No One Can Perfectly Predict Innovations Path (aka: the future)

January 11, 2011

My friends at XYDO pointed me to this Vinod Khosla video today and it’s really worth 15 mins. He talks about the ability to predict the future of innovation and technology and uses some great examples and predictions. One of the best is a Mckinsey prediction about  mobile phones in 1986. They forecast 1MM mobile phones by the year 2000 and were off by 10,000% (actual number was 109MM).

This feeds into a personal philosophy which is rarely shooting down ideas when they’re presented to me. In my experience it’s very very difficult to explain an innovation you’ve been thinking about for a very long time to someone who isn’t able to tangibly see or feel it. It’s esp hard to do this in a 5 minutes. Until I’m able to touch, feel, and taste it for myself, it’s not my role to stifle innovation. Usually it’s at least two of those senses. For example seeing it is great, but touching and seeing is much more than twice as powerful.

You may have a great idea for innovation and you may only be able to convince 1 out of 100 that it is real – and that’s OK. It’s not a determining indicator of degree of innovation in your idea. If the wisest consulting minds in the world can’t predict within 9,999%, then don’t expect the average person you’re meeting with to fully grasp and understand the depth of innovation you’re staying up all night thinking about. I see my role as someone who can help test, brainstorm, and share ideas around what you’re thinking about. If I can add value to your disruptive innovation (even if I don’t understand the potential) that’s still a win for us both.

Vinod’s video below:

One blogger likes this post.
Derek Andersen

5 Responses to “No One Can Perfectly Predict Innovations Path (aka: the future)”

  1. ebun Says:

    Thanks for sharing, hope the work is going well.

  2. Orlando Says:

    I don’t know. Come up with a novel solution to a big problem, and you’ve innovated. And, problems abound.

    • Derek Andersen Says:

      Orlando – While this is true, it’s much harder than your one liner would have someone believe. Finding a problem, and then actually creating a simple innovative solution can be extremely daunting.
      And the real problem is that people often give up on one person’s advice or opinion of the idea. If you’re passionate about the problem you should take good advice and push forward if you continue to believe in it.

      • Orlando Says:

        Agreed, actually developing the innovation (inception of the correct implementation, elaboration, construction and transition)is a tremendous amount of work. But, I don’t think predicting one (conception) necessarily is.

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