Tag Archives: social networking

Understanding The Challenge Of Short Attention Spans

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Image – “Linked In” – Bristin Appukuttan

WASHINGTON TECHNOLOGY” – By Mark Amtower

Next time you have something to share, people are likely to remember that you make your point quickly, and they may be more likely to give you another look. Violate that by boring them with verbosity or rehashed ideas and you are toast.

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“From 1989 to 1995, HBO presciently produced a comedy that predicted a phenomenon beyond our control, the ever-decreasing attention span. The show, Short Attention Span Theatre, soon become known as SAST (representing yet another growing phenomena- the acronymization of our language…talk about a short attention span).

As one might surmise from the name, SAST was a series of short skits and interviews, many of which were LOL (sic) hilarious. Among the hosts was a rising comedic star, Jon Stewart. This was eminently watchable TV for the simple reason that things happened quickly, and if you only had a few minutes to spare, you could watch, laugh, and move on without fear of missing a plot twist. Look it up on YouTube- it stands the test of time

I did a little research on attention spans recently and found that some people’s attention spans were now under ten seconds. TEN seconds.

Our attention spans are getting shorter. I won’t speculate as to why except to say that with the various technologies available the craving for instant gratification continues to outdistance our desire for deeper understanding. I’d blame Gordon Moore (see below), but he was simply pointing out the obvious.

Not only are attention spans getting shorter, but the majority of people are multi-tasking, especially the younger ones, which further reduces the attention given to each task.

So now we get to the crux of this matter: in marketing “content is king.” Companies seeking to grow marketshare have an ever-increasing need to put content into the hands of people who make buying decisions. Unfortunately, it’s likely that their audience lacks the time to consume the tons of daily content that’s coming at them from multiple directions.

And, like most, they probably have a shrinking attention span.

So, we have the collision of short attention spans with the desire to get the attention of decision makers, an audience that may or may not pay attention to your content even if it crosses their screen or even lands in their inbox.

Add to this the fact that content is being produced and shared at a breakneck pace. Think of this as Moore’s Law(1) where computing speed is replaced by the amount of content being generated, and instead of doubling every two years (Moore’s original concept), now it takes maybe a couple of months to double the amount of content being generated. As Moore implied, this is not a reversible condition.

With this addition to our “content is king” premise, how do we get the attention of the audience we seek?

Many marketers understand that being concise is key. I call it the word-per-idea ratio (2) where you strive to keep the ratio as tight as possible while retaining the ability to convey a concept. This is why many business videos, podcasts and blog posts are short. It is why I try to keep most of my articles and blog posts to under 500 words. Make one good point and make it fast. Next time you have something to share, people are likely to remember that you make your point quickly, and they may be more likely to give you another look.

Violate that by boring them with verbosity or rehashed ideas and you are toast.

The biggest problem is getting your content in the queue of the decision makers, and this is never a given. Even if it gets in the queue, a variation of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle(3) occurs: the timing– will it be found and read or will it miss being seen because it was not delivered in the venue (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) when your prospect was present?

Short attention spans + so much content + timing issues = black hole absorbing unseen content.

There is no simple solution to this puzzle. However there are ways to increase the odds in your favor, including

  • Try to produce good content that is germane to your audience
  • Only one main idea per piece of content
  • Use a compelling headline or title that highlights the topic you will discuss
  • In written pieces, use graphics
  • Cite original sources as necessary and when you can link to those original sources
  • Hashtag people and companies mentioned
  • Re-purpose the content into multiple formats
  • Place the content in venues where it will most likely find the right audience
  • Place it in those venues more than once (retweeting is great, posting on LinkedIn in different places should work)
  • Send it directly to those you really need to reach IF you have a relationship with them
  • Generate content on a regular basis, not on rare occasion
  • Make certain the content is edited for clarity and grammar
  • Ask viewers and readers to share (“If you liked this, please share it with those who might find it useful.”)
  • Care and feeding of regular viewers/commenters – comment back on comments and remember to say thank you
  • All of your content (or links to it) should be in one location on your web site

Is this too much to keep in mind when producing content? Initially, yes, but most of it becomes muscle memory with practice.

If and when I come up with a more practical solution, I’ll call it Amtower’s Content Marketing Law.

AND, if you like this article, please share it….

This article is an expanded update of: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sast-meets-content-marketing-when-heisenberg-collides-mark-amtower/

(1) Moore’s law: IT executive Gordon Moore wrote in 1965 that the speed of computing would double every two years predicated on the number of transistors a microchip can hold.

