Teasing out the technology drivers

If I started a conversation with you by stating ...

online revenue, cloud computing, social media, ubiquitous connectivity, data handling, on-demand services & the real-time web

... besides looking at me askance, you'd probably assume I was talking about technology.

You'd be correct, but in fact these are just some of the most significant drivers we've singled out for further analysis from the 58 initial technology and internet trends we've spent the last month looking at here at 3S4.


I know.

That's what our first reaction was too, but let's not get distracted by the numbers. At least not this particular number.

I know that's easy to say, but one of the reasons I was so pleased to be invited to work with the Foresight Team for this project was their dual insight - and re-assurance. Firstly, that not only will technology increasingly matter in this sector over the next five years but that, secondly, spending time now on capturing & updating our guidance on the key drivers in this dynamic, partially chaotic, sometimes confusing and always challenging area (remember 58?) would be of real benefit in helping both organisations & their users begin to see some of the strategic issues & opportunities they may face in the near future.

And that's really what this is about.

The technology is important.

No getting away from it. It matters and will continue to do so however complex or perplexing or alienating it can sometimes seem. It is - and needs to remain - a core part of any organisations infrastructure. However, what's of equal value is recognising how your staff, your beneficiaries, the volunteers, fundraisers, advocates - and yes, perhaps even any dissenters - actually use the technological tools you do (or don't) provide them with.

Does that matter?

I'd suggest it does. One of the key 'high-level' themes to emerge from our work investigating and reviewing such a range of technology trends was how both the technologies themselves - and our attitudes towards using them - increasingly revolve around engagement, that is, adopting and interacting with the technology with the explicit desire to inform, disseminate, facilitate, converse, learn, share and empower. Data is still at the core of these processes, but it's no longer static - it's a dynamic set of artifacts, products & services that people want to produce, consume & interact with.

Bearing that in mind, what numbers matter? Well, not the 58. It's really the network numbers we should be mindful of. The multiple individuals and groups who currently constitute your organisation's network and whom you support directly through the technology strategy you put in place.

Thinking it through with us

As we release our revised technology drivers over the coming weeks I hope you'll find them both stimulating and informative and - if you'd like to join us for a more immersive discussion - please enquire about our Changing ICT: What will it mean for your organisation? seminar in December in which we'll investigate some of our key drivers in more detail through discussions, presentations and 'hands-on' exercises with a range of industry experts and commentators.

Guy's been working with the Foresight Team since July on reviewing and updating Third Sector Foresight's technology drivers. Guy has over a decade's web & online experience and also consults on futures and strategic foresight issues.

You can follow Guy via his blog or on Twitter

Last updated at 18:09 Mon 12/Apr/10.
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Kathryn's picture


Third Sector Foresight

If you want to grill Guy in person on these and other trends in the technology arena, then book a place on our seminar on 8 December. An afternoon of interaction and thinking, Changing ICT:what will it mean for your organisation?, will be a valuable chance to get to grips with this ever-changing topic.

Read more about the seminar here: (free for Foresight network members!)

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