Stefan Hyttfors, a well-known Swedish public speaker, gave a presentation at KTH a few days ago. The main topic of his presentation was the future: What shapes the future and what does the future bring? I had high expectations of this presentation, not only because of the free lunch.
The presentation started with how mankind has dealt with change over time. In the beginning – when everyone still lived in little villages – people didn’t really deal with changes. When you were old, everything was still more or less the same as when you were born. Nowadays this is quite different. When the youth of today will be old, completely new technologies will exist compared to when this generation was born.
Even though the world today is dominated by change and innovation, people don’t really handle change well. Change causes stress. In order to cope with the stress, everyone yearns for the illusion of control. The same goes for companies. Companies think they know the future and try to create prospects. All this in order to predict the future. However, we all know it’s impossible. No one can guess what is going to happen next.
An example of a company that thought it knew the future is Kodak. For years Kodak was the leading firm in photography. The company was really innovative and owned tons of patents. However, when the market changed abruptly, it failed to adapt (to digital photography) and lost all its power. Stefan called this the “Risk of Ignorance”. It’s the reason why the current big players in the market might disappear in a few years.
In the end, the presentation didn’t teach me anything. The talk was somewhat incoherent and only mentioned things I knew already. But I did get a free lunch!