It’s not easy to peer into the future and spot emerging technologies or innovations that could reshape an entire industry. But what if some companies could see around the corner better than others? For executive teams and boards of directors, the ability to predict if, and how fast, new technologies will take off would be invaluable.
A handful of utilities and oil and gas companies, for example, realised that fracking technology would disrupt the industry long before analysts and the rest of the world started talking about that shift. They were watching for a critical signal that fracking would become financially viable, and it came in 2007, three years ahead of the shale gas boom. Anticipating a pivotal shift in the market, these companies positioned themselves to take advantage of the shale revolution.
New technologies often prompt a vision of sweeping change long before we know if they are viable, or how many years it will take to bring them to market. Scientists, economists and other experts foresee robots taking over jobs in service industries; genetic engineering revolutionising agriculture; labgrown meat supplanting the animal protein industry; autonomous vehicles becoming the new mode of transportation, with fleets of driverless cars replacing individual vehicle ownership and eliminating millions of truck driving jobs; and the Internet of
Things revolutionising manufacturing. Each of these innovations looks capable of dramatically altering w