Michael Nelson

Former IBM Director of Internet Technology & White House IT Advisor, Cloud Computing Expert, Georgetown Technology Professor
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Program Descriptions

The Cloud, the Exaflood, and the Internet of Things: Realizing the Full Potential of the Next Generation Internet
The world has seen less than 20% of the impact potential of the Internet. The Cloud is the third phase of the Internet and will be even more disruptive–and powerful–than the World Wide Web. How can companies harness the power of the Cloud? What are the key technical, organizational, policy, and cultural challenges they need to address? For almost 25 years, Michael Nelson has been shaping the evolution of the Internet and helping businesses and governments realize its full potential.

Creating a Culture of Innovation
Innovation is much more than just invention. It requires much more than just a good idea.  It requires finding new ways to combine existing ideas, products, and services into something that customers (or citizens) will want.  Organizations that foster innovation foster collaboration between employees with different backgrounds, skills, and viewpoints.  They provide the information infrastructure and tools needed to “harness the wisdom of crowds” and tap into the knowledge scattered throughout the organization.  They motivate employees, encourage life-long learning, and encourage them to take risks inherent in trying new things. There’s evidence that America may be losing its edge and that its “innovation engine” is sputtering.  What can be done to address these problems?  What can organizations do to foster collaboration and innovative thinking?  What are the obvious (and not-so-obvious) barriers to innovation?  How can countries adopt policies that will provide the building blocks of innovation?  What can individuals do to promote innovation among their co-workers and colleagues? Dr. Nelson’s perspective on innovation has developed over the last 20 years:  5 years on Capitol Hill, 4 years at the White House, a year and a half at the FCC, almost 10 years at IBM, and the past four years at Georgetown University.

How to Predict the Future
Never before has the pace of change–particularly technological change–been so rapid. And never has the impact of technological change been so profound and pervasive–for businesses, for governments, and for individuals.  How can leaders, managers, and others prepare for such an uncertain future?  What can we learn from forecasts made in the past?  How can  techniques such as scenario planning, Delphi polling, prediction markets, and, even science fiction, help us define and prepare for possible futures?  Dr. Nelson has spent almost 25 years studying and shaping the evolution of the Internet.  Over that time, he has made several successful forecasts about the growth of the Internet and potential impact.  Today, he teaches students at Georgetown University and Kent State University on forecasting tools and techniques.


Biography Read more

For almost 25 years, Michael Nelson has been shaping the evolution of the Internet and helping businesses and governments realize its full potential.

Michael R. Nelson is a Visiting Professor of Internet Studies in Georgetown University’s Communication, Culture and Technology Program. Since 2008, he has been doing research and teaching courses on “The Future of the Internet” and technology trends as well as consulting and speaking on Internet technology and policy. Michael Nelson has also been working as a Research Associate at the CSC Leading Edge Forum.

Prior to joining the Georgetown faculty, Michael Nelson spent almost ten years as Director of Internet Technology and Strategy at IBM, where he managed a team helping define and implement IBM’s Next Generation Internet strategy. His group worked with university researchers on NGi technology, shaped standards for and communicated IBM’s vision of NGi and the future of computing to customers, policy makers, the press, and the general public. He also worked closely with governments around the world on next generation Internet technologies and applications.

Prior to joining IBM in 1998, Michael Nelson was Director for Technology Policy at the Federal Communications Commission. There, he helped craft policies to foster electronic commerce, spur development and deployment of new technologies, and improve the reliability and security of the nation’s telecommunications networks.

Before joining the FCC in 1997, Michael R. Nelson was Special Assistant for Information Technology at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he worked with Vice President Al Gore on telecommunications policy, information technology, encryption and online privacy, electronic commerce, and information policy.

More About Speaker, Michael R. Nelson . . .
In 2003 Michael Nelson was selected as the Internet Society’s Vice President for Public Policy. In that role, he attended the UN World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva in 2003 and was highly involved in the second phase of WSIS in 2005, as well as the recently-completed Internet Governance Forum.

Michael Nelson is serving on the Applications, Middleware, and Services Advisory Council of the Internet2 university consortium. In 2008, he became the chairman of the Information, Computing and Communications Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Michael R. Nelson has a B.S. in Geology from Caltech, and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from MIT.

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