(2) I first heard the phrase “word per idea ratio” from Chris Trelease, then with telemarketing firm Sturner and Klein. I worked there while in graduate school and a short time beyond that, and I met and worked with some great people.

(3) Uncertainty principle, also called Heisenberg uncertainty principle or indeterminacy principle, statement, articulated (1927) by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, that the position and the velocity of an object cannot both be measured exactly, at the same time, even in theory.”

https://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2020/03/11/insight-amtower-content-overload.aspx

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mark Amtower
Mark Amtower

Mark Amtower advises government contractors on all facets of business-to-government (B2G) marketing and leveraging LinkedIn. Find Mark on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markamtower.

The Changing Landscape of Business Referrals

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Image: “Rightmixmarketing.com

WASHINGTON TECHNOLOGY” By Elizabeth Harr

“The changing referral landscape means that prioritizing your digital presence is the most effective way to make your reputation visible.

We need to explore an interesting shift in how referrals work — and how to use that knowledge to increase the number of referrals your firm receives.”

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“Referrals are the centerpiece of most professional services firms’ marketing agendas. Everyone wants more of them. But wanting more referrals is not the same as getting more. How do you go about changing the odds in your favor?

The old vs. the new

Traditionally, buyers and decision-makers would find out about firms the old-fashioned way: they asked colleagues for contractors they would recommend, based on their experience using them. In fact, over our years of studying the professional services landscape – government services included – our firm has found that simply asking a friend or colleague has remained the #1 method for finding referrals, time and again.

However, that dynamic is rapidly changing. As shown in the first chart, over the past three years alone, the percentage of buyers who rely on networking and advice from friends has declined by 15 percent (from 71 percent to 60 percent). Here’s what’s so striking: during that same timespan, the use of online searches as a primary means of finding referrals has climbed from 10 percent to 18 percent — a relative rise of 80 percent.

top methods

There are several drivers of this change. For one, executive decision-makers are busier than ever. Time-strapped buyers have found that using online searches — looking for firms associated with keywords related to the specific area of services they need or solution to a challenge they’re trying to address — is a far more direct and efficient approach for building the proverbial short list.

Another driver is that the very nature of what constitutes a referral has changed. Essentially, there are now two major types of referrals. The traditional kind, which I’ll call experience-based, included only those firms that a person had worked with directly. The second of referral that has emerged as firms have become more proficient in their marketing is reputation-based — and more precisely, the visibility of the firm’s reputation for its expertise.

In other words, the data shows that someone who has never worked with you before is still likely to refer you when you show up to the market with a strong brand, high visibility, and/or reputation for expertise. When people see your firm everywhere, it’s only natural that you will come to mind when they’re asked whom they would recommend for services you provide.

What does this look like from the other side of the table — that is, the firms that are being referred? In a related study, we found that 82 percent of experts have received referrals from someone they’ve never worked with, but who have heard of the firm’s reputation for specialized expertise.

Where do these reputation-based, non-client referrals come from? It turns out that only a small portion are based on the person having actually met you at a networking event, seen you speak at a conference, or had another type of face-to-face encounter. Rather, as shown in the second chart, the vast majority are based on a firm’s expertise, and more specifically, the visibility of its expertise — a quality that is most effectively conveyed online.

Where referrals come from

It’s worth noting that not every “great” reputation has the same impact on potential buyers. At the most general level, a contractor could have a reputation as being a “great company,” or having “great people.” But a far more impactful type of reputation is one based on specialized expertise. Consider a government buyer searching for a firm to provide disaster recovery services. They’d be interested in a company that had a reputation as being a great company, certainly — but how much more compelling would be a company that has a strong reputation for its expertise in disaster recovery?

In fact, our data reveals that having visibility for a particular area of expertise generates 61% more referrals than a reputation for simply being “a great company.” One implication of this insight is that relying on traditional, experience-based referrals is capping your ability to bring in new business.

The bottom line

Now let’s bring together the observations discussed above for the real point.

Coupled with buyers’ increasing preference for online searches as they build their lists, the changing referral landscape means that prioritizing your digital presence is the most effective way to make your reputation visible. You can do this by highlighting your expertise through writing relevant, keyword-optimized content and distributing it on your website and various social media channels, as well as getting published as a guest writer on other high-visibility, highly authoritative websites.

