2082 is 68 years away. Adri­an Hon can take you there now.

I found out about Hon’s provoca­tive work via a post by Car­men Med­i­na (@milouness) on the Deloitte Uni­ver­si­ty Press web­site [link]. She opens with this thought:

In the same way that humans have a hard time under­stand­ing expo­nen­tial func­tions in math­e­mat­ics, we also find it dif­fi­cult to antic­i­pate what I term “expo­nen­tial causal­i­ty.” Jour­nal­ists and aca­d­e­mics tend to focus on things that can be direct­ly inferred. To catch up with every­thing else that will even­tu­al­ly mat­ter, some may turn to sci­ence fic­tion.

Expo­nen­tial func­tions — such as 10 to the pow­er of 9 — can cause dizzi­ness in most peo­ple quick­ly, espe­cial­ly when the expo­nen­tial super­script attached to the base num­ber is neg­a­tive! Med­i­na’s idea is that think­ing about the future — and the changes that will be expo­nen­tial dis­rupters — can also cause peo­ple to shrink back to the cold, hard facts of cur­rent real­i­ty. But, she says, to start think­ing about expo­nen­tial causal­i­ty, some­times sci­ence fic­tion can help.

Strategic RoadsignsEnter Adri­an Hon (@adrianhon), who is both a neu­ro­sci­en­tist and CEO of the Six to Start soft­ware gam­ing com­pa­ny [link]. He is also the author of A His­to­ry of the Future in 100 Objects [link]. As Med­i­na explains, Hon’s book is sci­ence fic­tion with a strate­gic twist: “[The] book looks back from the year 2082 (which is with­in the like­ly lifes­pan of some liv­ing Mil­len­ni­als) and stitch­es togeth­er its nar­ra­tive using 100 objects that rep­re­sent the jour­ney human­i­ty took since the present day.”

On the book’s web­site, you can read some of Hon’s sto­ries about what will be hap­pen­ing in the world over the next 68 years. You’ll find, in Hon’s future world, indi­vid­u­als great­ly empow­ered, gov­ern­ments strug­gling, and busi­ness some­where in between.

Keep in mind that all of Hon’s trends-to-come are framed by objects that he projects will be invent­ed between 2014 and 2082. Take, for exam­ple, one that caught my fan­cy. He writes in his book that “Mutu­al Assur­ance, an insur­ance co-oper­a­tive based in Buenos Aires,” will cre­ate a Life­line bracelet in 2032. This is fun and stim­u­lat­ing read­ing!

Says Hon about that prospec­tive object [link]: “The bracelet I’m about to put on is a slen­der band of sen­sor-packed com­pos­ites that tracks the usu­al things: blood pres­sure and oxy­gena­tion, heart rate, meta­bol­ic pan­el read­ings, gal­van­ic skin response lev­els, and so on. The Life­line also hooks into the wear­er’s glass­es and oth­er tech­nol­o­gy to deter­mine, in short, what they are doing and how risky it is. All of this health and behav­iour data is then com­bined and con­vert­ed into a sin­gle num­ber — the micro­mort. A micro­mort is a unit of risk rep­re­sent­ing a one-in-a-mil­lion chance of death.”

Strate­gic think­ing has nev­er been more enter­tain­ing. For exam­ple, what if you are in health insur­ance or health care in any way? Should this idea be devel­oped in less than 20 years from today, there could be vast impli­ca­tions for what you should be doing to guide your com­pa­ny toward that future.

Med­i­na high­lights three of the trends she finds most com­pelling, if Hon’s sce­nar­ios evolve even remote­ly close to what’s in his book: (1) a greater role for Africa in the world, (2) a greater impact by the dynam­ics of the cloud, cyber progress, and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, and (3) the intro­duc­tion of neu­ro­cience as a major change agent in human behav­iour, which occurs when peo­ple start con­trol­ling their brain activ­i­ty.

I know of many com­pa­nies — whole indus­tries, even — that have been stuck in their sta­tus quo for sev­er­al years. Con­sid­er Hon’s clever writ­ing as not only one way to help under­stand Med­i­na’s con­cept of expo­nen­tial causal­i­ty, but also as a kind of defib­ril­la­tor for the brain, a way to shock you and your team into think­ing about all kinds of pos­si­bil­i­ties. Sci­ence fic­tion can some­times help peo­ple think strate­gi­cal­ly.

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