Let’s try two activities.
1) Think of two of your favorite products and ask yourself: Where was that product ten years ago? Where was that company five years ago?
2) Take a look at the past hundred years of human history. What are two things that we still continue to do?
I like asking these questions because they remind me of how fast things change and yet how little certain things change.
For instance, have you noticed how language, storytelling, and music have always existed? In many cases, these things have played a key role in communicating our values and our past and continue to help us understand the present and the future.
I ask bookstores if they ever envision the fiction section to be disappearing since people are increasingly being data, tech, and science-driven. But they always smile back showing me the data of how many people are still buying fiction. These creations are not a waste. We continue to seek it.
What about your favorite products? Did they even exist a few years ago? I know that at least a few of my favorite products and companies were ridiculed and tagged as simply 'a nice concept' even as little as five years ago. Those same nice concepts are now things we spend most of our times with - social media, shared services, and online movie streaming are a few examples. This makes me wonder what could be some of the next big innovations that are yet to exist?
You may ask, 'how can we think ahead and differently about our future'? I encourage you to ask these two questions and reflect on your answers. If we really want to understand what is coming ahead, we need to understand our past, how we got here, and how we let go.
What do you see in your future?