By: Mike Montgomery
Entrepreneurs often struggle to capture lightning in a bottle by trying to create a product today that anticipates tomorrow’s trends. But are the bulk of these entrepreneurs not looking far enough ahead?
Early this month, The New York Times ran a fascinating article that talked a little about the recently deceased futurist Alfred Toffler’s work (Future Shock) and the demise of the idea most associated with him, futurism:
In many large ways, it’s almost as if we have collectively stopped planning for the future. Instead, we all just sort of bounce along in the present, caught in the headlights of a tomorrow pushed by a few large corporations and shaped by the inescapable logic of hyper-efficiency — a future heading straight for us. It’s not just future shock; we now have future blindness.
Farhad Manjoo, who wrote the Times piece, argues that many technological changes are happening so quickly that global crises are occurring as a result. The thrust of this piece is that our governments should really take a closer look at the academic study of futurism and try to determine how to better and more smoothly integrate technology in order to prepare for the future.
On a smaller scale, entrepreneurs, whether they are specifically focused on new technologies or not, need to do the same. The key is to learn how to properly forecast the future.
“Entrepreneurs need to be thinking about the future, but that requires they invest time into forecasting trends,” says Amy Webb, the CEO and founder of Future Today Institute. “The challenge is that trends in technology have become synonymous with things that are trendy.”