By making sure potential buyers know about your specialized areas of expertise, you give them a compelling reason to include you on their next RFP.”

https://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2019/06/07/insights-harr-referral-in-todays-market.aspx

About the Author

Elizabeth Harr

Elizabeth Harr is a partner at Hinge, [http://www.hingemarketing.com/] a marketing and branding firm for professional services. Elizabeth is an accomplished entrepreneur and experienced executive with a background in strategic planning, brand building, and communications. She is the coauthor of Inside the Buyer’s Brain, How Buyers Buy: Technology Services Edition; and Online Marketing for Professional Services: Technology Services Edition. 

Social Media Warriors Leveraging A New Battle Space

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MODERN WAR INSTITUTE” At West Point

China and Russia can attack the strongest tenets of a Western democracy as a way of strengthening their own positions.

Western political and military leaders must account for this “blind spot” by creating new strategies to counter attempts at schismogenesis by China and Russia (and other hostile state and nonstate actors), while enabling civil society to have more resilience against foreign influence.

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Editor’s note: In this article for the US Army War College journal Parameters, Dr. Buddhika Jayamaha and MWI Non-Resident Fellow Dr. Jahara Matisek, demonstrate how adversaries have turned Western civil society into a new battlespace by attacking it through a strategy of schismogenesis.

While there is nothing new about the idea of waging political and information warfare, the rise of the internet in the twenty-first century and the prevalence of social media and other forms of interconnectedness have given hostile actors (e.g., China, Iran, ISIS, Russia, etc.) a new way of attacking the West’s greatest strength: civil society. The societal cohesion and ways in which Americans (and others in Western liberal democracies) organize themselves and positively interact is being fragmented and polarized by nefarious “social media warriors,” backed mainly by anti-Western adversaries, as a way of weakening state and military power.

This is a new twenty-first-century strategy of schismogenesis against Western civil society: creating “extreme rivalry and ultimately [leading] to hostility and the breakdown of the whole system.” Make no mistake; purposeful actions are being taken by China and Russia to degrade civil society in the United States (and allies) as a way of disrupting the normal policy-making progress that typically generates American power and strength in the international system.

The West, in this case, has been unable to respond adequately to the newly weaponized battlespace of civil society. Liberal democracies—unlike authoritarian China and Russia—do not regulate or repress civil society groups.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Click to access 5_Jayamaha.pdf

https://mwi.usma.edu/social-media-warriors-leveraging-new-battlespace/

Why Social Selling Matters In Government Contracting

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Image: Super Office.com https://www.superoffice.com/blog/social-selling-statistics/

“WASHINGTON TECHNOLOGY” By Mark Amtower

“Social selling occurs online in social networks, especially LinkedIn. It is not a “close the deal” scenario. Social selling is an adjunct process that helps open doors and keep them open. “

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“One of the more recurrent complaints when a company is making the “go/no go” decision on a bid is “we’ll lose because the client does not know us.”

I heard Bob Davis say this the first time I saw him speak in the early 1990s and I’ve heard it hundreds of times since, especially when I speak at the APMP-NCA fall conference. If this is a common refrain for proposal professionals, it’s got to be an issue across the board.

Enter LinkedIn and social selling.

Social what? Social selling is the process of getting on the radar of specific niches within the market you serve and staying there in a non-intrusive way, adding value by sharing content, making intelligent comments on group posts, viewing profiles of influencers, reaching out to your first degree connections occasionally, and reaching out to connect with new people when the time is right.What social selling is not is traditional selling.

What social selling is not is traditional selling.

Demonstrating thought leadership and subject matter expertise requires a LinkedIn profile that shows that expertise. LinkedIn also provides a content sharing platform to demonstrate thought leadership.

You can identify most of your government customers on LinkedIn, and while you may not be able to manage them, you can keep them informed on what your company is doing.

LinkedIn provides a platform to demonstrate your points of differentiation. Indeed, those points of differentiation often substantiate your thought leadership position.

Capturing and managing customer data is also a function of LinkedIn. You can see where your prospect/customer has worked previously, how long they’ve been in their current position, and more. This should be helpful when prepping for a sales call.

Lead generation can start with looking up the client organization as a company on LinkedIn and using the appropriate search filters to find key people. All Federal agencies and operating divisions have company pages.

Business development and sales staff should be doing all of the above to enhance their other BD and sales activities.

Moving leads and prospects through the sales funnel starts with the above activity, and then you connect with key influencers and add them to your network.

A few other things social selling can help you with include

  • Account/agency based marketing efforts
  • Establishing and reinforcing your brand
  • Building those oh-so-important relationships

Done well, social selling strengthens the relationship between sales and marketing and makes each more effective.

