The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

For those that have taken the thought leadership course focused on our emerging future, thank you. For those that may have interest, the course will run for foreseeable future. In this post from last year, I summarized the key messages from the course. It has been updated to reflect the progression of our emerging future.

Yogi Berra is credited for once saying that the future ain’t what it used to be. What a perfect way to describe what is coming: a complete change in the way we think about the future. Our journey to the future begins with a look back. A convergence of multiple forces during a special century following the U.S. Civil War established the standard of living in developed economies. Some believe that we will never see a convergence of forces as dramatic and impactful as that which occurred during this period. I pulled this wheel together to capture that convergence across the various areas of our well-being, leveraging the work of economist Robert J. Gordon. I captured his thinking in a recent post titled Revolution and the Innovation Wheel.

Continue reading

Intersections Promise to Drive Multiple Paradigm Shifts

Since the time I completed this post on Disruptive Power and Intersections, it continues to receive attention. It is by far the most effective component of any Future Thinking effort. Given the continued traffic to this two year old post, I am updating with current content. By way of reminder, the anchor emerging futures visual is available via this PDF. An expansion of the science and technology foundation is visualized via this PDF. The visual below connects the intersections of 8 combinatorial scenarios. This is not an exhaustive set of connections; it is strictly intended to describe the scenarios at a high level. This visual can be downloaded via this PDF.disruptive-power

Figure 1: Intersections amplify both power and impact

Continue reading

Disruptive Power Lies at the Intersections

The content of this post was updated on February 16, 2017 in a new post titled Intersections Promise to Drive Multiple Paradigm Shifts

When I first started using the term “Combinatorial”, people thought I was making words up. Although I’d like to take credit for the word, I first came across it when reading The Second Machine Age, a fascinating book by Andrew McAfee and Eric Brynjolfsson. I remember thinking that it was a perfect word to capture the amplification of both innovation and its disruptive power. By now, readers of this Blog have seen the foundational Visual that describes the digital foundation, innovation accelerators, and disruptive scenarios. What the visual does not convey without the associated narrative is the power of combinatorial.

If we build on top of the visual, we begin to see the complexity at the intersections, the amplification of disruptive power, and the broad implications for the future.


The best way to describe this phenomenon is through examples, so let’s look at six combinatorial scenarios as an overlay. The visual is a bit overwhelming, so a better way to follow the various paths is via this PDF. Here is a description of each scenario. The numbers in the visual above map to the scenarios below, and the colors show the combinations: 

Continue reading