Making future trends meaningful and the choices you have to stay relevant


Knee deep in future trends

I am always knee deep in future trend books. Books like “Augmented” by Brett King, “The Third Wave” by Steve Case, “The inevitable” by Kevin Kelly and “The fourth industrial revolution” by Klaus Schwab.

Change is coming

All are saying the same. Change is coming. Change is coming fast. Moore’s law, Metcalfe’s law and the tech version of the Cambrian explosion are going to push AI, IoT, augmentation, robotics, health, 3D printing, computing, data, etc. to highs (or lows) we have never seen before.

Bill Gates

To quote Bill Gates; “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten” or to quote Kevin Kelly “We are constantly surprised by things that have been happening for 20 years or longer”. There is no arguing that there are interesting times ahead.

Random from those books

  • Every 12 months we produce 8 million new songs, 2 million new books, 16,000 new films, 30 billion blog posts, 182 billion tweets, 400,000 new products
  • Compared to the adoption of the telephone, we now are 50 times quicker at mass adoption
  • The first solar cell was invented in 1954
  • Today, the Internet is responsible for US$2.6 trillion in e-commerce sales. Before 1994, that figure was exactly $0.
  • Today, 8 million people are employed in renewable energy, as many as 37 million people globally will be employed in this industry by 2030
  • Watson outperformed the collective US-based cancer research effort with its US$5 billion in funding by 600%
  • Graphene, which is about 200-times stronger than steel, a million times thinner than a human hair, and an efficient conductor of heat and electricity, gram for gram, it is one of the most expensive materials on earth, with a micrometer-sized flake costing more than $1,000.
  • The average lifespan of a corporation listed on the S&P 500 has dropped from around 60 to approximately 18.31
  • Only 40 percent of the web is commercially manufactured. The rest is fuelled by duty or passion.
  • In the next 10 years, 99 percent of the artificial intelligence that you will interact with, directly or indirectly, will be nerdly narrow, supersmart specialists
  • There is a switch from “ownership that you purchase” to “access that you subscribe to”
  • We’ll probably reach Zetta in a few years. Yotta is the last scientific term for which we have an official measure of magnitude. Bigger than Yotta is blank. Until now, any more than a Yotta was a fantasy. But we’ll be flinging around yottabytes in two decades
  • A zillion hyperlinks will give you information and behaviour you could never expect from a hundred thousand links
  • The cloud will become our extended soul (it is called lifestream)

Some cool stuff about books

Over the next three decades, scholars and fans, aided by computational algorithms, will knit together the books of the world into a single networked literature. Books, including fiction, will become a web of names and a community of ideas


By 2020, 50 billion “things” will be connected to the Internet, but by 2030 we could be talking as many as 100 trillion sensors, or 150 sensors for every human on the planet, each more powerful than all of the computers connected to the Internet in the year 1995. The human brain has roughly 86 billion neurons, or a trillion times fewer than the Holos or Technium. In terms of magnitude, the Technium already significantly exceeds our brains in complexity. And our brains are not doubling in size every few years. The Holos mind is. We are passing an inflexion point, a complexity threshold.

What does this mean?

The problem with these books is that it means nothing. You might as well say “the sky is blue” (I am in Spain, and I can confirm that is the case). You need to figure out what does it mean to you and your business? Moving from passive trend watchers to active trend predictors and creators of opportunity. Or at least become more anti-fragile.

Your first choices

Your first choices are:

  • Aware or ignorant?
  • Afraid or excited?
  • Pessimist or optimist?
  • Embrace or reject?
  • Adapt or die?
  • Fragile or anti-fragile?

Do you start your own business?

If we could climb into a time machine, journey 30 years into the future, and from that vantage look back to today, we will realise that most of the greatest products running the lives of citizens in 2050 were not invented until after 2016. So, the truth: Right now, today, in 2016 is the best time to start up. In fact, the business plans of the next 10,000 startups are easy to forecast. Take X and add AI. Cognify!

Are you Robot?

Just as everyone needed a PC strategy in the 1980s, a website strategy in the 1990s and a social media strategy over the last decade, you will need a robot strategy for not only the next ten years but for the rest of your life.

Other questions to ask:

  • What are the relevant trends that will impact your business?
  • Do you understand exponential?
  • What sources of information do you need?
  • Who are the gurus you should track?
  • What filters will you apply?
  • What is your strategy to remain relevant?

As CEO, innovation director, strategist, etc., you have many more questions to consider. If you want to talk, my number is +353-85-1006307.


sensemaking cover


Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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