Social selling may not be traditional selling, but in GovCon, it can take you a long way toward your goals.

Engage with social selling and you can kiss the “the client does not know us” syndrome goodbye.”

https://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2019/02/07/insights-amtower-social-selling.aspx

Mark Amtower

About the Author

Mark Amtower advises government contractors on all facets of business-to-government (B2G) marketing and leveraging LinkedIn. Find Mark on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markamtower. 

“Like” War – The Weaponization of Social Media

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Social media icons internet mobile phone application

Art:  istock

“NATIONAL DEFENSE MAGAZINE”

“A comparatively tiny physical conflict, fought in an area the size of Portland, Oregon, became a global engagement, prompting the exchange of more than 10 million heated messages on Twitter alone.

The lesson was clear: Not only did modern war require a well-planned military campaign. It required a viral marketing campaign as well… “


“The following is an excerpt from the new book LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media and reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 

To many Palestinians who live in Gaza City, Ahmed al-Jabari was a hero: the commander of Hamas, the militant wing of resistance to the Israeli occupation. To Israelis, he was a villain: a terrorist who exploded bombs on packed school buses and rained mortar shells down on cities. But most of all, Jabari was a survivor. He’d lived through five assassination attempts and boasted that he no longer feared bullets or bombs.

His reckoning came on November 14, 2012, as Jabari and his bodyguard were driving down a residential street in Gaza City. High above them, an Israeli Heron drone loitered. Its high-powered camera zoomed in as Jabari’s car sped past a packed minibus and onto a stretch of open road. Then the drone fired a missile.

Jabari never saw the explosion that ended his life, but millions of other people did. Even as his body smoldered, the IDF’s official Twitter account spun into action. “The IDF has begun a widespreadcampaign on terror sites & operatives in the #Gaza Strip,” declared @IDFSpokesperson. Then came an infographic that listed Jabari’s crimes in bullet points, with a big red box reading “ELIMINATED” slapped across his glowering face. After that came the YouTube clip. “In case you missed it—VIDEO—IDF Pinpoint Strike on Ahmed Jabari, Head of #Hamas Military Wing.” You could watch Jabari’s car trundling down the street before it exploded in a ball of fire. You could watch him die as many times as you wanted (the video has since been viewed nearly 5 million times) and share it with all your friends.

Within a few hours, IDF aircraft had destroyed dozens of missile caches hidden across Gaza City. “We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead,” @IDFSpokesperson taunted. The challenge didn’t go unanswered. “Our blessed hands will reach your leaders and soldiers wherever they are,” a Hamas spokesperson, @AlqassamBrigade, fired back. “(You Opened Hell Gates On Yourselves.)”

The Israelis called it Operation Pillar of Defense. IDF air strikes perforated the buildings in which suspected Hamas fighters gathered, killing militants and innocent families alike. Hamas fighters responded with hundreds of unguided rockets, eager to kill any Israeli they could. Few reached their targets. Israel had a new, U.S.-provided trump card, the Iron Dome, a missile shield that could intercept the projectiles in midair. The result was an eight-day, one-sided campaign. The IDF hit every intended target; Hamas, almost none. Two IDF soldiers and four Israeli civilians were killed, and another 20 Israelis were wounded. On the Palestinian side, roughly 100 militants and 105 civilians were killed, and another thousand were wounded.

But this wasn’t the only fight that counted. There were now three fronts at work in the conflict, Israel’s chief information officer explained. Two were predictable: the “physical” fight, which Israel easily dominated, and the “cyber” fight, in which the IDF just as easily beat back the efforts of Palestinian hackers. But there was a third front, he said, “the world of social networks.” This front would prove more troublesome, and impossible to contain, soon seeping into every corner of the internet.

The IDF deployed a Twitter account, Facebook pages in multiple languages, Tumblr blog pages, and even a Pinterest page. There were slick infographics and a stream of videos and statistics.

Maximizing follower engagement, the official IDF blog offered small digital rewards for repeat users. Visiting the blog ten times got you a “Consistent” badge; searching the website got you recognized as a “Research Officer.” Memes were fired off in volleys and tested for engagement, the best ones deployed extensively. The IDF’s most widely shared image showed Hamas rockets bearing down on cartoon versions of Sydney, New York, London, and Paris. “What Would You Do?” the caption asked in bold red letters.

