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SES London Day 1 – Future Forward – Shifts in the Digital Revolution

Dave Coplin, Microsoft’s Chief Envisioning officer opened SES London today with a dialogue aimed at opening our eyes and minds to a potentially different future. Technology has moved on enormously but we still approach the use of it in an old fashioned way. What would be possible if we would break that pattern and what would it mean to consumers and businesses?

Know what the World of the Web is? It’s the World Wide Web moved on. Search results that show your friends’ recommendations which add a human, personal touch to help your decision making. Knowing what an area exactly looks like (curbs, stairs etc.) may help someone that is wheelchair bound to easily navigate to a certain location. Coplin says the analogue and digital worlds are blurring and search is at the very heart of this as the internet becomes less about finding and more about doing. This social revolution of the web and understanding it opens up huge opportunities for customers and businesses alike.


Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft

Today you can use your phone and an app such as Bing translator to understand what a street sign means abroad or even have it talk in a foreign language more or less ‘on your behalf’. Nut allergy and no idea what the French menu says? No problem anymore. So far so smart – but are our smart phones truly smart Coplin asks? It knows a lot about you and your surroundings but still waits to be instructed by you.

In the late nineteenth century the typewriter (which had been kicking around from 1866) received an update to its keyboard in 1874 called ‘QWERTY’ designed to stop the keys getting jammed. Since then – despite huge technological advancements – nothing changed. Never thought of it in this way? We didn’t but isn’t that incredible?

Coplin says ‘the way technology has changed our lives over the past 30 years is incredible, but in reality, it’s nothing compared to what we could achieve if we are able to open our minds up to different ways of working and living. Envisioning helps us see the possible, such that we can decide what might be most appropriate for us. It’s a way of focusing on outcomes rather than products or tactics’.


For too long we haven’t changed the way we do things – we need a change of mindset

Instead of doing things the way we have always done them – we may want to look at what outcomes we desire and what today’s technology could allow us to do to make that happen. What might people want to use technology for?

Someone in the audience asks how Coplin sees brands transform taking this in mind ‘social and mobile offer you the chance to add humanity to your response – think of that and the outcome of your efforts will be different – we need a chance of mindset’