"The future is already here, it's just unevenly distributed." This was said in January 2003 by William Gibson, the science-fiction author who coined the word "cyberspace". So if the future is already here, how do you get a piece of it?
Like tomorrow's weather forecast, the clues are already here. So look around you, your mates, home office, business, profession, industry. Where are the opportunities? What are the trends.
Is there something so burningly obvious that you agree with Bob Dylan when he sings "You don't need a weatherman to tell you which way the wind blows."
Where's the pain that you can reduce? What might reduce chores in business, solve problems for people or the environment and overcome common reported complaints? What's your hunch? Regularly revisit these questions. Think about it. Do thought doodles. Rave with you friends.
The past and the present can help you look for clues for invention or innovation in the future.
The academic area for this is in engineering. It's called technology forecasting. Looking for clues or technology forecasting can help generate ideas for new ventures. Buchanan's illustrations helps illustrate this point.
First, note that global warming and alternative sources of energy are urgent needs, requiring the public, government and people in business to think "green".
Now study the graphic below. It illustrates the evolution of technologies based on petrol, oil and gas.
It appears in The Power of the Machine: The Impact of Technology from 1700 to the Present (Viking: London, 1992). The author, R. A. Buchanan, was a Professor of History of Technology at the University of Bath.
In a second graphic, see below, Buchanan illustrates the evolution of technologies based on electric power.
Invention, radical innovation and fresh field thinking are rare. They are hard work. Inventors walk along a lonely line of enquiry. Innovators branch out from them. There are vastly more minor innovators and innovations, and clever new applications for old ideas, than there ever will be inventors or inventions.
Invention is afforded far better intellectual property protection. But even with innovations intellectual property law and numerous business and technological mechanisms exist for protecting ideas and their expression. It may involve clever branding protected by a good trade mark registration, properly using ecommerce or being first to focus on and consolidate a new market. Read what others have Made in Australia without necessarily beginning with intellectual property.
In over 30 years in this game I've collected quite a few mechanisms for protecting ideas, some are drawn from intellectual property law, business structuring law and trade practices law; just as many are business, process and technological mechanisms for protection.
If you have a hunch, I welcome your call on (02) 9269 0229 for a free exchange of thoughts. I'm happy to listen to your hunch. Maybe our dialogue will trigger clues and maybe we or a colleague can help build your opportunity. There's no charge for the initial conversation. We believe that if we don't deliver value you'll never be happy about the service, so our approach involves partnering. Its that simple. I look forward to your call.