“Carroll’s Theorem: Those who dismiss a trend are the ones most likely to be negatively impacted by its arrival!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
One of the most popular pages on my Web site for the year is the post “Timing is Everything: Jim Carroll’s 5 Rules on Aligning to the Future!”
The opening line? “Here’s a big issue to wrap your head around – increasingly, your opportunity for future success will come from your ability to get the timing right!”
Then, my 5 rules:
- The future happens, but eventually
- The future is usually slow, and then, instant
- Technology puts great uncertainty on the accuracy of rules 1 and 2
- Accelerating science can suddenly make your previous future-estimate terribly inaccurate
- Just when you think you’ve got the future all figured out, kids come along
Put these rules into action: the fact is, when organizations don’t see an immediate impact of a trend that they perceive to be real, they decide to discount the importance and significance of the trend. They aren’t ready for rules 2 to 5…
With that, think about electric batteries and transportation. Most smart people I know have concluded that one day most vehicles will be electric, the era of the internal combustion engine will have come to an end, and massive transformation of the industry will have occurred.
And yet my theorem works perfectly – some of the loudest voices dismissing the impact of the trend are auto-company CEO’s.
We’ve been here before, of course.
“Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” – Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, 1946
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” – Ken Olsen, Founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977
I rest my case.