Don Tapscott, CEO of The Tapscott Group, is one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology on business and society. He has authored 18 widely read books and coined many of the key concepts that define the digital age. It is hard to imagine anyone who has been more prolific, profound, and influential in elucidating today’s technological revolutions and their impact on the world.
Don has been advancing groundbreaking concepts for over 3 decades. His 1993 bestseller, Paradigm Shift, helped coin this seminal management concept, and The Digital Economy, written in 1994, changed business thinking about the transformational nature of the Internet. Three years later he popularized the terms “net generation” and “the digital divide” in Growing Up Digital. His book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything has been translated into over 25 languages and was the best-selling management book of 2007 on Amazon.
In 2016, Don and his son, fellow Leigh Bureau speaker Alex Tapscott, authored Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Underlying Bitcoin is Changing Business, Money, and the World. The book sold over half a million copies and is, according to Harvard Business School’s Clay Christensen, “the book, literally, on how to survive and thrive in this next wave of technology-driven disruption.” His most recent book, Big Ideas: Chancellor Don Tapscott Speaks to a New Generation, is a collection of speeches from his tenure as the 11th Chancellor of Trent University.
In 2017, Don and Alex co-founded the Blockchain Research Institute whose 150+ projects are the definitive investigation into blockchain strategy, use-cases, implementation challenges and organizational transformations. Together with Coursera and BRI’s founding academic partner INSEAD, the Institute has created several online courses introducing blockchain applications for different industries to over 250,000 learners.
Don Tapscott is a member of the Order of Canada and was ranked the second most influential management thinker in the world by Thinkers50 before he was inducted into the Thinkers 50 Hall of Fame. He is a valued advisor to corporate CEOs, university presidents, and governments around the globe. His insights have been featured in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Financial Times, and USA Today, and he is a frequent guest on programs on CNN, NBC, CBS, NPR, and the BBC. He is a verified Top Voice on LinkedIn with over 750,000 followers. In over 30 years as a speaker, he has delivered more than 1,000 keynotes and has been a TED speaker twice and spoken at The Business Council four times. Don is an Adjunct Professor at INSEAD and Chancellor Emeritus of Trent University in Ontario.
Towards a New Social Contract for the Digital Age
In 1994, Don Tapscott published “The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence” with excitement about the Internet and its endless capacity to deliver information and foster global collaboration, to bring new freedom and prosperity for all who could access it. On the other side of that coin was concern for the dangers it could bring. 30 years later, everything he forecasted has come to fruition—the good and the bad. Today, we stand on the threshold of an explosive second era, bringing a truly epic series of technological eruptions that, if harnessed, can help business, government, environmental, and civil society leaders alter the trajectory of our species and many others. But the dark side looms as never before. AI and Web3 are challenging everything we know about what it means to be human, how economic systems function, how we communicate and conduct business, and eradicating not just jobs but entire industries. We must also reckon with the fact that AI will be used by evil people for unscrupulous purposes. We need to do more than “buckle up” for the bumpy road ahead. To ensure the prosperity of humanity, we must reimagine our social contract—the basic expectations between business, government, and civil society for a new digital age and develop a set of strategic initiatives to achieve it. In this presentation, Don Tapscott introduces six critical challenges where we can apply technology, new laws and institutions, and new forms of cooperation to realize the principles of freedom, justice, fairness, self-government sustainability, and interdependence. He also explores the broader changes and agreements required, presenting a framework for a new “Declaration of Interdependence.”
Web3: Thriving in the Next Era of the Digital Age
There is widespread concern about the impact of the Web and technology at large on our lives. Our privacy is being undermined. Big Tech is too powerful. Social media is harming our children. AI may destroy civilization. Even the founder of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners Lee, has said his vision of the Web has been corrupted. But we have the opportunity to right these wrongs with Web3. The first era of the web allowed the presentation of information via web sites. The second era enabled collaboration through apps—but tech companies captured and monetized our data, resulting in many of the problems we’re seeing today. Web3, the “ownership web,” makes us owners of our data and the content we create and allows us to store and transfer assets from money to art and music securely and without invasive intermediaries. It promises to readdress many of the biggest challenges of our current digital age. Shaped by technologies like blockchain, AI, the Internet of Things, extended reality experiences, as well as the new business configurations and social behaviors that emerge because of them, Web3 is changing every industry from financial services, supply chains, government, and beyond. In this presentation, Don Tapscott provides a roadmap for businesses to get ahead of the curve and thrive in this next era of the Internet.
