Careers: Interviews
Don Tapscott, the World's Foremost Authority on Business Strategy; Chief Executive of International Think Tank, New Paradigm; Best Selling Author; Top-Ranking Speaker and Thought Leader

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., DF/NPA, MVP, CNP has an exclusive interview with Don Tapscott.

Don TapscottDon Tapscott, one of the world's leading authorities on business strategy, is Chief Executive of international think tank New Paradigm. Founded in 1993, New Paradigm produces groundbreaking research focused on the role of technology in productivity and business design, effectiveness and competitiveness.

Tapscott recently completed a two-year, $8 million investigation of how firms will innovate in the 21st century entitled, "IT and Competitive Advantage", funded by 30 global corporations. The project continues in 2007; and "The Net Generation Strategic Investigation," focuses on the impact of the Net Generation as consumers and employees. The global phase of this program is now in progress.

Tapscott is the author of 11 widely read books about information technology in business and society, including "Paradigm Shift", "Growing Up Digital", and "The Naked Corporation". His new book (January 2007), co-authored with Anthony Williams, is "Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything". His work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist, Optimize Magazine, CIO Magazine, Wired and other prominent publications.

Don Tapscott is one of the world's most sought-after speakers, keynoting over 1000 conferences, executive planning sessions and other gatherings since New Paradigm was founded. He has presented to over half of the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies, and has shared the stage with Heads of State such as President Bill Clinton, CEOs such as Sam Palmisano (IBM), Steve Balmer (Microsoft) and A.G. Lafley (Procter & Gamble), as well as social leaders such as Klaus Schwab (World Economic Forum) and Linus Torvalds (Linux). The prestigious Leigh Lecture Bureau praises him as an "enthralling, brilliant and inspiring orator". Don is often described by customers as the most effective speaker they have ever had.

Tapscott is adjunct professor of management at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. His clients include top executives of many of the world's largest corporations, and government leaders from many countries. He holds a master's degree in Research Methodology and two Doctor-of-Laws (Hon).
Full biography is available at:

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

00:45: You recently completed a two-year, $8 million investigation of how firms will innovate in the 21st century entitled, "IT and Competitive Advantage", funded by 30 global corporations. Can you share some insights from this project?
"....the corporation as an institution is changing quite fundamentally in terms of its architecture, deep structures, in terms of its modus operandi, the way that it operates, the way that it engages the rest of the world. In fact, we are moving to a new model of the enterprise, or Enterprise 2.0 as you might call it, and this is all enabled by IT in general and by the new web in particular...."

02:58: The project continues in 2007; and "The Net Generation Strategic Investigation," focusing on the impact of the Net Generation as consumers and employees. The global phase of this program is now in progress. What does this all mean for industry, business, government, education, media, and internationally?
"....we are interviewing 10,000 young people between the ages of 13 and 29 - these kids are current because they are the first generation 'bathed in bits'.......These kids are the initiators; they are online with multiple windows, chatting with their friends, thinking, reading, organizing information, collaborating, and composing their thoughts, authenticating, searching.....They are coming into the market place .....and in the marketplace they are very different...They are not susceptible to traditional broadcast advertising so companies need new ways of getting to them...."

04:59: Are there any additional ways in which this group can be engaged?
"...They are affecting every institution in society so the method of learning is all's a broadcast model based on the lecture...(in which the notes of the lecturer go to the notes of the student without going through the brain of either)..."

09:27: Can you talk about your company and are there any current projects that would be of interest to our business and technology audience?
"...We have this government 2.0 project...we are continuing our work on the net generation...we are also picking up the whole topic of talent, (as these kids come into the workplace they are different)...we are continuing our work on IT and competitive advantage and the program called Enterprise 2.0...additionally we have a big initiative we call the Dub Dub Dub (Wiki Workplace Workshop)....... "

11:25: You have authored many books, with predictions well in advance, sometimes more than a decade ahead of the marketplace. For example, your work in 1981 about the Internet, and then mid-90s' about privacy are examples and additionally, your work on digital capital. Can you comment on these and others that stand out?
"...I suppose you can interpret that as being ahead of my time, but sometimes I think that being early is almost as bad as being wrong....I co-authored a book with David Ticoll four years ago about transparency is in force in the economy, it's called the Naked Corporation. The book did okay (at the time), but just in the last month it was the cover story on Wired Magazine (4 years later)....Where were they 4 years ago?...On the other hand, if I could go back and do all over again, I probably wouldn't change a lot...Every one of these books represented a very big idea..."

13:02: What is quite remarkable is that your new book, co-authored with Anthony Williams, "Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything", has really hit the mark and with perfect timing . Can you comment on its release in 2007?
"....the book has become part of the vernacular....This has happened to me a few times in the past, with some big ideas we came up with, that we had some role in the creation of the notion of the paradigm shift in business, the idea of the digital economy, of disintermediation and re-intermediation, the idea of the digital divide.....I'm very proud that Wikinomics has become such a big people use the term and they don't even know where it came from..... there is a whole concept of a life of its own. That's very exciting when that happens because it means you have become influential and you get to change the course of things and we care about that a lot around here...."

15:28: You talk about the perfect storm: a coming together of revolutions in technology, demographics, social, and economic. Can you provide further insights into this?
"...It's those four issues, we have the new web (ie. a platform for collaboration as opposed to a platform for presentation);.....we have the rise of the net generation (the first generation to grow up digital);.....there's a social revolution (My Space is growing at 2 million members a month; 80% of college students in the US and Canada are on Facebook, there is a blog on every second of the day, 24 hours of the day, Time magazine picks "You" (the online collaborator) for Person of the Year);....and there is the economic revolution (the vertically integrated corporations are unbundling into focus corporations)...."

18:03: You talk about moving beyond using the Web for websites and social networking but as a basis for production and mass collaboration. You also speak about moving away from vertically integrated corporations. You give examples such as the China motorcycle industry; Boeing 787 Dreamliner; P&G leveraging 1.5 million chemists; �. Underlying all these concepts is this concept of a wiki and you've indicated that they are not suited for opinion or exclusive contribution. Can you explain this further?
"...Wikis, of course, is just one of the technologies we are talking about and the reason that I came up with this concept of wikinomics is because Wikis are a metaphor now for mass collaboration. But when implementing wikis you need a broader strategy and the place to start is a pilot with young people where you have some fairly factual-based information rather than information that is highly rich in opinion...."

19:41: The last chapter of Wikinomics says: "Join us in peer-producing the definitive guide to 21st Century Strategy at" Can you elaborate where you see that going?
"....We are also creating all kinds of wikis and collaborative tools whereby our clients can co-engage with us....As for the book itself we are continuing to plug away at that and it continues to generate interesting insights. Related to that is another project that we have been supporting and that is to create a book and it is called "We are smarter than Me".....the book was created literally by thousands of people....."

21:22: You are definitely a leading thought leader, well-respected and highly regarded by governments and industry. There is a huge following in terms of your work. Throughout this journey there must be at least one story that has surprised you, or was unexpected or humorous.
"I think that the most surprising thing in this journey has to do with kids and in particular my own kids.........These kids have no fear of really struck me that these kids are going to change the world....."


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