Friday, April 30, 2021

Confounding Factors

Illustration from Inventing the Future (Burgess Shale and Emerald Lake)
InDesign document
©2019 Charlene Brown

Forecasting the future is made more difficult by confounding factors such as:

·         Disruptive technology/innovations: Are today’s disruptive transformations (block chain, genome sequencing, robotics, energy storage, AI) comparable to the disruption caused by railways, automobiles, electricity, computers or the internet?

·        Black swan events: unpredictable, massive impact, highly improbable, eg. 9/11, collapse of the
Soviet Union, Covid-19

·        Wild cards: low probability, high impact events.  The difference between Black Swans and Wild Cards is that Wild Cards are imaginable (ie predictable to a certain extent), temperature increases, Halley's Comet, 2008 financial crisis, religious conflicts, financial unicorns (or alicorns), pandemics, wars, and tipping points (actions of a complex system which has become unstable). 

Using wildcards in disruptive innovation ideation sessions can enrich discussions and help people to imagine 'what if?'