By contrast, the propaganda efforts of Hamas’s militants were less structured. Most of its social media response came from millions of unaffiliated observers around the world, who watched the plight of Palestinian civilians with horror and joined the fray. The Twitter hashtag #GazaUnderFire became an unending stream of images of atrocities: bombed-out buildings, dead children, crying fathers.

The scourge of war left nothing untouched —including video games and fast-food chains. The IDF hijacked the hashtags for the World Cup, a new James Bond movie, and even the same Call of Duty franchise that Junaid Hussain would weave into his own recruiting (“Playing war games on Call of Duty last night? Over a million Israelis are still under REAL fire#BlackOps2”). Meanwhile, pro-Hamas hackers took over the Israeli Facebook page of Domino’s Pizza, using the opportunity to threaten a merciless reprisal of “more than 2000 rockets” against Israeli cities. When Domino’s regained control of the account, it had a message of its own: “You cannot defeat . . . the Israeli hunger for pizza!”

Even as the missiles flew, the IDF and Hamas continued to narrate the conflict, each posting nearly 300 messages: alerts, updates, and a steady string of taunts. “Warning to reporters in Gaza,” wrote @IDFSpokesperson. “Stay away from Hamas operatives and facilities. Hamas, a terrorist group, will use you as human shields.” @AlqassamBrigade couldn’t let this stand. “Stay away from Israeli IDF,” the Hamas spokesperson mimicked. “We are just targeting Israeli soldiers, fighter jets, tanks and bases.” It was a remarkably juvenile exchange. But these taunts couldn’t be dismissed as easily as the ones you might hear in a kindergarten classroom. After all, they were salvos lobbed by two combatants in a real, shooting war.

There was a temptation, after the sides had settled into an uneasy cease-fire, to dismiss this weird internet flame war as a bunch of digital noise. After all, the angriest tweets were still just tweets — literally, “short bursts of inconsequential information.” But that would have been a mistake. Years after Operation Pillar of Defense had slipped from the public mind, American University professor Thomas Zeitzoff conducted a painstaking study of hundreds of thousands of tweets, which he then mapped across each hour of the physical side of the eight-day conflict.

What he found was shocking. In the case of Israel, a sudden spike in online sympathy for Hamas more than halved the pace of Israeli air strikes and a similarly sized leap in Israel’s own propaganda efforts. If you charted the sentiment (pro-Israel or pro-Palestine) of these tweets on a timeline, not only could you infer what was happening on the ground, but you also could predict what Israel would do next. IDF commanders hadn’t just been poring over battlefield maps. They’d also been keeping an eye on their Twitter feeds — the battlefield of the social network war.

Taking place in 2012, Operation Pillar of Defense offered a glimpse of an emerging way of warfare. It was a conflict in which each side had organized to taunt and troll each other online, even as they engaged in a life-and-death struggle in the real world. Their battles drew in millions more international fighters. Some were passionate supporters of one side; others had just stumbled upon the war while looking for video game news or pizza. They shaped the fight all the same, strengthening the voice of one faction or another — and, by tiny degrees, altering the course of events on the ground.”

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2018/10/15/book-excerpt-likewar-the-weaponization-of-social-media

 

 

Why Social Network To Promote Your Small Business?

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Image: Smallbiztrends.com

INTRODUCTION:

Personal, professional and business branding is occurring regularly, whether or not we are aware of it.

From our web site presence to our postings on the sites of others, from our credit ratings to our cell phone records and application navigation, we are tracking others and being tracked ourselves.

Deciding to become active in social networking is really a matter of managing personal, professional and business images/brands or having them manage us.

THE INTEGRATED SOCIAL NETWORK

Networking is a vital tool in achieving an image/brand. Establish a network like a wheel. The hub is core content (web site, blog, books, articles, useful materials). The spokes leading from the hub are the tools to network content that is linked to the hub.

Contacts are the engines that power the wheel.

Content is the fuel that feeds the social networking contacts and powers the wheel.

As the wheel turns, the quality of the networking improves with feedback and the wheel climbs the optimization hill of the major search engines (SEO).

Limiting factors are the quality of the core content and knowledge/persistence in networking.

SOCIAL NETWORKING WHEEL

CONTRIBUTE TO OTHERS

Blog, post and contribute to Q&A features on several sites:

1. It allows insight in solving the difficulties of others; always a satisfying achievement, dovetailing with professional endeavors and creating a positive image.

2. The manner in which a response is worded conveys values, expression, opinion, and insight to others who may wish to team, counter with a disagreement or pass on a reference to others; all healthy forms of communication.

