Top 10 Paul Saffo Insights – World Innovation Forum

by Braden Kelley


Taking a slightly different approach than other World Innovation Forum bloggers, I’ve distilled my time with Paul Saffo down into these Top 10 Insights:

  1. There are times when the uncertainty is so great that you shouldn’t even forecast at all
  2. Google becoming richer as people ‘contribute’ search strings – Where else do you think you are consuming but actually contribute?
  3. 2/3 of Roomba owners give them a name – 1/3 take them with them to friend’s house or on vacation
  4. Innovative ideas often take about twenty years to succeed – If you find something that has been failing for almost 20 years, pay special attention
    • LucasFilm Habitat failed 20 yrs ago, others followed in failure, then Second Life took off

  5. People tend to substitute forward velocity as a measure of succcess
  6. Sometimes bad management is what allows innovation to happen
  7. The innovators’ trap is mistaking a clear view for a short distance
  8. People talk about innovations as an S-curve. Most people look at the inflection point. Look at the flat spot instead.
  9. Forecasters tend to over-estimate the short-term and under-estimate the long-term
  10. If you want to make sense of the future, look back – Look back twice as far as you are looking forward

Finally, I’d like to end with a quote from Mark Twain:

“History doesn’t repeat itself, at best it sometimes rhymes”

UPDATED May 24, 2009 – Here are the slides from Paul Saffo’s presentation at the World Innovation Forum:

What do you think?

Braden Kelley (@innovate on Twitter)

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