Every innovation sounded bananas before it became reality. The entire world’s information available to a person with a small device? Bananas! America spending $7 trillion on wars in the Middle East and Asia since 2001? Bananas! A cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin blockchain network without the need for intermediaries powered through blockchain technology and worth $20000 at one point, $10000 today ? Double Bananas! Tesla being worth more that Toyota last week !? Get out of here!
Breakthroughs defy conventional wisdom. “And yet we keep making the same mistake” when predicting the future, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt writes in his book ‘How Google Works’. Schimdt warns us it’s hard to let go of conventional wisdom when anticipating breakthroughs, because conventional wisdom seems like a set of unbreakable laws.
Schmidt writes how companies can overcome this trap: “The question to ask isn’t what will be true, but what could be true. Asking what will be true entails making a prediction, which is folly in a fast-moving world. Asking what could be true entails imagination: What thing that is unimaginable when abiding by conventional wisdom is in fact imaginable?”
So, ask what thing that is unimaginable when abiding by 2010 conventional wisdom is in fact imaginable in 2020?
My limited nominations :
- Expensive college credentials become much less important in this coming decades, going the way of NYC/London taxi medallions. Unimaginable in 2010 when colleges were raking in the £$£$ .
- From the 1970s on you needed a degree for a proper white-collar job. Soon it will be proven coding credentials. Imagine if a candidate says ‘I don’t know how to work Outlook, Excel and Word’ today. No chance of a desk job. Now think coding being like that in 2035. Unimaginable in 2000 when it was a niche ‘geek skill’
- A hiatus of the Neoliberalism Model as it pertains to free trade. Unimaginable in 2010 when free trade deals were all the rage.
- ‘the world will change irrevocably postcovid’ – I suspect we will be surprised in hindsight by how little time it takes to get back to how it was before covid in most spheres (esp with reference to travel, work, entertainment). We will go back to normal as we knew it before 2020, until 2019. We will not go into a “new normal” in 2021.
- FI/RE and Prepper thinking goes mainstream. Unimaginable in 2010 when it was the domain of the paranoid and the weirdos.
In 2007 if sometold told you and me that by 2020 Nokia will be a non-entity you would have laughed the guy out of the room. And yet….