Marcus Weldon is focused on the future. As president of Bell Labs, a research and scientific development company that has been awarded — ahem — eight Nobel Prizes, he knows a thing or two about invention, innovation and solving needs.
Want the blueprint to creating impact in the future? Here are Weldon’s five maxims to help you invent the next paradigm-shattering product or era-altering service:
1. Focus on human need.
By solving problems for people, you will always be ahead of the curve. Weldon quotes Jeff Bezos as the quintessential example on this. Jeff says “Amazon focuses on the things that don’t change, not the the things that do change.”
Humans will always needs goods, and need goods quickly. Amazon has optimized the delivery of goods to the modern-day consumer, and thus created an indispensible business. A great question to ask yourself is: what age-old problem can you update or solve?
The goal of the future is to save people time.
“Time is the one commodity that we have a finite amount of and there aren’t many ways to optimize it.” He points to a few examples of time-saving inventions:
- A printing machine vs. writing by hand? A printing machine saves you time.
- Driving a car vs. walking? A car gets you there faster.
- The Hubble Space Telescope vs. physically going into space to collect information? The HST is a much quicker way to learn about the solar system.
If you want to create an indispensable product or service for the future, figure out the next great way to save people precious seconds, minutes, hours or days.
Automation = the future.
Weldon predicts an oncoming technology revolution that will “outstrip and outshine the information era as we know it.” This future tech revolution will be focused on the automation of everything, to save humans — you guessed it — more time.
Connect the physical and digital realms.
Systems like media, global devices, and web systems have all been interconnected – but not our cities, our communities, or our infrastructure. Weldon believes the intertwining of the physical and digital worlds, (current example: a Fitbit) will be the wave of innovative products in the future.
What’s humanity’s future problem going to be? Too much information. The inundation of data creates distraction and overwhelms, and as we connect more systems and realms in the future, our data will only increase. The future of problem-solving and innovation will be zeroed in on turning the millions of pieces of data we receive online into relevant knowledge. Weldon defines relevant knowledge as what you need to know, not just what you want to know. If you can figure out a way to turn the oncoming onslaught of information into something meaningful for people – you’ll have a product or service driving impact in the future.
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