Fast Company

Visionary Cheat Sheet: Get Ahead Now With This Future Roadmap!

Watson chart

Business thinkers still pondering what sort of social, economic and cultural shakeups will define 2010 are officially behind. That's because Fast Company's own contributor, ultra-wonk and professional futurist Richard Watson just released this Trends & Technology Timeline charting the estimated arrival of global innovation through 2050! (For a PDF version, click here.)

As Watson explains on his blog, these incredibly complex musings are modeled off a simple subway map with 16 main arteries representing the path of "everything from society & culture to news & media," as it shuttles inexorably into the outer boroughs of distant time zones. Stops along the way: micro-insurance, calorie taxes, and a single global e-currency to name just a few.

Watson

The result is impressive, if complicated. Our future really looks more like a series of mini-advances all hitched and looped together into some sort of giant, sea-change-powering circuit board. Consider it an intimate look at the going-ons at Watson's own think tank, the Global Innovation Network. After all, he's written the book on scenario forecasting and consulted for corporate heavies like Virgin, Toyota, McDonald's, and Coca-Cola.

Will some of these predictions fall flat? Undoubtedly. Will you get more lost using this map than the actual MTA subway map that inspired it? Most definitely. But find a line and you'll find some of this to be wonderfully prescient. The point for company execs is to remember to keep thinking beyond the next quarter. For still short-sighted visionaries, we recommend pre-ordering your own pair of augmented reality contact lenses. They should be available as early as 2025.

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