For founder, funder and futurist Nicklas Bergman, turning down the opportunity to invest in both skype and Spotify at an early stage was both “painful and a good learning experience”. Speaking at the itag AtlanTec Festival, Bergman highlighted how he was asked to become an early investor in both Swedish start-ups, which went on to become multi-billion-dollar companies.
“I said no, and it is painful when I look at this now,” Bergman told participants in his talk entitled Navigating the Tech Storm. The long-time member of the European start-up scene showcased this example to demonstrate how timing in technology is key.
For Bergman, looking at how global mega trends are fuelled by technology and its ability to change the way we live, work and interact is vital to understanding its central role in modern society. He encouraged business owners to be “curious” about wider technological advancements and advised the implementation of a three-way process to navigate the speed of innovation – analyse, assess and adapt.
Advances in high-speed communication will be pivotal to the future of work as 5G provides more immersive experiences. As new ways of high-speed communication are created, companies will have to evolve to embrace this change. Larger organisations have already reacted to this development by sending micro-satellites into space. The need for a stable connection will become even more prominent as advancements in communication drive innovation.
Bergman identified the area of energy as a primary focus over the coming years, with “lots of interesting things happening here”. Significant investment is taking place in battery technology, wave energy and fusion as sustainability takes centre stage. Mobility solutions such as electrical scooters, the promise of autonomous driving, jet packs and electrical flights – essentially cars with wings – will push changes to our behaviour forcing businesses to adapt.
“I don’t see fully automated driving happening anytime soon,” Bergman told participants of the AtlanTec Festival, “not the backseat driving we were hoping for. It is happening, but it will take longer than we thought. Once it happens, it will change our behaviour in many ways.”
Advancements in genetics will have a significant impact on society and enterprise. Investment in technologies to increase our lifespan is at the forefront. As people live longer, there will be a knock-on effect for pensions, even marriage, according to Bergman. He understands the ethical considerations within the field and encouraged participants of the AtlanTec Festival to draw their own conclusions. Progress around automation is “moving quite rapidly” for Bergman, who views investment in artificial intelligence as “a bubble”. He told participants that “we have a long way to go before we get useful AI systems on a larger scale.”
For Bergman, technology can change the business model of an entire industry. Businesses need to understand how new developments will impact their strategy in order to thrive.