The best way to predict the future

Some days ago, I watched a very interesting (and discouraging) movie: “The big short“. Inter alia, that movie is about the seeing and the foreseeing, and about the human habit of being able to see mainly (only?) what we want to see.

In 1971, during a meeting of the Palo Alto Research Center of Xerox, Alan Kay said:

Don’t worry about what anybody else is going to do. The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

This quote has been attributed to many important persons (e.g.: Abramo Lincoln, Peter Druker, etc.), it is really very famous and often repeated.

Nonetheless, it is a lie.

The best way to predict the future is to state that something which has already happened is going to happen. The trick is to see something that is already there, but which the most people are not able to see; or, maybe, they don’t want to see!

That’s one of the reasons why being a fair consultant can be really hard. Does the customer really want to ‘see the future’? Sometimes he doesn’t, and if you try to show it to him, he gets really angry.

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Originally published at on January 26, 2016.

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