Combining Signals

The future doesn’t come from nowhere, she often builds on existing building blocks. Mankind has created an almost infinite number of such building blocks over the course of their history. With every additional building block we increase the number of combinations possible. Sooner or later, somebody will combine them in a way that benefit us and in the same time kill an old industry.

The question that all of us have is: “How can I be the one combining the building blocks?”

Certainly not, if we are just leaning back and are waiting until a ‘hype’ is over. New things can only be created and directed, if we actively participate in combing building blocks.

For that, we don’t require a hundred million dollar laboratory. A simple piece of paper is sufficient. The first step is to take new technology, a new business model, or a demographic trend and combine multiple of them. We know similar approaches from improvisation comedy and theater, such as “Who’s line is it anyway?” While actors in an improv theater are given words that they have to combine in the most humorous way and create stories and sentences, in Foresight Mindset we combine signals.

The sentence structure can help. Here it is:

What if

Signal 1, Signal 2 and Signal 3

came together, and make

Thing 4

for

Person / Company / Society

possible?

What if restaurants, freemium model and self-driving cars come together? What if motorbikes, artificial intelligence, and advertising are combined? What if the internet of things, health, and  agriculture are mixed? We can see that the combination possibilities are infinite.

This exercise teaches us quite a bit:

  1. It brings us a lot of new ideas of how signals can develop;
  2. If we don’t try them ourselves, somebody else will come up with an idea;
  3. Every product and service, every technology, every process started once as a combination of signals. Even though each of those combinations once were regared as not feasible, as simple brain exercise, or were judged as stupid idea, today the results are seen as totally normal.

Here is a template for this Foresight Mindset-technique:

Combining_Signals.png
Foresight Mindset: Combining Signals – Template

And here how it looks like in an example:

Combining_Signals_Example.png
Foresight Mindset: Combining Signals – Example

This article was also published in German.

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