Forecasting The Shift Age: A Look Back (Part 2 of 3)

Entering the Shift Age

This is my second of three columns covering a look back at the forecasts I made about things that might happen through the end of 2013. As I wrote in the first column, this is not an exercise in self-congratulation, but rather an opportunity to look back on forecast accuracy and analyze why or why not trends developed, things happened and what that might suggest going forward. Almost all of my forecasts about specifics are on the forecast page of my web site.

Forecast #10 (September 2008): Complete genetic mapping for individuals will be available at a cost of $1000-1500 by late 2013

This forecast is not accurate, due to the use of the word “complete.” Significant genetic mapping is now available, but complete genetic maps that are totally accurate for each individual are not fully available. This should be true by 2015.

Forecast #11 (December 2008): There will most likely be deflation in the U.S. for the next 6-12 months

This proved to be accurate. At the time, this was not a widely held view; there really hasn’t been deflation in the U.S. for most of my lifetime. The difference I saw was that the global recession would lower energy costs, buying power would contract and a “thrift is the new cool” mindset would greatly lower consumer purchases.

Forecast #12 (January 2009): Unemployment in the U.S. will top out at 9-11 percent in the second half of 2009

This was an accurate forecast. At the time, the Fed and the Obama administration was estimating 8 percent. My thinking was that the downturn would be worse than expected, which would accelerate the evisceration of the concept of “jobs” as society moved toward independent contractors. This came at a time when I was making economic forecasts, as that was the overriding issue in the minds of CEOs.

Forecast #13 (March 2009): 2012 could well be one of the most disruptive years in the US and in Europe in decades

This was not specifically accurate – disruption was spread out pretty evenly 2010-2012. 2012 was not the singularly disruptive year I had expected it to be. The Euro zone was in collapse from 2010-2012, Arab Spring was 2011 and the presidential election was not the confrontation about big ideas I had thought it would be.

Forecast #14 (August 2009): There will be 6 billion global cell phone users sometime in 2013

This is technically accurate: there were 6 billion cell phone users in 2013, but that number was actually reached in 2012. The growth curve will slow now that the 85 percent market penetration level has been reached.

Forecast #15 (October 2009): The cable television subscription business will decline by 10 percent in terms of numbers of subscribers between 2009 and 2013

This forecast missed its mark – the number was closer to 7-8 percent, as based upon various sources. Close. One of the reasons is that the cable companies began to successfully create new models for the explosive growth in tablets in 2013, slowing the “cutting of the cord.”

Forecast #16 (November 2009): Streaming video programs will be a disruptive force to the television “business” by 2014

Totally correct! Think Netflix with “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” A new phrase (“binge viewing”) came into being as consumers watched entire seasons of shows over a weekend. This was the nail in the coffin of the “appointment viewing” network model established in the 20th century. Everything is on demand, all the time.

Forecast #17 (January 2010): There will be no significant inflation outside food and energy – in the U.S. in 2010

Accurate. The Great Recession took care of inflation.

(This column was first published in the Shift Age Newsletter #27.)

Author:

David Houle

Called "America's Leading Futurist" David has authored four books,  including the Amazon #1 best seller "Entering the Shift Age".  He has delivered 500+ speeches  on all six continents and twelve countries and regularly leads corporate retreats about envisioning the future.  His web sites are www.davidhoule.comwww.evolutionshift.com and www.futurewow.com.  His email is david@davidhoule.com