Alright, here we are in the heat-drenched Scottsdale Plaza Resort for the 15th annual COFES. We were all woken this morning when the smoke alarms began squawking at 5am. A neighborhood transformer had blown up, cutting the power to the hotel, setting off the smoke detectors.
One of the co-founders of COFES, Brad Holtz, is amazed that his non-conference of a conference lasted 15 years. The idea began when he and Joel Orr and others noticed that most of the success of conferences occurred in the corridors, so they decided to create a conference that mostly occurs in corridors. As this morning's keynote speaker, Paul Saffo ("How to forecast in the face of uncertainty of forecasting") said, his opening talk the bookend who gets in the way of the conversations.
Here is what Mr Saffo told us: the future consists of a cone of uncertainty, that broadens as time progresses.
- identify your biases; if you don't, your biases will hit you back in the future
- identify driving forces, of which there are three -- constant (unnoticed until they change, like gravity), cyclical (are here today, but might not be there tomorrow, like sunspots), and novelties (entirely new, like iPad and HTML).
- look for cross-impacts among driving forces (like Web and the iPad)