How to predict the future

Photo credit - stux via

Photo credit – stux via

Predict the future? Get real! Reading a crystal-ball?


This is how … 

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
~ Alan Kay

Alan Kay is not a recent phenomenon. He is an inventor and is multi-talented. His bio on the TED site suggests:

A true polymath, as well as inventor, he has combined engineering brilliance with knowledge of child development, epistemology, molecular biology and more. 

His TED talk was delivered in 2008. It is not the slick presentations we see at TED today, but he curates a range of ideas about ideas. You can watch A powerful idea about ideas here.

It’s a question of perspective
One of his main points was about perspective. He illustrates perspective with many examples of children and learning, connecting their discoveries with the those of Galileo and Pythagoras for example.

It’s this change in perspective on what it is we think we’re perceiving that has helped us make more progress in the last 400 years than we have in the rest of human history.
~ Alan Kay

Different perspectives creating innovation
These days creating innovative solutions seems to evolve from taking a new perspective on an old problem. Typically this is about the business you are in – and how you define it.

A social perspective
Social entrepreneurs offer a different perspective on business.  They create enterprises without owning assets or finance ventures through crowd funding. Consider the businesses listed below and the paradox within their business structures. They provide a different perspective, and a disruptive one by competing with other businesses with completely different cost structures.



What business are you in?
How do you define the business you are in?  Here are some business ideas with different perspectives:

  • Nike isn’t in the shoe business.  It’s in the business of inspiring the athlete in all of us.
  • Tesla is not in the car business. It’s in the business of electric mobility.
  • Red Bull isn’t in the energy drink business. It’s in the business of helping us live our lives to the absolute extreme.
    Source: The Key Innovation Question: What Business Are You Really In?

Whether you are in business for yourself, or for someone else, future economic survival may well depend on taking a new perspective – perhaps inventing your own. What will be in your future?

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