Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Future-Proofing: Thought Patterns

As I close this series on Future-Proofing, I think it is time to discuss the one thing that we really can not control, or even adequately plan for: changing thought patterns.

First off, let me define what I mean by changing thought patterns: They are a change of the way we think, but not so much in the obvious sense, but more subtler.  This usually takes a long time to happen and notice.  It’s also has a society component.  I guess I should give a couple of examples.

I bought my house a decade ago.  When I bought it, I made certain every room in the house had a telephone jack.  Today, if I am going to buy a house, I do not particularly care about making certain each room having a telephone jack.  I know there are people who would be content if their house had no telephone jacks at all.

So what happened?  Did my views on telephones change?  Not really.  But the world around me has changed.  Cell phones are so ubiquitous that people no longer have desk phones but one that more or less has become attached to their bodies and as a result, the way we look at communication is different.  No one planned thisNo conspiracy theory to remove all desk phones and land lines.  Just happened.

Another example: large families.  Back in the day, it was common to at least know someone who came from a large family, having say five (5) or more siblings.  These days, at least in the United States and Western Europe, the concept of a large family is completely foreign.  I only know of one family with more than two (2) children. 

Why did this happen?  The experts and planners will spout things like population control, (there are too many people on the planet), decreasing infant morality (Used to be having ten children meant that two would survive to adulthood..  Nowadays, not needed.) and the high cost of having children.

I’m using these two examples to show what changing thought patterns are.  (So do not nit-pick the examples themselves.)  It shows that we should never be complacent about things.  We should expect that something may happen which will totally change the way we run out business.  Sometimes, it is planned, like MTGO v4.  Other times, well, you get my point. 

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