Don Tapscott

    One man’s mission to make sense of our future is changing the way we think on a global level

    By Sheila Graham on December 5, 2013

    When people still referred to it as the “World Wide Web” and there was no Google, Facebook or iAnything, Don Tapscott, ’78 MEd, ’01 LLD (Honorary), channelled global anxiety into excitement. As the world entered a brave new millennium, his books The Digital Economy (1995) and Growing Up Digital (2000) defined the Net Generation, and his research calmed readers with the possibilities of the Internet.

    Tapscott became, quite simply, the world’s leading authority on the impact of technology.

    His work continues to explore the seismic impact of worldwide information sharing. He is a member of the World Economic Forum, an elite group of business, government and civil society leaders who meet to consider the major global issues of the day and to brainstorm solutions. His book Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World (2010) has been described as “nothing less than a game plan to fix a broken world.”

    Preferring the term “the age of networked intelligence” to the Information Age, Tapscott uses humour to drive home his findings. “These kids [of the current generation] have no fear of technology … sort of like I have no fear of a refrigerator.” And although it has been said that he can predict the future, Tapscott has declared, “The future is not something to be predicted, but rather something to be achieved.”

    His latest, Radical Openness: Four Unexpected Principles For Success (2013), co-authored by Tapscott, looks at how secrets and privacy are being shed by major corporations as they release patents and share intellectual property.

    In November, Thinkers50 listed him as No. 4 on the list of the most important business thinkers in the world, and honoured him with the Global Solutions Award.

    Once again he’s telling us that every facet of our lives — from the way we do business to whom we choose to govern us — is changing. We would do well to listen.