Then, Now and futureNOW

The future is always happening around us, sitting in the margins or being seen as just for trendies, hippies, the rich, the poor, a small percentage of the population.  Then it starts to become adopted by the mainstream. The power of futureNOW foresight is that it looks seriously at the margins, and asks “what if …. this became the mainstream?”  What would it mean?  What could it mean?

Below are areas of life across a Then, Now and FutureNOW timeframe.  The 1950s-1990s.  The last 20 years.  And now, the present, going forward.

Remember, most things begin as prototypes or innovations or fads. When something was in the “Then” category, it was highly likely that it was an innovation, a thing that only a few had: something that many would dismiss.  As the quotes below show, even experts find it very hard to forecast when an innovation will really take off.

However, the power and affordability of computational power, the rise of social media, the adoption of iterative, rapid prototyping all mean that the development of new products and services, and their widespread adoption, is much faster than ever before.


“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

Thomas Watson, Chair, IBM, 1943.

 

“I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.”

Business books editor, Prentice-Hall, 1957.

 

“640K of RAM ought to be enough for anybody.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft, 1981.

 

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”

H.M. Warner, Warner Bros., 1927.

 

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”

M.. Smith, Decca Records, rejecting the Beatles’ demo tape, 1962.

 

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication [and] is inherently of no value to us.”

Western Union, 1876.

 

“Heavier-than’air flying machines are impossible.”

Lord Kelvin, President, Royal Society, 1895.

 

NB: Hover over table to highlight each category. 

