Jack Uldrich
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How a Futurist Looks for "Weak Signals"

Posted in Business, Creativity, Future, Futurist, Innovation, Weak Signals

One of the more valuable tools when attempting to anticipate future changes is to look for “weak signals.” As a professional futurist, I have developed a number of methods over the length of my career to help clients and audiences do this. First, I begin by framing the future. This “frame,” however, is usually much…

A Futurist’s Advice? Drop the Past

Posted in Future, Futurist, Weak Signals

One of my favorite methods of looking at the future is to study what words (or descriptors) I might be able to drop from the past. Here’s what I mean. When automobiles were first introduced, they were referred to as “horseless carriages.” Eventually, society just dropped the “horseless” part and shortened “carriage” to car. In…

A Different Look at the Future

Posted in Future, Futurist, Weak Signals

The future has a curious way of turning out differently than many people expect. One reason for this is because new technologies are used in ways never imagined by their inventors—as this Argyle Sweater cartoon demonstrates. My advice: If you want to better understand the future try looking at it through a lens that emphasizes…

The Future is Getting Cheaper

Posted in Future, Futurist, Health Care, Weak Signals

Last year I had post entitled The Future is Cheap in which I explained how technological advances are converging to drive down the price of a number of products and services. Today, yet another example has been brought to my attention. The price of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is currently about $12,000 in the U.S. In…

Want to Understand the Future? Study History.

Posted in Future, Futurist, Other, Weak Signals

In his famous speech at Rice University where he declared that it was America’s intention to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, President Kennedy said “the greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds,” adding that “the vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered and the unfinished…

Develop a Future Bias

Posted in Do the Impossible, Future, Futurist, Other, Weak Signals

In my 2008 book, Jump the Curve, I make the case that one strategy for “jumping the curve” and helping your organization innovate into the future is to “develop a future bias.” A future bias is the opposite of “hindsight bias” and hindsight bias is, quite simply, the idea that after an event occurs most…

In Praise of Absurd ideas

Posted in Creativity, Future, Futurist, Innovation, Other, Weak Signals

As regular readers know, I am a big fan of ”the power of play”—the idea that we need to reengage our inner-child if we truly want to innovate our way into the future. To this end, I’d invite you to read this article by Allison Arieff entitled ”Searching for Value in Ludicrous Ideas.” Related Posts…

Train Your Mind to See Different Views

Posted in Ambiguity, Business, Creativity, Exercise, Future, Futurist, Innovation, Leadership, Metaphor, Other, Weak Signals

Over the past year, the image of the “dancing lady” (to the right) has floated across the Internet in a viral fashion. Its popularity is due to the fact that some people see the image turning counter-clockwise, while others see it moving it a clockwise direction. (The general theory is that those people who see…

A Healthy Disregard for the Impossible

Posted in Future, Futurist, Health Care, Impossible, Innovation, Weak Signals

The Economist is running a profile on one of Google co-founders, Sergey Brin. I have written about Google’s ability to jump the curve before (here and here). One of the reasons Google is successful and will continue to be is because, as Brin says, he and the company’s other leaders have a “healthy disregard for…

Think Outside the Box … Way Outside!

Posted in Change, Creativity, Exercise, Future, Futurist, Impossible, Innovation, Other, Weak Signals

Personally, I despise the saying “Think outside the box.” Nevertheless, as a result of exponential advances in technology people will need to learn to “jump the curve” in order to envision how different the future will be. To this end, I’d refer you to the graph to the right. If you are inclined to “think…


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