How predictable is the future…

Good thought provoking title I thought.. Clearly the first answer that comes to mind must be “surely not enough” – because if it was, then we would all be multi-millionares having backed all the good ideas and walked away from the bad ones…

Although is it perhaps more predictable than we perhaps think.

Simon Wardley certainly thinks so (

Simon sites the the peace, war and wonder cycle as the most reliable tool for predicting major technological shifts.

Peace – activities evolve, steadily building inertia
War – New entrants challenging what seemed like stability, often by making what was hard to do into a commodity, disrupting the market.  There are very high profile examples of this – from netflix, to uber to airbnb etc etc. The current market trend as we have all seen is very very successful organisations based on zero capital.
Wonder – building on the new business models challenging the very norm

Simon then continues with an assertion that “War” is the most predictable of the 3 cycles and a concept of “weak signalling” can determine its onset

So how can we use this to our own strategic advantage.  This links with my other core focus theme at the moment…”Innovation” – or to remove that very ambiguous term, let’s just call it “thinking differently”.

If I was a taxi company a few years ago, would I have thought of Uber? Probably not…Why not..because I was in a period of “Peace” and couldnt see beyond the current way the service was being delivered.  However, armed with my new knowledge, I could have challenged the model.. I may still not have come up with the Uber concept and for every one of these there will still be a significant that fail…

Finally, let me link this back to my post #1 (career development). This cycle phenonema can be applied to your own development to ensure that you are one step ahead of what the market is looking for.  In your chosen area of technology, are you developing against a set of peaceful solutions or looking at potentially what the wartime market will bring…



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