Bowling with a Crystal Ball, 2nd Edition is now available!

In 2015, I decided to launch my creativity and innovation coaching practice, Large Scale Creativity (www.largescalecreativity.com). I knew it had to focus on three phases: assessment, intervention, and ideation. At the ideation phase, there are few known effective ways for generating innovative ideas, the kind that disrupts markets and creates new wealth. One day, I served as a panelist at an innovation workshop at the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Dallas continuing education program. One of the attendees asked “where do great ideas for new businesses come from?” Every panelist had his or her opinion, but to me it was clear, and my answer was “from the future!” I explained the power of being able to forecast the fast evolution of technologies, and to harness that knowledge into building businesses that could not have existed today, because the technology required to support them was not available yet. Therefore it was only natural for me to look back at my 2007 book, Bowling with a Crystal Ball, and release a second edition as I launched the new practice.

But there is more to that, and this is where timing is everything. When I wrote this book originally, I left room for another chapter: “Putting it all together—the Story of USB3.” I took this chapter out right before publishing the first edition. You see, the creation of USB3 did not happen after the book came out—it happened before, and inspired the writing of this book. However, as the book was ready for editing in May of 2007, Intel was not yet ready to announce the formation of the USB3 promoters group. It eventually announced it at the Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco on September 18, 2007. Two months after the first edition of this book was already out… For that reason—the chapter was left out of the first edition. However, it is included in this second edition of the book. This chapter is important to the understand the framework and methods presented in this book. The story of the formation of the USB 3 promoters group demonstrates how to forecast technology trends (specifically, storage capacity and content size), how to understand the implications of these trends on markets that do not use those technologies today, how to develop disruptive implementations, specifically in the area of wired digital connectivity, and how to navigate them from an idea to a successful launch of a technology that now exits in almost every computer and peripheral. It uses a real life example rather than leaving you only with the theory behind it.

                But that wasn’t the only reason to publish a second edition. When you read this book you will notice that the numbers used in the forecasts were captured in 2006-2007, when the book was written. The snapshots of different technologies were based on data published at that time, and the predictions and forecasts were made based on that data. In the fourth chapter of this book I provided a 7-year forecast of 18 different technology trends (Figure 15). It specifically called for the value of those technology parameters in 2014. In December 2014, I collected new parametric data for some of those trends to see how accurate were the methods described in the book and the specific forecasts resulting from them. I was pleasantly surprised at the accuracy of the 2007 forecasts, and therefore added a section to that chapter in this second edition. I had the option of revising all the forecasts to carry them forward into 2022, but opted to keep the original ones. Part 1 of the book focuses on the forecast methodology rather than the actual forecasts and numbers. Therefore, I felt it would be more powerful and educational to see the original 2007 forecasts and how accurate they turned out to be in 2014. I would prefer you learn the methods rather than use the numbers.

The second edition thus still includes products such as BlackBerry, very successful in 2007, and no mention of the iPhone, which was released on June 29, 2007—6 days before the publication of the first edition of the book. It also shows that deploying one great innovation (as BlackBerry did) was not enough, and continuous innovation is required for a company to succeed in the long run. That was the reason for me to launch my creativity and innovation coaching practice—Large Scale Creativity.

                In 2010 I was asked to create a class based on this book for the University of Texas at Dallas’ Graduate School of Management. I realized then that I needed to cover more than the quantitative trend analysis method included in this book, and taught additional forecasting methods, such as monitoring, expert opinion, the Delphi method, and simulations. A high-level overview of those methods was added to this second edition.