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Disruption déjà vu

We've seen it all before, but this time it's different

It’s just like 20, or maybe 200 years ago, but it’s completely different!

Disruption has always plagued established markets and societies, throughout the ages. The first waterwheel or windmill for grinding wheat into flour was disruptive technology at work; nascent and naïve, but a foretaste of things to come, in a tumultuous tsunami of ever accelerating change.

Steam power and traction engines, threshing machines and cotton gins; it seemed as though there was no end to our ability to employ combustion for productivity. Then, a major breakthrough: electricity! The industrial age had truly arrived.

And for a while, with motor cars and jet engines, chemicals and highly engineered, precision instruments, we attained a new pinnacle, the seeming summit of technology, for both war and peace. Even nuclear power was ours to command.

But computers quickly dispelled that notion. Digital tech was the ultimate disruptor. And companies that thought they were impregnable, like Kodak and Nokia, went down in flames. Digital was ‘creative destruction’, opening new space for unthinkable business models.

Like Uber and Airbnb, Amazon and Alibaba. Businesses that could not have existed in the industrial age. They didn’t leverage digital, they were borne from it. The exponential age was here. Did someone mention Bitcoin?

Now it’s happening at a blistering pace; exponential healthcare; the end of cash; design and print your own products; don’t think, just do. Everything becomes a service. Whatever you can imagine, is possible, or will be soon.

Power has moved to the edge. Virtual reality is merging with ‘real’ reality. Digital solutions fix physical problems. Disruption is not a crisis – it’s just the new normal. Everyone expects it. After all, we’ve seen it all before!

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer.