By Darrin Grove

What would you do differently — in your community, your organization, your family, your life — if you could see the future?

“Wait, let me look into my trusty crystal ball!”   CC photo thanks to nandadevieast

“Wait, let me look into my trusty crystal ball!”
CC photo thanks to nandadevieast


Many a water cooler joke has been made about the mythical crystal ball. What will thrill our clients in the next release of our product? How can we enhance our service lines to help our clients be more competitive? “Wait, let me look into my trusty crystal ball!”

What we know all too well is that there are no crystal balls. What too many of us do not know is that we don’t need a crystal ball because, as William Gibson once said, “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.” What Gibson means is that there are signals all around us that we can use to predict some of what is coming in the near future, if we pay close attention to what is already around us.

Great innovators make a discipline of watching signals and regularly connect to a variety of sources that discuss innovation, entrepreneurship, startups, inventions, technology, and other trends.

At TrueFit, our passion is innovation because we believe that innovation is essential for people to thrive. We have the privilege of working with entrepreneurs in companies of all sizes who are looking to make a breakthrough. We apply proven methods in user research, human-centered design, and agile product development to reduce risk and move new technology products from concept to reality quickly.

Creating disruptive technology to help people thrive

TrueFit: creating disruptive technology to help people thrive

Here are five areas where we are watching for signals along with our clients as we help them imagine, design, and build new disruptive products and services:

    1. “The Internet of Things.” What will the world be like when the majority of the ordinary things in our life are connected and talking to each other? Think of anything in your home that is powered and has a switch. As more and more devices in our lives are connected, many opportunities to create new applications that enable new behaviors and improve daily life will open up. These new applications will not be for a single purpose but will be designed to work across an ecosystem of many devices and platforms. One interesting company we are watching is SmartThings.

    2. Biofeedback. We’ve seen a surge of new devices that help us measure our activity and ultimately manage our health and fitness, from Nike Fitbit to Jawbone UP which just recently announced the acquisition of BodyMedia. As illuminating as they are, what if we are just scratching the surface of what is possible? With healthcare costs on the rise, many believe that the only real solution is for us to make better decisions and become healthier. There are a lot of solutions out there, but we see a lot of new possibilities.

    3. Telemedicine. What if you could connect with doctors and other medical professionals electronically from the comfort of your home? What if diagnoses could be done remotely? Would you sleep better if you knew for sure that your mom was taking her meds regularly? There are many interesting ideas and many startups looking to solve these problems, including our friends at HealthSpot.

    4. Near-field communication (NFC). Many of our smartphones already offer the NFC technology that enables devices in close proximity to communicate. But we have a long way to go before we can throw away our wallets because NFC has enabled mobile payments. Shouldn’t it be easier to share information with your friends who have different devices? We can’t wait. Learn more at nearfieldcommunication.org.

    5. 3D printing. The ability to rapidly prototype and test physical products is changing the way we think about manufacturing and empowering a new generation of Makers. In addition, subscription-based manufacturing facilities like TechShop are opening across the country, providing training and fabrication capabilities that previously were only available to large companies with lots of capital.

These are only a few of the trends we are observing. In fact, many of the technologies we use every day — mobile, social, local — still contain immense potential for greater creative application. We encourage you to raise your disruption antenna by connecting with resources like Quora, where many of these trends are being discussed, and keep your own list of interesting signals.

What future are you seeing around you? We’d love to hear your comments about these and other important discoveries and trends that are driving opportunity and impact.

Darrin Grove, TrueFit’s founder and CEO, is a native Pittsburgher with a passion for innovation, technology, and values-based leadership. Darrin founded TrueFit on the core values of being principled, collaborative, empowering, and serving the common good. His insatiable thirst for new, disruptive technologies has positioned TrueFit as a leader in bringing new ideas to market, and a partner to companies that seek to operate more entrepreneurially. TrueFit has carved out a role as a collaborative partner to organizations and entities dedicated to building new ideas, products, and start-ups in Pittsburgh and around the country. Darrin tweets regularly on tech and innovation. You can view the near future as he sees it by following him here.

Fieldnotes Magazine is a publication of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. We would love to hear from you about people, businesses, or other organizations we can interview or feature. Please email The Editor at Fieldnotes Magazine.

 

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