THEN

(1950s-90s)
NOW

(last 20 years)
futureNOW

(now)
Cars Large cars
Petrol no worry
Manual transmission
Boys first big purchase
Energy conscious cars
Automatic gears
Women car buyers
GPS
Affordable Electric car
Self-driven car
Car sharing
Nanotechnologies for parts
Young men aren’t buying
Travel Glamour of air travel
Expensive air travel
Package holidays
Hotels
Motels
Flight comparison sites: Expedia etc
Low frills airlines
Carbon footprints
Wotif.com etc
Online check in
Adventure tourism
Eco tourism
Third Age tourism
Mobile ticketing
Airbnb
Vacation curation
Couch surfing
Volunteering
Ethical tourism
Staycation
Food Grocery stores
Butchers
Home delivery
Family meal times
Meat and three veg
Fish & chips
Supermarkets
Online shopping
Food miles
Convenience foods
Eating out
Ethnic food
Franchise fast food
Slow food movement
Online Home delivery
Food as health: organic and functional
Food as cultural recreation
Provenance
Localism
Farmers markets
Learning to cook
News Newspapers printed in morning or evening
Everybody read a newspaper
TV channels then cable
Black and White then colour
Official news was THE source of information
Rivers of gold classified and TV advertising were business models
Major source of international and local news
Colour
Broadsheet
Pay TV
Radio and TV megastars
Newspaper advertising migrates online
Newsroom redundencies
Decline in newspaper sales
Information wants to be free
Bloggers
Instagram
YouTube
Twitter
News when/where you want it viaNo business model for profitable revenue streams
Social media
Rebirth of the local
Blogger newsbreakers
Mainstream media crowdsources eye witnesses
Data analytics
Organisation of work Family owned business
Corporation
Unions
Labour for hire
Dad did paid work, Mom did unpaid work
Corporations Companies
Physical labour pools
Two parent working families
Private equity
Downsizing
Multiple careers
Redundencies
Online service and creative markets
Online bidding for jobs
Collaborative work spaces
Free agents
Women as main income earner
Insecure employment
Robots
No career
Manufacturing Major employment sector
Mechanical
Labour intensive
Western nation advantage
Automation
Simple robots
Offshored
Chinese economic boom
Indian economic boom
Manufacturing and services fuse
Intelligent robots
3D rapid prototyping and printing
Specialist relocation to affluent markets
Relocation to developing nations
Makers spaces and domestic production
Computers in everything
Sustainability of supply chain
New materials
Careers and jobs Job for life
One career
Started at the bottom and worked your way up
Gender segregation
Looked at job adverts in the paper or asked a friend
Specialist recruitment agencies
Blue collar redundancies
Qualifications matter
Easing of gender segregation
Rise of pink collar work
New jobs with new technology and services
Online recruitment
What’s a career?
Job portfolios
Specialisation
Jobs and careers yet to be invented as technology and cultures change
Outsourcing of middle-class jobs
Rise in caring jobs
Direct recruitment from firm web sites
Talent networks like LInkedIn
Social networking recommendations
Family life Extended family
Engaged then married
Till death do us part marriage
Heterosexuals
Hippie communes
Nuclear family
Divorce
Single parent family
Blended family
Gay relations
Living together
Boomerang families of young adults and grandparents
Gays adopting
Single longer, young and old
Communal living
Families in apartments
Environment No environmental regulations
Pollution ignored
No one really worried
Regulations
Historical toxicity dealt with
Affecting brand value
Political issues
Personal values affect consumption
Transparent tracking and monitoring of sustainability of supply and value chain
Social entrepreneurs focus
Carbon taxes
Reduce/use/purpose
Major factor in consumption
Taxation
Finance Bank loans
Stockmarket
Professionals orbit
Debt avoided
Banks too large to fail but do
Irrational exuberance
Fools/friends/families investors stimulate entrepreneurship
Derivatives and financialisation of capitalism (money making money)
Mom & Pop investors
Private capital
Debt as way of life
Global financial system 1%ers
Crowdfunding
Local currencies
Digital wallets
Deleveraging (aka saving)
Barter
Coops
Re-regulation
Photography Mechanical cameras
Gelatin film
Commercial printing
Professionals
Family snapshots
Photo albums
Digital camera
Home printing
Digital frames
Lap tops
Phone camera
Tablet
Instagram
Pinterest
Facebook
Pro-amateur
Computers Mainframe
Desk top computer
Expensive and unusal
Moore’s Law – Power up Price down
Ubiquitous
Computer power in objects
Client servers
Laptop
Tablet
Computerisation rather than computers
Tablet and smart phone
Cloud computing
Movies Movies most common shared cultural activity
Studios controlled stars
Multiplex
Art House
Videos
Netflix
Indies
Star power across popular culture
YouTube
Short films
Kickstarter funding
Video streaming
3D
Music Phonogram
Long playing record
Cassette
Companies controlled artists
CD
MP3 player
Independent artist brands
Spotify
Crowdfunding
Social media
Shopping Department stores
Malls
Strip shopping
Specialist shops
Amazon
Mega malls
Big Box
Loss making department stores
Loss making retail
Online purchases
Online and mobile comparison shopping
Online as normal
Online marketplaces for creatives
Crowdfunding new ventures with forward orders
Retail as a service
Social commerce via recommendations
Mobile commerce
Values driven consumption
Sustainability
Share/Access/borrow rather than buy
Education Leave school without formal qualification
Public schools in majority
Minority going to university
Little early childhood education
Industrial approach
Sage on the stage
Rising leaving age
Increased university enrolments
Student debt blow outs in UK and US
Rise in private schools
Government support for early childhood
Private provision of tertiary education
Major political concern
Mainstream questioning of effectiveness
MOOCs
Decline in university enrolments in UK and US
Growth in online tertiary
Khan Academy etc
Greater emphasis on early learning years
Laptops for all
P2P learning
Watches Analogue
Expensive
Status symbol
Digital
Accessory
Cheap
Super status symbol
Heirloom
Phones
Books Demarcation between serious and popular
Hardback and paperback
Expensive
Public libraries
Amazon
Cheap printing
Deregulation of global zones
Ebooks
Ereaders
Podcasts
Reduction in bookshops
Self-publishing
Ebooks and readers
Author/readers collaborations
Graphic books
Multi-media “books”
Information affluence
Beauty Female preoccupation
Tattoos for sailors and riff raff and Indigenous cultures
Formal
Mainstreet AND cult
Personal trainers
Medicalised beauty
Tattoos as personal identity statement
Tanning
Physical and spiritual combined
Men’s beauty industry
Cell beauty treatments
Growing body parts
Computerised prosthetics
Inner beauty – soul workouts
Personalised anti-ageing technologies
Live for ever expectation
Organics