Trend spotting and future casting are often misunderstood. Scott Likens with PwC does a nice job graphically explaining the 8 hottest technologies that represent potential directions from which disruptions may come (see infograph below). The most important point here is to remember that each of these requires an ecosystem to also emerge in order to support, maintain and scale it.These 8 don’t necessarily represent the next ‘wave’ of innovation in and of themselves, but a set of their own ripples that, when combined with supportive ecosystem components, might create a disruptive wave with which we must reckon.
DEALING WITH TRENDS
Don’t get spooled up over any of these 8 today if you can’t identify weak signals of ecosystems beginning to form around any one of them. First, identify what the various components of the ecosystem are, then regularly analyze where each component is in its development cycle: emerging, forming, solidifying. Then, add each component together to determine whether the ecosystem is immature, growing or maturing. Depending on your industry and how swiftly change is occurring, devise a rhythm of review that regularly goes through this analytical routine.
Finally, articulate a threshold of ecosystem formation at which point you pull the trigger to create scenarios that represent possible future states and what you would do in response and/or what you would do to opportunistically pursue value.