“It doesn’t take a genius to understand the future. It takes a fool to try to ignore it!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
The future happens.
There’s a certain inevitability about it, an inviolable rule that it’s what comes next, and that barring the ultimate of circumstances, it follows today, and is but a distant relative of yesterday.
Try as you might, you can’t avoid that reality!
Over the years, I’ve been mystified by some of the attitudes I’ve seen within my client base in reaction to some of my talks. There are the folks with extremely negative opinions, suggesting that my not-so-radical ideas are too far-fetched to come about. Others, eager to do everything they can to protect the ‘now’ that they have, try to put in place barriers around their tomorrow. Still, others seem to put their efforts into taking themselves back in time as opposed to moving forward, trying to relive old glories and when times were ‘great’.
The fact is this: the future is bigger than you think, a reality captured in a phrase I will often use on stage:
“Companies that don’t yet exist will build products that are not yet conceived, based on ideas that have yet been generated, using materials not yet invented, with manufacturing methods that have not yet been conceived. Are you ready for the new world of disruption?”
We know this happens. Consider, for a moment, some history:
- companies that don’t yet exist: Netflix, AirBNB, Uber are the easy ones. We’re seeing a lot of existing ones disappear. The entire history of business involves companies that come into industries, change them, do something new, and upset the balance. 20 years ago, Tesla was but a big dream in the mind of one individual; today, it is redefining one of the world’s biggest industries.
- products not yet conceived. Really? Consider how LP’s begat CD’s and DVD’s and eventually digital music and Spotify. High-level digital mapping flights gave way to drone technology; curved skis gave way to snowboards…. isn’t the whole human experience all about conceiving new products?
- ideas not yet generated. Um, iPads? Solar generating cells? Didn’t someone invent the concept of the car when horses were around?
- materials not yet invented. Velcro, folks. I once did a talk for the senior leadership team of Arconic — a spinoff of the aluminum giant Alcoa. I can tell you that capitalizing on the rapid emergence of new materials based on advanced science is very much on their mind. Should I tell them that maybe it’s just future-babble? And have you see what is happening with battery storage technology?
- manufacturing methodologies not yet conceived. We’re now in a world of additive, 3DPrinted manufacturing? Build to demand manufacturing models? Mass customization? Rapid prototyping and smart things? Seems we have had a constant stream of new methodologies and capabilities.
I always find it fascinating when curmudgeons jump out and undertake to try to deny the future.
The thing about the future is that it happens. Enjoy this clip!