #Recruitment #sales #Healthcare #cloud #work