Earlier this week in Toronto, consulting firm Deloitte hosted an annual event where its research team predicted the biggest trends to come in technology, media and communications. Unlike years past, however, this year’s next big thing was a set of massively lowered expectations.
According to Duncan Stewart, who leads the research practice at Deloitte Canada, there are plenty of amazing, even mind-blowing advancements on the way in fields like artificial intelligence, driverless cars, virtual reality and so on. The only trouble is, that horizon may be steeper than in years past. Stewart said some of the next “next big things” were likely five years away. Even more were probably a decade away.
“We’re in an innovation lull in terms of what’s going to happen,” he said. “There are lots of exciting things emerging, but they’re emerging, they’re not at our feet yet.”
Am I the only one who hears CIOs, CMOs and those in other enterprise functions cheering, at least a little?
While CES is usually supposed to dazzle us with new gadgets and applications, the most memorable thing about the 2018 event will probably be the moment the lights went out. Innovation is exciting — but after the sharing economy, the attention economy and whatever other economy we’ve been living through, it’s also a little exhausting. With AI and blockchain continuing to play out in many different forms and industries, who has time to keep up with it all?
Maybe this means businesses can spend more time focusing on perfecting and sustaining the innovations of the previous five to 10 years. There are still lots of companies whose cloud computing strategy is not fully figured out. Untold numbers have yet to do anything but the Internet of Things, wearables or even social media.
Let’s take advantage of this lull — call it the innovation pause — to show real leadership in executing on the ideas, technologies and opportunities that have been only half-done until now. Then, when the next big thing finally comes along, maybe we’ll be ready to enjoy it. That’s not a prediction from Deloitte, or even from me — it’s more of a hope.