At G2 Innovation, we were excited to be a part of the Bendigo Invention and Innovation Festival. It was great to see so many dynamic speakers gathered in a regional city, and we were honoured to kick off proceedings with the inaugural keynote address.

I was lucky enough to spend the day attending talks, listening to seminars and generally keeping my ear to the ground for exciting tidbits that I could share with our G2 community.

Here are 5 of the key themes and take aways from the day.

Smart cities are about people

Adam Fennessy, a partner in EY’s Advisory Practice, gave a great definition of a smart city – a city that connects the city with its people through technology.

We couldn’t agree more with this  human-centred approach to smart cities.

We often hear smart cities defined as a city that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, improve quality of services and welfare, but where are the people in this definition?

Technology is an enabler for living a better life, and it’s not just smart cities we are building, it’s smart communities. Keeping humans at the centre is crucial to the viability, take-up and success of smart cities.

The web has three stages so far…

The web is in its infancy and we are yet to see its full potential. How exciting is that!? We are entering stage 3 of the world wide web. When you look at the web like this, it is a fast-moving machine and it’s just getting started.

WEB 1.0 1900 – 2000
Infrastructure era
Static web pages, niche, dial-up connection, people ‘went online’.
Key players - Netscape, AOL and Altavista

WEB 2.0 2000 – 2010
Dynamic web, social media, e-commerce, seamless with mobile, people no longer ‘go online’ but are always connected. 
Key players - Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter.

WEB 3.0 2010 – now
Payment infrastructure embedded at protocol level, Smart Contracts, removing intermediaries.
Key players – Bitcoin, Ethereum and Satoshi Nakamoto. 

WEB 4.0
What’s next…?

Cryptocurrency is for dummies

When the guy talking about cryptocurrency uses an analogy to simplify his point and it flies so far above your head you can’t even see it, you’d be forgiven for believing bitcoins, tokens and altcoins are not for you.

If you don 't understand cryptocurrency, don’t panic - you haven’t missed the boat, it is still in the infrastructure phase, the ‘battle’ phase. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency with no central point of control (such as a bank) and is maintained by the people within the widespread cryptocurrency community using blockchain technology. Bitcoin was the first in 2008, but over 4000 altcoins (cryptocurrencies) have followed, many of them dubbed shitcoins.

We don’t need to know or understand the inner workings of it, cryptocurrency will be something we all use. Just as we may not know about the technology under the bonnet of the car, we still drive them every day.

James Simpson from Apollo Capital suggested that we’re building the foundations and infrastructure of a skyscraper. It seems to be in the construction phase for a long time but then the skyscaper suddenly appears in the skyline as if it has always been there. So too with cryptocurrency, it is in its infancy.   

Will there be farms in the future?

Jess Reesby from Reesby IT made a prediction that farms may not even exist in the future. She was referring to fully-manufactured meat – meat from a factory instead of a farm.

I’m not sure I can fathom this, but it is certainly thought-provoking. Producing beef and milk is one of the primary causes of C02 emissions, our farmers right here in Australia are currently experiencing drought directly linked to climate change, so maybe there is a place for mass-manufactured meat.

Nevertheless, there are many other opportunities for farmers. The modern-day farmer can use data, drones and blockchain to great impact. Consumers want to know the origin and the ingredients of their food, and farmers can readily access tech to do this.

It’s interesting to consider what the future of farming might look like. 

Disruption is normal

G2 Innovation’s Andrew Jones said it in his keynote and there was consensus across the board. We need to get used to disruption.

Disruption is a word we hear quite a bit, and with synonyms like distort, damage and warp, it sounds like a negative, but it’s not and we have nothing to fear.  The new thing has been disrupting the old thing since cave people started drawing on cave walls instead of the floor.  Disruption is just change, jazzed up for dramatic effect.

Disruption is also predictable. There are signifiers everywhere - we just need to know where to look. A good place to start? Take a look at trends and how they’re changing people’s behaviours. They’ll give you insights into what your customers will want and need very soon, if not already.

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