Monday, 6 August 2012

How to Spot the Future
    Photo: Brock Davis
Except form Wired website.

"Thirty years ago, when John Naisbitt was writing Megatrends, his prescient vision of America’s future, he used a simple yet powerful tool to spot new ideas that were bubbling in the zeitgeist: the newspaper. He didn’t just read it, though. He took out a ruler and measured it. The more column inches a particular topic earned over time, the more likely it represented an emerging trend. “The collective news hole,” Naisbitt wrote, “becomes a mechanical representation of society sorting out its priorities”—and he used that mechanism to predict the information society, globalism, decentralization, and the rise of networks.

    As clever as Naisbitt’s method was, it would never work today. There’s an infinite amount of ink and pixels spilled on most any topic. These days, spotting the future requires a different set of tools. That’s why at Wired, where we constantly endeavor to pinpoint the inventions and trends that will define the future, we have developed our own set of rules. They allow us to size up ideas and separate the truly world-changing from the merely interesting. After 20 years of watching how technology creates a bold and better tomorrow, we have seen some common themes emerge, patterns that have fostered the most profound innovations of our age.
    This may sound like a paradox. Surely technology always promises something radically new, wholly unexpected, and unlike anything anybody has seen before. But in fact even when a product or service breaks new ground, it’s usually following a familiar trajectory. After all, the factors governing thermodynamics, economics, and human interaction don’t change that much. And they provide an intellectual platform that has allowed technology to succeed on a massive scale, to organize, to accelerate, to connect.
    So how do we spot the future—and how might you? The seven rules that follow are not a bad place to start. They are the principles that underlie many of our contemporary innovations. Odds are that any story in our pages, any idea we deem potentially transformative, any trend we think has legs, draws on one or more of these core principles. They have played a major part in creating the world we see today. And they’ll be the forces behind the world we’ll be living in tomorrow."

    1. Look for cross-pollinators. Link to main text!