A few weeks ago, I attended Boston Blockchain Association’s virtual meet-up, “Blockchain Platforms: Head-to-Head Comparisons,” featuring a side-by-side comparison of some of the leading blockchain platforms and discussion around how to define the “best” when it comes to platforms. It naturally led to an in-depth conversation about web 3.0, as blockchain is a key enabler of and considered foundational for web 3.0.

When we think about the next industrial wave, and future of work, it’s clear the pace of change has accelerated at a previously unimaginable speed. Futurist Madhav Kunal wrote “Humanity will witness perhaps 300 years of change in the next 10 years and 1,000 years of change in the next 20 years.” But it will likely happen faster!

When it comes to the web, we are rapidly moving through our current era of web 2.0, characterized by social platforms, mobile technology, and cloud, and moving closer to web 3.0, fueled by emerging technology advances like AI, edge computing, IoT, augmented reality, and decentralization of data. In layman’s terms, the new paradigm will see a convergence of machines and apps that bring data closer to the source of usage and reclaim personal ownership of the data itself. The implications of this shift will likely disrupt many of today’s www givens. A divergence away from social media platforms that exploit our personal data to generate advertising revenue is just one use case.

For many of us and society in general, the advantages of the shift to web 3.0 include:

  • Reduced latency—think IoT, autonomous automobiles, and so on
  • End user complete ownership and control of their data with security encryption
  • An ability to access data anywhere at any time
  • Increased personalization and user experiences
  • Users driving content, trade, and exchange of knowledge
  • Accelerated, new, and disruptive business models, just like Airbnb and Uber shifted traditional businesses over the past decade

There are so many factors accelerating the web 3.0 movement, from the pace and depth of disruption to our interconnection and dependency on technology and web to the gradual progression towards individuals reclaiming “their data” and shifting towards open ecosystems of public/shared information. The new paradigm will put technology back in hands and under control of the end users. It will involve the convergence of virtual and digital worlds. And it will create new use cases for technology.

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So why does this matter, particularly to business leaders?

As technology norms shift dramatically to more open and less control by tech giants, mid-market companies will be able to compete in a completely different and perhaps fairer environment. Total experience will emerge as the primary expectation, and require a balance of science (data), art (creativity and ingenuity), and social responsibility. Companies will retain and earn new market share due in part to “how” business is conducted while openly communicating and standing behind their “why.” In addition, as data returns to each of us for ownership, we in turn participate in the “Internet of People” which is clearly an opportunity for continual business model reimagining.

Here are 3 things we can all do as leaders today to prepare for the next wave of innovation with 3.0:

  1. Embrace Client-Centricity: Is your organization operating with a client-first lens? How recently have you critically examined key business workflows, organizational design, and your operating model? Is it built for business efficiencies inwardly or designed for client ease of use and constant-value-driven? Unexpected dips in revenue or market share may be lagging indicators of systematic fissures or inconsistencies surrounding a client-first focus. Shining a flashlight may reveal that nuanced adjustments are required, or that an overhaul is vital.
  2. Think Total Experience: TX is about more than individual experience pillars—customer, employee, product, stakeholder, etc. Rather, TX is about adopting and choosing a whole-experience approach to business strategy, innovation, technology, and culture. It accounts for the interdependencies within your organization and correlates the cause and effect among your experience pillars. TX embraces the notion that personalized and differentiated “client experience” is at the heart of business growth, but most companies struggle to analyze disparate information or correlate the impact of CX metrics (such as churn or LTV) with EX metrics.
  3. Data, Data, Data: While reimagining “the business” is about ingenuity and creativity, harnessing data scientifically balances the equation and creates powerful insights when organized correctly. Data sources are ever-expanding while varying data types add to the complexity. The next wave of innovation, fueled by web 3.0, will be accelerated through the analytics of accurate, reliable, and relevant information. Our dependency, vested interest and investment into data is months away from reaching an all-time high. Now is the perfect time to make sure your organization has an existing data strategy and approach in place.

Many are beginning to refer to web 3.0 as the next industrial wave; its ability to positively shape business, experience, and users is vast. As leaders, we need to start asking: what can we do today, and what should we focus on next, to prepare for the next wave of innovation.


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