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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.

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Get Out of the Box

  • “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).

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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.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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