One of the biggest challenges with facilitation is to build consensus about a future state. Therefore, in a light-hearted sense as we approach the holiday season, here are some bad predictions that likely garnered some respect along the way—albeit short-lived.
- “Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments.” Roman engineer Julius Sextus Frontinus, AD 10.
- “That’s an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?” President Rutherford B. Hayes to Alexander Graham Bell, 1876.
- “It doesn’t matter what he does, he will never amount to anything.” Albert Einstein’s teacher to his father, 1895.
- “I have anticipated [radio’s] complete disappearance — confident that the unfortunate people, who must now subdue themselves to ‘listening-in’ will soon find a better pastime for their leisure.” H.G. Wells, The Way the World is Going, 1925.
- “The problem with television is that the people must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn’t time for it.” The New York Times, after a prototype television was demonstrated at the 1939 World’s Fair.
- “It would appear we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements; they tend to sound pretty silly in five years.” Computer scientist John von Neumann, 1949.
- “Man will never reach the moon, regardless of all future scientific advances.” Radio pioneer Lee De Forest, 1957.
- “Despite the trend to compactness and lower costs, it is unlikely everyone will have his own computer any time soon.” Reporter Stanley Penn, The Wall Street Journal, 1966.
- “But what is [the microchip] good for?” Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968.
- “I predict the Internet…will go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.” Bob Metcalfe, InfoWorld, 1995
Origin of Bad Predictions
In conclusion, these were first compiled by Laura Lee and published in The Futurist, September-October 2000. Finally, for structured facilitation support, see your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST Professional Facilitative Leadership training session offered around the world (see http://www.mgrush.com/ for a current schedule).
Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.
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- Bad Predictions for Science and Technology (mgrush.com/blog)
- George Dyson’s history of the computer: Turing’s Cathedral (boingboing.net)
- Five Reasons to Hold a Facilitated Session (mgrush.com/blog)
- Turing’s Cathedral by George Dyson (guardian.co.uk)
- Quantum Theory: von Neumann vs. Dirac (plato.stanford.edu)
- 5 Traits That Set Great Leaders Apart From The Pack (Cornerstone University)