The first bitcoin was mined on the 3rd
of January 2009. It was not the first cryptocurrency. Some sources indicate that the first cryptocurrency was eCash, developed by DigiCash in 1990. Bitcoin appeared 13 years ago, but this new currency, along with blockchain technology, made a sensation in the second half of the 2010s, when notions such as "token", "ICO", "smart contract", or "fiat currency" became familiar for millions of people worldwide. Was there a way to predict it back in 2009? It could be difficult, but not impossible.
Futurists and foresight experts are not people who see the future. The future is unseeable not because it is hidden from us humans, but because it doesn't exist. It is being created every second by the effort of all the people, including you and me. Nobody can predict
the future, but some people can see the signs of the future changes that are visible today. These signs are called "emerging issues", or "weak signals".
Many companies monitor trends, but when an issue is called a "trend", which means it is mentioned in some articles in business magazines or on a trend-watching websites, it is not an "emerging issue" anymore; it is a current issue. Many people, including your competitors, read these articles. Following the trends might be better than ignoring them, but it is unlikely helps to create a game-changing product or a disruptive business model.
Looking for and monitoring emerging issues is time-consuming and expensive, which is why many business executives are reluctant to invest time and money for that. A group of searchers collects tons of raw data from articles, news, blog posts from not only conventionally recognized origins. Then they cluster data, create a long list of possible issues, and monitor them for some time. At the end of the day, a customer gets a short list of emerging issues that, maybe, will become a major trend someday. And if you are lucky, you may notice a new big thing such as bitcoin or social media sooner than your rivals.
Nevertheless, it guarantees nothing. The group can overlook an issue that will become a significant trend or pay too much attention to an issue that will remain a niche phenomenon or fade away. Indeed, there are no facts about the future. Some entrepreneurs trust their intuition and believe that they can see the future. And it works – at times. Intuition is nothing more than subconscious horizon scanning and emerging issues analysis – one's brain collects plenty of data and tries to connect the dots.
So, if you are ready to leave it to chance, you can trust your intuition. But if I were a large enterprise's CEO, I would prefer to conduct emerging issue monitoring and analysis.
If you like watching articles more then reading them, take a look at my YouTube channel