Metaverse – Competing Visions and the Way Forward
The Metaverse is an idea whose time has come. The pandemic accelerated a blurring of boundaries between our online and real-world lives. Technologies like virtual reality, blockchain, and digital currencies enable virtual worlds that were simply not possible before. Citi predicts the metaverse will be worth $13 trillion by 3030 which, for perspective, approaches China’s current GDP. As companies like Meta (formerly Facebook) and smaller decentralized players race to create the dominant virtual hubs for play, work, learning, shopping and, yes, living online, the question arises: who will create the Metaverse? Will it improve or degrade our experience in the real world? Will life in the Metaverse see the replication of the kinds of online harassment and discrimination we’re familiar with? Or will it offer a fresh slate for a fairer and more equitable online experience? How do we ensure that our virtual future is a better one? What are the roles for Metaverse providers, governments, regulators, and others? Don Tapscott explores all these questions and more in this thought-provoking talk that leaves audiences buzzing about the possibilities ahead.
Technology and the Crisis of Legitimacy of Democracy
The digital age was supposed to improve government operations, strengthen democratic institutions, and enable citizens to be engaged in their own governance. The opposite has occurred. Trust in politicians and the legitimacy of our governments is at an all-time low. Technology has exacerbated this crisis as unscrupulous politicians and demagogues use it to fragment society, spread false information, and mobilize extremists. A third of Americans view the 2020 election as “stolen” and the country is at its most divided since the Civil War. We cannot continue to live like this. The old solution: We need to fix democracy. The new perspective: We need a new model for democracy enabled by new technologies. The first era of democracy created representative institutions that failed due to passive citizens and politicians beholden to powerful funders and special interests. The second era of democracy in the digital age must be based on integrity and accountability, with stronger, more open institutions, active citizenship, and a culture of public discourse and participation. In this presentation, Don Tapscott walks audiences through what it will take for politicians to find the will and means to address this crisis, and how AI, Web3, and virtual worlds can support a new democracy that citizens actually trust and believe in.
Recovering our Digital Identities
Data, the main asset of the digital age, is created by citizens but captured by large companies and governments. "Surfing the Internet" has become "serfing the Internet," throwing off our data for the Internet landowners to harvest and create wealth. All this data is the stuff of our identities – creating digital mirror image of each of us. In a 1996 book about privacy Don Tapscott called this “the virtual you.” Citizens create it, but it is expropriated by companies and governments meaning that we can’t monetize it or use it to plan our lives and that our privacy—the foundation of freedom—is being destroyed. Some say governments need to solve this problem through laws such as the GDPR. Don Tapscott argues that while laws are necessary, they’re insufficient because the issue of data is about more than privacy protection. Individuals should be able to capture, own, control, manage, and profit from the data they create from the moment of their birth. New technologies like blockchain, AI, and Web3 make this possible. According to Tapscott, data ownership starts with every human having an AI-powered, digital, self-sovereign identity that is neither bestowed nor revocable by any central administrator and enforceable in any context, in person and online, anywhere in the world. In this talk, he shares his vision for a world where we’re empowered to manage and monetize our data and protect our privacy, while outlining how we get there.
Culture Needs a New Business Model. Could New Tech Help Rather than Harm?
