Adults ring doorbells with their forefingers. Thanks to Sony and Apple, teenagers now use their thumbs

This week I went to a breakfast briefing where three speakers discussed their perspectives on the future and the role that technology would play in human development. Although it could have been off-the-wall, it was actually less futuristic than an episode of Star Trek from the 1960s.

Secret Marketer

One conclusion that caught my attention was that every company needs a director of foresight and that the government needs to appoint a minister of foresight. Just think of that. While a few enlightened companies have directors of insight, and everyone has a strategy director or two lurking around, to have someone on the board predicting the future and the impact on your brand would certainly take the debate away from simply hitting this year’s numbers. If only HMV and Kodak had had the foresight to install such an individual.

Then they talked about how technology was affecting our children. 

Did you know that kids don’t call mobile phones ‘mobile phones’? They call them ‘phones’. To them, there is no distinction between a fixed line and a mobile. What does that mean to traditional home phone providers?

And then the pièce de résistance: have you ever seen a teenager ring a doorbell? An adult would usually use their forefinger but a teenager uses their thumb – a direct result of texting on mobile phones (sorry, ‘phones’) – and using remote controls and joysticks. It took us millions of years to lose our tails. Sony and Apple achieved the doorbell feat in a decade.

But the biggest innovation of recent times – an invention that I use so many times a day, it has changed my approach to risk-taking and boldness – is the ‘undo’ button. The concept that you can draw, write or calculate something but with a simple keystroke go back to a previous state – wow! 

Wouldn’t it be something if you could do that with everything in life – turning back the clock after that poor business decision, that somewhat indiscrete piece of feedback to your boss or even that foolish agency appointment?

Well, perhaps my soon-to-be-appointed director of foresight can help with this…

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