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Larry Downes      

Expert on Developing Technologies in an Age of Constant Disruption; Author of "Unleashing the Killer App"

Larry Downes is an expert on developing business strategies in an age of constant technological and legal disruption.

Downes is author of the New York Times and Business Week business blockbuster, "Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance," which has sold over 200,000 copies and was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the five most important books ever published on business and technology.

His new book, “Pivot to the Future," written with Omar Abbosh and Paul Nunes, details a dramatic new approach to strategy and execution for businesses that are facing constant technological disruption, which, increasingly, is all of them.

His other books include the best-selling “Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in an Age of Devastating Innovation," “The Laws of Disruption” and “The Strategy Machine."

He writes regularly for The Harvard Business Review, Forbes, The Washington Post, and CNET, covering the intersection of technology, politics and business.

He has written for a variety of other publications, including The New York Times, USA Today, Inc., The Economist, Wired, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Recode, The Hill, Congressional Quarterly, Slate, The European Business Review, The Boao Review and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Downes has held faculty appointments at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, and the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where he was Associate Dean of the School of Information. From 2010-2019, he was project director at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy. From 2006-2010, he was a nonresident Fellow at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society.

Speech Topics

Unleashing the Killer App.

Based on his bestselling book, Larry Downes provides a framework for rethinking the nature of business in today's wired economy, with digital strategies for market dominance. The goal is to take advantage of new technologies to create new goods and services and to thrive in, not just endure, the new business environment. Topics include intellectual capital as a source of new products, building an information supply chain, and overcoming obstacles to corporate transformation.

The Laws of Disruption.

With technology as the driving force for growth in almost every industry, the intersection of business strategy, technology, and law affects nearly everyone. Any organization that has regular interactions with customers in an online environment has an interest in addressing these issues. Larry Downes explains that as Americans spend more of their time living digital lives, organizations will no longer have sole authority over the way their business is run. Organic change, developed in concert with consumers, is more likely to be the future. Downes provides strategies for anticipating customer needs, and staying ahead of changes in regulation. He addresses privacy issues, copyrights, patents, software and more, with case studies from companies like Facebook, Google, and Research in Motion.

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?

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?

Technology Against The Law: The Coming Regulatory Nightmare And How To Stop It

Technology revolutions create regulatory chaos, perhaps never more so than today, as new developments in information technology, biotechnology, materials, energy and other fields challenge long stable social and political assumptions. Companies that hope to benefit directly or indirectly from innovation need to understand this accident-prone intersection and take seriously their obligations to educate governments and consumers about the risks of reflexive 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 change, the only way to succeed is to remove the obstacles to change and integrate planning and execution as never before.

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Five Things Your Competitors Are Doing To Prepare For The Inevitable Economic Recovery (And Why You Should Do Them Faster):

Shorting the future is never a good strategy, especially during down periods in the business cycle. Leading companies are already reorganizing themselves and making investments today which will position them as leaders in the eventual recovery of their industries. What are they doing and why must you do it too?

Next Generation Technology And Its Impact on Strategy:

A seismic shift in computing architecture is taking place, equivalent in importance (and disruption) to the move during the 1980s 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?


Larry Downes works directly with clients to develop content that is focused on the industry, company or theme of the event. Detailed current company examples are used to make the message as concrete and immediate as possible. Each presentation is a custom product. For illustration, recent talks have included:

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Who's still offline and why? The real reasons | Internet & Media ...
analysis The latest Pew Internet survey provides important insights on who's still not using the Internet...and why. Read this article by Larry Downes on CNET ...

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