3. Ratings features allow evaluation of responses by a large peer group.

4. With the growth of social networking international participation increasing dramatically, it provides insights into perspectives from other nations and cultures; a valuable input in the wired global economy these days.

5. The historical record of questions and answers, posting content and feedback is searched regularly by a large, world-wide community and draws others to profiles and web sites long after the initial dialogue has occurred.

MAKE PRUDENT JUDGEMENTS

Evaluate other net-workers for consistency. Value the participants who realize these are huge and open forums and who keep an open mind to input.

Do not value narrow minded use of these features for exclusively personal or business gain, control freak attitudes, and those who delete replies or answers because they disagree with the responses they are getting or are not getting what they perceive to be desirable results.

THE END PRODUCT:

A brand, an image and valued content, carefully cultivated,  exchanged and viewed regularly with others and communicated for success.

Please see the below link for an example of how the above principles are applied.

Integrated Utilities Linked as a Composite on “About Me”

The Pentagon Wants You To Tell Them What To Invest in for the Future

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defense-large                                                                    Image: EDDIE ADAMS / AP  

“DEFENSE ONE”

“The Pentagon is asking for ideas from the private sector on breakthrough technologies to guide military investment for the next decade and beyond.  If you care to tell the military what they should invest in for the future, the link is here.

On Wednesday, Defense Department officials issued a request for information calling on interested parties “to identify current and emerging technologies…that could provide significant military advantage to the United States and its partners and allies in the 2030 time frame.”

It’s a sort of prelude to the not-yet-revealed offset strategy, the Pentagon’s ambitious plan to develop technology to put the United States decades ahead of rival nations like China and Russia in short period of time.

Previous examples of offset breakthroughs include precision-guided weapons and stealth. The concepts that win the current competition could shape weapons investment — indeed the military itself — well into the next decade.

“We’re after a competition of ideas,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering Stephen Welby said on Wednesday during a briefing with reporters. “It’s a good time to ask, what’s the future of the department look like? That’s what we’re asking here.”

Who are they asking? Silicon Valley first.

“We made the pilgrimage to the Bay,” said Welby, referring to that American Mecca of computer technology, San Francisco Bay. They “talked to people in the start-up world about bets that they’re making. We would love to hear from folks in those communities.” That includes everyone from hotshot, 20-something social network magnates to “billionaire hobbyists” with rockets and moon ambitions.

There’s just one problem, no matter who you ask, predicting what sort of technology will remain relevant decades into the future was a lot easier when the Defense Department first attempted it 30 years ago. “The crystal ball worked pretty well,” said Welby, when the United States had but one major adversary in the Soviet Union and exclusive domain over the most cutting-edge research and development.

That’s no longer the case. New breakthroughs are copied, innovated against and rendered obsolete as quickly as the Internet spreads to new portions of the globe. Just look to the most recent Gartner report on those futuristic technologies that are already over the crest of the hype cycle like “big data” and “augmented reality,” technologies that have reached the point of investor saturation long before becoming household names. Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil posits that, as a result of information technology, the rate of technological advancement will increase by a factor of 5.6 per linear decade.

Without validating Kurzweil’s figures, Welby said that, broadly speaking, it’s a problem that the military is aware of. “The reality is that we’re not likely to get a 40-year run out of any technology,” he acknowledged. “You won’t have a 40-year advantage.”

The best bets include more capable robotic systems, commonly known by the shorthand, autonomy.  “The emergence of autonomy is a real shaper,” of the military approach to securing technological dominance in the future, said Welby. “The ability of systems to react to their environment…autonomy is an emerging technology with strong applications,” he said.

(RelatedThe Pentagon’s New Offset Strategy Includes Robots)

The request for information lists five broad areas of exploration: space, undersea, air strike, missile defense and “other technology-driven concepts.”

Does it make sense to plan that far into future given the rapid pace of technological progress? Mathew Burrows, the director of strategic foresight at the Atlantic Council and author of The Future Declassified: Megatrends That Will Undo the World Unless We Take Action (Palgrave, 2014) applauded the effort as timely, if not overdue. His only criticism:

“The five focus areas seem very constraining. There will be a lot of emerging technologies that don’t fall neatly into one or the other of the categories. Hopefully [the Defense Department] will look beyond their five constructs to see how emerging technologies—that don’t fall neatly into one of them—could transform the battlefield of the future.”

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2014/12/pentagon-wants-you-tell-them-what-invest-future/100433/