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Larry Downes, Future Speaker

Larry Downes

    Leading E-commerce Strategist; Author, Unleashing the Killer App
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Larry Downes Speaker Biography

Co-Author of Unleashing the Killer Apps: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance. The book describes how executives can redefine the rules of their companies, industries, and relationships by acknowledging digital technology as the leading source of business disruption today, and provides twelve fundamental design principals for developing killer apps. Larry Downes is a consultant and speaker on the Impact of digital technologies on business strategy. He is a senior lecturer at Northwestern University, where he teaches technology, strategy, and law, and a fellow with Diamond Technology Partners and its Diamond Exchange, an Interdisciplinary roundtable for senior executives working to develop digital strategies.


  • The Emerging Science of Services
    After 100 years of product-focused engineering, the rise of a software and information-based economy has spurred the development of a new science—a science of service design, delivery, and optimization. Services science, for obvious reasons, is closely associated with the emerging services-oriented architecture familiar to IT professionals. This talk outlines the basics of the two, and their overlaps and divergences.
  • Strange Tales of the Supply Chain Revolution
    The exploding availability of information in standard formats from the beginning to the end of the supply chain is leading to new opportunities for collaboration, new sources of revenue, and, at the same time, tremendous tension among long-time partners. The driver of this revolution, of course, is the continuing price/performance improvements in core IT, including the introduction of low cost RFID tags. This talk describes the nature of the coming revolution, highlighted with three stories of organizations in very different industries that have either shown early promise or suffered early casualties.
  • The New Laws of the Jungle
    As information moves to the center of the global economy, problems at the intersection of law and business innovation are becoming more frequent and more dangerous. Executives at all levels of the organization, and not just in the legal department, need to understand the sources of these new conflicts, both to avoid stepping on landmines and perhaps even to learn how to include legal strategies in the overall strategy, as many organizations have already done with great success.
  • The CIO’s Role in Corporate Strategy
    Over the last ten years, CIOs in organizations large and small have been called on to take a more active role in the development and execution of corporate strategy. For many CIOs, this has proven to be the turning point. Those who are prepared to take a seat with fellow executives have found rewarding new career opportunities; those who have been unable to make the change are increasingly finding themselves in out-sourcable positions. This talk introduces some of the more important tools IT executives need to know about, including the development of an innovation portfolio and a technical and organizational architecture suited to rapid change, if they are to thrive in the new environment.
  • The Next Generation in Computing
    A seismic shift in information technology is taking place, equivalent in importance (and disruption) to the move during the 1980’s from mainframes to client-server. Larry Downes discusses seven key features of this new architecture and how companies can begin today to transition to it. More to the point, why should they?
  • Public Choice and Corporate Responsibility: The New Technology Dilemma
    History has shown over and over that preemptive regulation of emerging technologies does more harm than good, yet corporations and their trade associations often miss the chance to shape government decisions. How can you recognize the potential for your business of the latest technologies—whether stem cells or fuel cells—and work today to form the best public policy solutions to their development and regulation?
  • “Extreme” Collaboration
    The increased availability of transaction data from an exploding set of sources is enabling a new generation of business applications that will revolutionize the supply chain, breaking many old links even as it forges new ones. As data breaks down barriers within and between organizations, what are the possibilities for “extreme” collaboration?
  • The Strategy Machine: The Merger of Planning and Execution
    As in many previous technological revolutions, the difference between winners and losers boils down to successful, sustained execution and the discipline of strategy. Some companies have learned that in times of accelerated transformation, the only way to succeed is to remove the obstacles to change and integrate planning and execution as never before.
  • Building an Information Supply Chain
    History teaches that the development of new business infrastructure is harder than it looks, but once it’s done, surprising new applications and new sources of wealth result. Across industries, improved information flows and the introduction of disposable computing directly into consumer goods is creating a parallel supply chain built on information about the underlying transactions. In many industries, this information supply chain will be the future source of profits. How do you position yourself today to thrive in that future?
  • The New Industrial Revolution
    Clear away the debris of the boom-and-bust cycles of information technologies, and you find profound transformations going on across industries--transformations driven by information technology innovations that go well beyond the Internet. Larry Downes argues that sooner or later every industry will wake up and find itself, like the character in Franz Kafka’s novel “The Metamorphosis,” changed into a cockroach. What are the stages of change? What are the warning signs that the hard parts are upon you? What are the tools executives need to thrive in the emerging new industry structures? Is being a cockroach such a bad thing after all?
  • Unleashing Killer Apps: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance
    What are “killer apps” and how can you be an exploiter rather than a victim of them? The key concepts of digital strategy are introduced and highlighted with numerous examples from start-up and traditional businesses.
  • The Transformation of Industry
    The information revolution is not simply about merchants selling goods and services to consumers over a new channel, but a profound transformation of every step of the supply chain. What are the warning signs of an impending meltdown, and how can you position yourself to take maximum competitive advantage of the emerging industry that is evolving around your business?
  • Twelve Design Principles for Launching New Ventures
    Based on research over three years and over 100 companies, Larry Downes has developed twelve fundamental design rules for developing ventures, both for traditional companies as well as start-ups. The principles are introduced and demonstrated with numerous, current examples from his on-going consulting work.
  • Digital Strategy and the Customer: From Relationship Management to Partnership and Collaboration
    The digital revolution is giving new power and a new voice to customers, overcoming long-standing obstacles to organizing and tapping the expertise and desire they bring to interactions with you. Forget about call centers and “customer relationship management.” The time is now to begin building true communities of value in which customers form partnerships not just with suppliers but with each other as well.
  • Obstacles to Catalysts: Overcoming Strategy Inertia
    Once the great ideas are uncovered, the hard part really starts. Larry Downes explores eight surprising obstacles to the successful launch of new ventures, including human capital, marketing, regulation, organization, culture, and finance. Strategies for identifying and overcoming these obstacles are demonstrated through current examples and case studies.
  • The Crisis in Financial Services
    With the accelerating deregulation of the financial services industry, it becomes clearer that the invisible hand shaping the new industry to emerge has been and will continue to be digital technology. How can banks, insurers, brokers, traders and other players in the old world make the transition to the new world and even improve their competitive position in the process?
  • Killer Apps: The Social Dimension
    Digital technology is having a profound effect not just on the world of commerce but on social interaction as well. Larry Downes talks about the economics of communities and why they will become the true engine of value creation in the increasingly digital world. What are the expectations and abilities of the next generation of customers, managers, and entrepreneurs? How will they compete against the “digital homeless”?

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