Top 10 Paul Saffo Insights – World Innovation Forum


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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Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Director of Innovation and Human-Centered Problem-Solving at Oracle, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, helps companies build innovation cultures and infrastructures, and plan organizational changes that are more human and less overwhelming. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.

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