What kind of futurist are you? I was actually asked this once at a job interview.
I replied, “Is there more than one kind?”
A futurist should envision a positive future and then actively forge that future.
Unlike most futurists, I’m optimistic about the future.
While many futurists look forward and see only disruption and negativity, I see how we can help all of the human race flourish.
Some futurists will tell you that “autonomous vehicles will destroy 2 million jobs” and show you the numbers to prove it. Showing negative numbers is easy. I can tell you that the…
One of the most challenging things to convince people is the essential need to “look farther out.”
Most people are so focused on the very near term — looking no more than a year or a quarter out, that they never lift their gaze into the future. They feel that strategic foresight is:
When the world is torn with black swans like pandemics, riots, and racial strife, they feel…
Now, more than ever (BTW, don’t you hate that phrase too), we live constrained within our own little realities. Our own little bubbles.
Sometimes we build these realities on our own, and other times we allow these realities to be created around us. Sometimes it feels that we are slowly sinking ever more deeply into our own introspective states, forever connected to our devices, hoping that they can deliver that next Dopamine hit. We are all losing our connection with reality.
Try this exercise. First, draw a circle.
Imagine that this circle is all human knowledge. Now, add a wedge to represent what you know. Most people add a visible wedge. I usually add a single line since, by the time I started drawing the line and the time I’ve finished drawing the line, the whole of human knowledge has expanded beyond my ability to keep up with it.
So we know very little. And every second, we know less and less. How can we possibly build a product or service that our customers will love if we don’t know anything?
Many people bemoan the fact that we have to keep moving from platform to platform, as they evolve from person-to-person communications tools to megaphones for big media.
Take podcasting, for example:
I first heard of podcasting back in 2005 from Wired magazine (which I used to read religiously). The cover was very stark and distinctive — it was titled “ The End Of Radio “ — a bullet smashing open an old school AM radio. Reading the article intrigued me — this “new technology,” combining the use of RSS to deliver a series of audio files to a listener was…
Yes, you read that right. This post will be written on December 31st, 2021, but was published on December 31st, 2020.
As a futurist, we are usually right, but at the wrong time. So this is a list of everything that happened in 2021, just in time for your 2021 planning. Since we all live in different realities, the reality that you live in may not quite be the same reality that this post was written in, so minor differences between your experience of 2021 and this post may occur.
ONE: Continuous Disruption Continued
Yes, we didn’t get less disruption…
You’ve heard of Dollar Shave Club?
The scrappy startup which started marketing by putting ironic videos on social media that spoke directly to the burgeoning millennial male who just had to shave every day? Sick and tired of the Gillette/Shick cabal, which comes out with a new razor every few years or so, and charges an arm and a leg for the razor and the blades. What a pain in the ass to keep buying blades when they ran out every few weeks or months?
Dollar Shave Club promised better shaves, and a better price, delivered on a regular basis…
You’ve probably heard a variation of this quote a thousand times:
Ideas don’t matter. Ideas are a dime-a-dozen. Execution matters.
This statement, like Schroedinger’s Cat being both dead and alive, is both true and not accurate. Execution matters, but ideas matter too.
Of course, you might think this is self-evident. Maybe the only reason why innovators use that quote is that they are trying to convince you that if you don’t execute on the ideas you generate, then they won’t matter, which is right to a point. …
In the Intellectual Property space, we have a service that exists solely to generate product ideas that may never see the light of day. This is called “Targeted IP Generation.” These ideas need to be designed from the ground up to not be currently developable in the current environment or by the specific company.
This is generating ideas specific to patenting. These are used to build out a patent portfolio that can be licensed later, used in defense, or possibly used for a future product.
These ideas are designed not for today but tomorrow, when you may actually build them…
A few posts back, I wrote a note about something I’d recently seen in one of the all-hands meetings of one of my clients. This financial services company had been in business for a very long time, and moving innovative products and services to market was a huge challenge. Even in good times, this firm was highly risk-averse and frequently fell behind its competitors in providing new customer-friendly experiences. However, senior management was unconcerned since they considered themselves too big to fail. …