We also need to take into account potentially surprising angles like, are we looking at the right problem? What has changed that you take for granted? Even algorithms are subjective and they need vetting with a skeptical and open mind.
If, like me, you're curious to see how the reports track in hindsight, you can find some (relatively) older briefings on the IFTF site. For my work, I've been checking the technology horizons archive.
Take for example this one about new entertainment and media transforming work which is dated August 2003. Examining four media -- blogging, digital music, massively multiplayer online games, and alternate reality games -- the report documents the development of new social practices that will evolve and migrate into the workplace over the next 5–10 years.
The four insights about how people started experimenting and learning new modes of interaction, collaboration, and presence management from entertainment media (from the report, emphasis mine) are:
1. Rapid innovation around social interaction will challenge organizational forms and processes. New entertainment media are social and creative in nature. They are also easy to use and inexpensive with few barriers for new users.
2. A new palette for expressing presence. This will transform the way employees, team members, ad hoc groups, and other work colleagues interact in physical and digital settings. Brands, products, and other corporate objects will take on richer forms of presence that allow more interaction and improved relationships with consumers.
3. Emergent cooperation will become a distinct practice and an important work skill. Ad hoc cooperation and resource locating across remote work locations and sometimes with unknown employees, suppliers, partners, and other “friendly strangers” outside the organization will be recognized as important parts of work life.
4. Knowledge creation and sharing becomes manageable at the employee level. New media tools are mostly desktop tools that are easily distributed across the organization with few interoperability issues. They are inherently social media that stress individual participation in the public commons through social protocols that get developed over time by distinct communities. They balance individual ownership and creativity with larger public goods and reciprocity.
I just read an article in The Guardian about product and place placement in the new and upcoming (and much anticipated, given the long marketing runway) addition to the Bond franchise: Skyfall. The Skyfall's the limit, it proclaims.
It turns out the name's Tom, Tom Ford, as in the suits, or as a clever commenter remarked, Brand, James Brand. Although from the article it sounds more like Bond-ed, as another commenter offered. Now if it only were Armani... then again, it's a game of pretend.
You can already unlock the 007 in you at a vending machine thanks to Coca-Cola. It's so cool that I had to embed it here.
Entertainment and media still do the heavy lifting in shaping how we make buying decisions, now with the help of our tribe -- friends in the real world, and the people who are also watching and enjoying, or playing with us as it may be, at the time of our involvement.
Why? Because they make the experience fun and immersive, thus removing friction. Now, wouldn't it be great if we could engage our colleagues in serious play? If we started games not for the explicit purpose of just winning. Instead, what if the purpose were to continue playing to learn to play with boundaries, and generate time.
James P. Carse, in his seminal book about the distinction# wrote:
"Because infinite players prepare themselves to be surprised by the future, they play in complete openness as in vulnerability. It is not a matter of exposing one's unchanging identity, the true self that has always been, but a way of exposing one's ceaseless growth, the dynamic self that has yet to be.
"Education leads toward a continuing self-discovery; training leads toward a final self-definition.
"Titles are given at the end of a play, names at the beginning. [...] Titles are abstractions; names are always concrete.
"Power is concerned with what has already happened; strength with what has yet to happen. [...] Power is finite in amount. Strength cannot be measured."
Wouldn't you want to work in that environment, especially knowing the kind of dilemmas we're facing in this age of transformation?
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.