The Next Twenty Years Story

It is not so hard to come up with a story that connects you to the next ten minutes. It is a bit more of a challenge, but still not too hard to do the same for the next hour. Days are a bit more abstract and unmanageable. Weeks get out of control. Months? Whoa! Years? Decades? How about 20 years?

Notice the trend line? We go from confident to “who knows”. Pretty quickly. And yet, we need to tell stories about the future. Keven Kelly thinks a lot of things are just around the corner. It is the “get ready for change” story that we hear a lot about.  But as Jill Lepore points out, models that we use to predict how disruption works are not very precise.

To get better at this, you might start by making a list of stuff that should not change over the next 20 years. Not things that cannot change, but things that should not change. Then you can start thinking about how to add value to that stuff. This is what Jeff Bezos does at Amazon — his story is that clients will always want cheaper prices, more selection and faster delivery. And Amazon strives to offer that stuff. If making a mobile phone fits that idea,  so be it. It becomes part of the story.

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