The threats posed by generative AI and other new forms of technology go far beyond just writers and actors. Streaming has slashed revenue for musical composers, songwriters and performers. Thousands of jobs in traditional journalism have vanished. Artistic works can be copied and sold without proper attribution or compensation. Legions of technical writers and corporate content creators face similar risks from tools like Scribe, ChatGPT, and Jasper. But imagine a world where technology protects your creativity. In this world, technology would make it virtually impossible for anyone to profit from your work without your permission. Instead of making it easier for people and corporations to steal, copy or monopolize your creative work, technology would empower you to control the destiny of your efforts. A world such as this would recognize and honor the essential value of creativity to human culture. It would protect artists and creators by default, instead of putting their livelihoods at risk. Is this a pipedream? Or are initiatives underway showing precisely how new technology can be part of the solution rather than the problem?
Cryptocurrencies, Digital Assets, and the Reinvention of Financial Services
The technology likely to have the greatest impact on the financial services industry and the world of business has arrived. It’s not peer-to-peer lending, mobile banking, robo-advisors, or even artificial intelligence. It’s blockchain, the technology behind digital currencies like Bitcoin. All financial assets, from money and securities to contracts, deeds, and intellectual property are becoming digitized. To meet this moment, the financial services industry needs a new transactional architecture, a new ledger of accounts, a database, a notary, a sentry, and clearing house—all achieved through consensus mechanism. Don Tapscott examines the technology’s potential to make financial markets radically more efficient, secure, inclusive, and transparent. Customizable to meet your audience where they are, Don can address limited views of fintech; how blockchain works and how it’s disrupting different aspects of the financial services industry; opportunities in the space for incumbents and startups alike; investing in cryptocurrency and the dark side of the technology; government regulation of digital currencies; and how all these factors impact industries beyond financial services.
Towards Intelligent Supply Chains
The global supply chain is a $50 trillion industry. It is the foundation of commerce and our global economy. The pandemic revealed all its weak links, as manufacturers scrambled to find new suppliers when their Asian sources shut down leading to mass shortages of consumer goods and hoarding of limited essentials. Too many parties still coordinate and conduct their transactions through a Byzantine network of computer systems with disparate applications like e-mail, phone, and fax. It slow, expensive, and very serial in nature. Enter blockchain: the Internet of Value fortified by AI and the Internet of Things. In this talk based on his 2021 book “Supply Chain Revolution,” Don Tapscott explores how distributed ledgers—combined with the Internet of Things, AI, machine learning, robotics, sensors, and GPS—will transform the global flow of assets of all kinds and improve operations, logistics, and inventory management, making the whole network more adaptable and responsive to demand and crisis.
Winning in the Second Era of the Digital Economy – 30 Year Retrospective
2024 marked the 30th anniversary of Don Tapscott’s book “The Digital Economy,” the first bestseller about the Web. Since then, significant advancements have occurred, including the emergence of AI, the Internet of Things, extended reality, and blockchain. We are entering a new age where people participate peer to peer in the economy as never before. New forms of collaboration are changing how we invent, design, produce, market, and distribute goods and services globally. The conclusion? An alternative enterprise is emerging—one that is more decentralized than ever, that can innovate, create value, orchestrate capability, and build relationships differently from enterprises in the first era of the Internet. In this talk, Don Tapscott argues that the very idea of the corporation is undergoing its biggest change in a century. These changes bring forth far-reaching opportunities for wealth creation in every organization, but they also pose challenges that must be managed. How can companies, governments, and nations succeed in this new world? How can firms find the visionary leadership necessary to drive this transformative change?
Solving the Problem of Fragmented Public Discourse
The media of the industrial age has unraveled, and public discourse has fragmented. Many people live in echo chambers and have no interest in understanding those with differing opinions and life experiences. Unscrupulous people use media to spread false information about everything from climate change, science, medicine, and public education. A lack of governance of digital platforms leads to online spaces that fuel extremism and create irreparable harm in the real world. How do we inform ourselves as a society when generative AI, deep fakes, and conspiracy machines make it nearly impossible for citizens to distinguish the truth from the lies? In this talk, Don Tapscott outlines a comprehensive strategy to navigate the evolving landscape of information, ensuring an informed society capable of critical thinking and resilient against the challenges posed by advancing AI technologies.
