Simon Wardley is a researcher for the Leading Edge Forum focused on the intersection of IT strategy and new technologies. Simon is a seasoned executive who has spent the last 15 years defining future IT strategies for companies in the FMCG, retail, and IT industries—from Canon’s early leadership in the cloud-computing space in 2005 to Ubuntu’s recent dominance as the top cloud operating system. As a geneticist with a love of mathematics and a fascination for economics, Simon has always found himself dealing with complex systems, whether in behavioral patterns, the environmental risks of chemical pollution, developing novel computer systems, or managing companies. He is a passionate advocate and researcher in the fields of open source, commoditization, innovation, organizational structure, and cybernetics.
Simon’s most recent published research, “Clash of the Titans: Can China Dethrone Silicon Valley?,” assesses the high-tech challenge from China and what this means to the future of global technology industry competition. His previous research covers topics including the nature of technological and business change over the next 20 years, value chain mapping, strategies for an increasingly open economy, Web 2.0, and a lifecycle approach to cloud computing. Simon is a regular presenter at conferences worldwide and has been voted one of the UK’s top 50 most influential people in IT in Computer Weekly’s 2011 and 2012 polls.
Deng Xiaoping once described managing the economy as crossing the river by feeling the stones—in other words have a direction but be adaptive. But in a world of constant change, how do you determine the right thing to do? Which pebble to tread on? How do you understand where you’re going and where you need to go? How do you know if your strategy is right? Is there even such a thing?
Simon Wardley examines the issue of situational awareness and explains how it applies to technology. Using examples from government and the commercial world, he explores how you can map a complex environment, identify opportunities to exploit, what techniques to use and learn to play the game.
In this workshop, we examine the subject of situational awareness within business, explaining why it matters and why most companies lack it. We explore how to map a competitive environment, how it can be exploited, how practices evolve and how certain types of disruptive change can be anticipated and defended against.
Drawing on examples from heavy engineering projects, to governments, to software companies such as Canonical, Simon demonstrates how mapping can be used to rapidly change the fortunes of a project, reduce costs and outplay competitors with startling results.
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