Okay, call me a futurist but I am really excited about where augmented reality is headed. As with many things, the imagined applications of it are endless, but first it’s got to get over some initial hurdles. Some hurdles are with the tech, of course, but another is mass adoption. Not to be confused with virtual reality, which is the complete escape of normal reality into a synthetic fantasy world. Augmented reality is when phones or glasses add things to your actual environment like directional cues, information about a business, or pokemon to catch.
Futurists are usually right, at the wrong time. The thing about true innovation, is almost everything is an expansion on an older idea. It isn’t until time and technology converge at that perfect moment that great ideas are executed. Ideas tend to spark well before the execution due to lack or resources, namely practicality.
Imagine if I went to my economics teacher in 1987 and explained any one of these seemingly crazy ideas to them:
- I’m going to ask a ton of brilliant authors and historians to donate their time, write factual articles, check each other’s work, and not pay them a penny. Afterwards, I’ll offer their work for free.
- I’m going to have a horde of programmers develop all sorts of programs to make people’s lives easier. Their work will be gratis, and the users don’t have to pay.
- I’m going to move to Memphis, Tennessee, buy 14 airplanes, and compete with the postal service and charge less to deliver faster.
The teacher would ask me when I hit my head and how hard.
If you haven’t already put it together, the aforementioned ideas lead to Wikipedia, Google, and FedEx. They say hindsight is 20/20, so it’s easy to look back and marvel at the successes of innovative pioneers, but do you think these ideas were so critically acclaimed when pitched at their humble beginnings?
Next Time, Really Put Everything Is On The Table. Go There.
The Hope: Your leaders take whatever risks they need to in order to get the job done.
The Reality: Your leaders are risk averse, hoping that their less-than-bold moves trigger some kind of true change.
How many times have you heard, in the midst of a crisis, that “everything is on the table” when in reality, there are very few things on the table? Typically, in my experience, that phrase is only used instead of the blunter “Someone here is going to have to make a sacrifice, and just so you know, it won’t be me”.
Innovation & The Future Are Intertwined
I love running futurist programs for our clients for many reasons. I think that we can have the most fun when we think about a period which is more than 10 years out, it’s easier to help your inventors disconnect their current day to day jobs from the future which they are developing ideas for, and it is less restrictive than asking them to come up with innovation that they can deliver today, or even within the parameters of patentability.
Predicting the Future Is HardBack in 2007, I ran a program for my company which looked ten years out into the future. It was a roaring success, and as part of that exercise, I wrote some “Blog Posts From The Future,” dated for 2017, which we released over the course of the month-long program.
Considering that 2017 is now upon us, I thought that it might be fun to repost those predictions and see how close I came to reality.
Please feel free to comment, highlight and let me know how close (and far) I came to reality. As I’ve said once before, being a futurist is a lot like being a meteorologist, you are usually right, but at the wrong time.
How do Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump fare on Innovation?
Let me start out this post by stating unequivocally, I am not voting for either of the above, lest you may feel that I have a leaning one way or another. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I am a libertarian, and unlike Peter Thiel, the billionaire who appeared and spoke for Trump at the RNC, I support neither of the major candidates. I used to very political, but have stepped out of speaking about it, or being very interested in it at all, since oh, around 2012. I stay away from talking about politics for the same reason that I don’t watch hockey any more – trying to keep my blood pressure and heart rate in a normal range. But I digress.
Are We Turning Into A Collective Consciousness?
Recently, I have been binge watching Star Trek: Voyager (such a geek, right – love those 90s hairstyles). One of the key premises of Star Trek (all versions save for the new JJ Abrams dreck) is that individuals can always triumph over a “collective”. The Borg was evil because it was a collective. When you were assimilated by the Borg (resistance is futile) you were robbed of your individuality, which meant being robbed of your humanity, since your humanity was inextricably tied to your individuality. The message: Individuality is good, the collective is bad.
Near Future, No One Will Need To Know How To Drive
I was talking with my sons the other day about driving – I have one son who is learning to drive and another one who is interested and I told them that their generation will likely be the last generation who will need to learn how to drive. Their kids will probably never need to learn how to drive. In fact, in my opinion, humans driving cars will probably be outlawed at some point. Here is my sense of the progression here.
Past, Present, Future.
Some people love the past, thinking about and studying everything that has happened up to now (possibly thinking that they will learn from it). Some people love the present since it’s what’s happening in the moment, the now – how many books have been written about mindfulness and experiencing this current moment? Tons. (This might be an offshoot of our newly, hyper-connected selves, but if you ask me, this mindfulness movement is wrong-headed, but that’s a topic for another post)