Re-industrializing the Planet for a Digital Green Economy
The Internet and related technologies enabled outsourcing, the globalization of supply chains, and an economic boom that had disastrous effects on our climate. The fragmentation of public discourse enabled myopic, unscrupulous, conflicted, or power-hungry politicians and beneficiaries of fossil fuels to deny basic science, spread misinformation, and sow confusion about the true problem and dangers we’re facing. Previous attempts to address the existential threat of climate change brought about corporate carbon taxes. But if we hope to truly reduce carbon emissions 90% by the year 2050, the global economy must be reengineered around climate action, engaging all levels of business, government, and society in much the same way the world has mobilized during wars or the recent pandemic. In this talk, Don Tapscott explores how AI and Web3 technologies can serve as the foundation for resilient infrastructure that facilitates the trusted global data sharing, automation, and agility we need to succeed in an environment where crises are the norm.
Managing the Power of AI
AI and other second era technologies are reshaping markets and economies with astonishing speed. These newer technologies are also redefining what it means to be human. While AI presents us with unprecedented opportunities to enhance our human capabilities, the extreme pace of this genuinely transformational change presents many unknowns. What does the second era mean when technology can mimic and exceed people in creative endeavors and interactions once thought to be uniquely human? Will pervasive AI diminish our ability to think critically, solve problems independently, and engage in meaningful human interactions? Don Tapscott explains how we need a new paradigm for stewarding new technology. If our goal is ensuring that AI and the second era amplify human potential while preserving the values that make us inherently human, then we must work together globally to create and enforce practical rules for governing the proper use of AI. In this talk, Tapscott outlines the concept of a Second Era of Technology Bill of Rights—a set of common practices that individuals and organizations must follow to code safety, reliability, security, privacy, anti-bias, fairness, and other rights of living species into technology solutions from the initial stages of the software development process, not at the end.
Don Tapscott's keynote address, "Macrowikinomics - Innovation and Competitiveness in the Age of Collaboration" at our ev
We've had a lot of keynote speakers over the years, but never one that was so relevant, appropriate, powerful and enjoya
Don — I had the pleasure of attending your presentation this morning. I am thankful that you have taken the time and th
Don Tapscott has done it again and this time, you should all take notice! The man has reinvented himself, extending his
Don Tapscott is a masterful story teller. His talks are compelling because he conveys his messages in a language that ev
We really enjoyed listening to Mr. Tapscott. His speech was brillant and everyone was thrilled because of his charming c
In my four years at [...] working as the lead on booking author/speakers I can say Don is by far the best. His talk was
He was widely thought to be the BEST speaker we have EVER had. Period. The founder of [the company] pronounced in front
Our conference has just ended — it was a great success. Don is amasing person — very good speaker, with perfect contact
Don did a great job (as he did the first time I used him). He was well prepared and gave in-depth, useful information. H
That's what I expect in a keynote. Well presented, visionary, entertaining & some good thinking to take home.
Thank you again for helping to make our conference a success. Don Tapscott was incredible — so engaging. The attendees
Don's superbly delivered keynote address directly impacted the overall success of our national conference. His comments
• Great job can't wait to read the book! • Truly inspirational. • Loved the websites I've never heard of. • Outstandi
Don's keynote during the [...] Forum truly resonated with our theme of Coexistence. His presentation was thoughtful and
A brief note to thank you personally for your central role in making our recent customer event such a success. Your comm
As Global Curator and opening keynote speaker for 2012, Don Tapscott enlightened and inspired thousands of people around
Don is really great on stage and his unique perspective on market trends and their global impact is impressive and spell
Everything went excellently with Don. He was very gracious and really went above and beyond to make it a good experience
I have been holding customer conferences and summits for over 12 years and have had the opportunity to meet and listen
I have been holding customer conferences and summits for over 12 years and have had the opportunity to meet and listen t
I have been holding customer conferences and summits for over 12 years and have had the opportunity to meet and listen
I've heard Don Tapscott called ‘the Peter Drucker of the 21st century’. After reading his books and hearing his compelli
Conference participants found the most value in Don's presentation "Harnessing the Power of Mass Collaboration" as it r