This was a very interesting year from this futuristâ€™s point of view. It felt like a year of transition, of new beginnings and of breakthroughs. New and clear trend lines were started in several areas that will continue next year and beyond. Starting next week I will take a predictive look forward to 2007 and suggest trends and dynamics that will help shape the months and years ahead. This post however will take a look back to point out developments that occurred as a preamble for the predictive look forward.
2006 will be looked back upon as the year where a tipping point of sorts was reached regarding alternative energy and global warming. Twenty years ago, global warming was a high level concept that only committed environmentalists understood. Now, in 2006 it has become a personal experience for us all. Record heat waves in the summer? Global warming. Warm weather in December? Global warming. At year end the term is even used to discuss the stock market and what companies and industries will benefit from global warming. Sure Al Gore helped us develop this perception with â€œAn Inconvenient Truthâ€, but we have all felt, and many of us have seen the effects of this warming.
This sense of global warming combined with record high gasoline prices and the now widely understood connection between our addiction to oil and the funding of terrorism has really helped to bring about the early tipping point in the US regarding alternative energy. Daily and weekly news stories about wind power, solar power, electric cars, ethanol, and conservation all increased dramatically in 2006. So many terms have now moved from the green movement to the mainstream that it does represent a shift in awareness that will only accelerate and will lead to innovation and changes in behavior in the years ahead. For those of you new to this blog, you can read my comments and predictions on this here, and here, and here.
The Internet fueled power of disintermediation was certainly felt by many industries in 2006. Clearly media and video transmission was changed forever with the fantastic popularity and influence of sites such as YouTube. This not only changed the world of media but also the world of politics as everything politicians say and do can now be uploaded for the world to see. It also further delivered the power of influence and creativity to the individual and away from the corporations. This was discussed here and here.
Disintermediation also gained force in the real estate business as long held business practices and pricing were challenged. This also started in the insurance business. Think back on the disintermediating power of the Internet on the travel industry and stock brokerage during the past decade to get an idea of what might lie ahead for these and other industries.
Technological innovation continued in 2006. Breakthroughs in speed, miniaturization, and connectivity all pointed the way to coming change in many areas of life.
The cultural phenomenon of coffee seemed to cross over into a critical mass in 2006. Starbucks accelerated its store openings and cultural influence. McDonalds improved and promoted its new higher quality coffee. Dunkinâ€™ Donuts became a much more aggressive player. All these places offered wireless connections to allow people to stay around getting jacked up on caffeine as they worked on their laptops. This new â€˜third placeâ€™ became even more entrenched in our social and work culture as an alternative to home or office. Not surprisingly, there were many more stories about sleep deprivation and people working in an always on world of high speed digital connectivity and rapid change.
These are just a few of the major things that occurred and were covered in this blog in 2006. This was the year that this blog actually came into existence. I want to thank all of you that have become regular readers, and participants, of www.evolutionshift.com . As the readership and influence of this blog has grown, I am extremely grateful to each and every reader. Thank you. 2006 was the year to create a credible, respected blog that would provide people with â€œA Future Look at Todayâ€. A number of you have made it a favorite and linked to us here. Now that credibility and a loyal readership have been established, in the year ahead it is the goal to greatly grow and expand the readership here. To that end, if you do enjoy this blog, please enthusiastically tell even one friend to check us out. Thank you. Happy New Year!