Making sense of exponential change

People are always trying to capture, quantify and visualise the pace of change, because if one thing is clear, it’s that change is accelerating.

But it’s hard to process. I’m not sure humans are hardwired to like change. Simple slow progressive change maybe, but even the most change-maker of us has routines they like to follow. Well-trodden paths help us deal with the complexity that is out of our sphere of control. So trying to compute the exponential change that typifies modern living is hard.

I love this example which aptly describes the vast impact of exponential change. Thinktank Singularity University describes it as at first deceptive – in its early stages it’s hard to predict – slow and steady progress that’s hard to differentiate from linear growth. But in short order it becomes explosive. Hard to spot at the start and hard to predict where it will go when it takes off.

We believe, that in a world of exponential change, you can’t expect that the tools and tricks that got you to where you are now will keep you there. Or get you to where you need to go next.

To proceed with confidence you need to be evolving your offer, grounded in the best possible consumer insight but always pushing at the edge – What’s new? Where next? How can we make it better?

If looking ahead at exponential change is difficult to conceptualise, perhaps hindsight is a little easier to digest. The following is a subjective journey through some of the media, tech, medical, auto and food & beverage product innovations that we’ve seen in the last 18 years that we’ve been helping our clients make confident decisions to fuel their growth.

Timeline of Exponential Change 2000-2018

Exponential Change timeline

(click on the timeline to expand)