Remembering the world’s most famous futurologist.
Updated: May 24
Within weeks of its release in 1970, ‘Future Shock’ was an international best seller. It went on to sell over 6,000,000 copies in five years. Proof positive, that word and reputation always could spread like wild fire - well before the advent of social media.
The book was considered trendy by some, not trending. Though I suppose it was trending, long before that word slipped off the tongue.
The phrase ‘Future Shock’ even entered the vocabulary for a while. Coinage for what? What was the fuss all about?
It had many themes, but the transforming power of technology plays a central role in the book. Sound familiar? Fifty years on, and it still has resonance. Proof the author had vision? Or, just that paradoxically, some things never change?
The rate of change is another big theme that the book explores and one that, as a citizen, I am acutely aware of today as I see the world shifting under my feet:
Vaccine development that only takes a year (critical for our way of life)
Technologies shifting from public to private sectors (space and satellite)
Reusable rockets (seriously clever)
Clean energy (the shift to low carbon is rapid)
Batteries (at last, we can store electricity)
Sensors (connected world)
Drones (to your door)
Smart cities (reviving a broken model?)
3D printing (just about anything)
Big data (urban planning to weather forecasting)
Digital automation (business optimisation)
Autonomous vehicles (safer than humans?)
Personal/business communications (instant, global reach)
Lest we forget, that people sitting at desks somewhere on earth are flying drones on Mars, I wonder what NASA’s work-from-home policy is?
Tech is taking off-again?
It definitely has a new impetus, and the thing that connects them all, is the impact they have on the way we live, or on the way we are going to live, very soon.
Your average five year old does expect to slip online to access a set of 3D wireframe render instructions for the latest rocket model. Printed instructions?
Cool stuff - right place, at the right time, with the right consumer support, and, an enriched experience.
Good Comms. Well done LEGO.
And, the author of Future Shock, Alvin Toffler, also coined the phrase ‘information overload’. He foresaw the pressure on communications, and our ability to assimilate so much disruption.
And, here at Lgs we spend a lot of time ducking, diving and weaving around this challenge.
- Not just fighting against an ever-decreasing attention span, or the pace of change in our rapidly evolving world, - but the impulse to put it all out there, is pulling in the opposite direction.
Why? Because I can! Because there is little expense constraint. And we can make your logo spin at no extra expense - just the touch of a button. Why? Why not?
Don’t get me started….
DO you sense a whiff of nostalgia? No, not likely. The access and flexibility we have in communications today is incredible.
But there is still a penalty to be paid when the opportunity that technology offers is mis-applied – and it’s too easy to do.
At Lgs we have identified information overload, right across the spectrum - from the tender process documentation to the humble Powerpoint. In other words, examples across the whole customer journey.
Why is it significant? Because of its limiting impact on your fleeting moment to influence buying decisions, or conversely on purchasing confidence, without the effort of wading through, well, everything you’ve got ….too taxing! Information overload!
I ask myself, what would Alvin Toffler have to say? Then I ask myself, what would LEGO do?