Sunday, May 14, 2006

Notes from Ideation International: Directed Evolution

Recently I met with leaders from Ideation International, who have created a set of tools for managing the future. The short-term future can be managed with Inventive Problem Solving and the medium term with Anticipatory Failure Determination.

The real power in the Ideation International tool box is Directed Evolution™, which allows a user to analyze "future generations of a system and control system evolution."
Directed Evolution™ provides a means not only to predict but to direct future technological achievements in a given time frame with a specified level of support. Most of the innovations that will appear over the next 20 years will be based upon scientific and technological knowledge existing now. The difficulty lies in identifying what knowledge is of real significance. With hindsight, what seems obscure today will be remarkably clear tomorrow. The role of Directed Evolution™ is to evaluate today's knowledge systematically, thereby identifying what is achievable and, more particularly, how one technological advance, perhaps in conjunction with another, could fulfill a human need.
We've all probably heard futurists who make predictions about the future. I heard a particularly powerful presentation recently by Ray Kurzweil at Venture 06. While the predictions of futurists like Ray are impressive, how these predictions are made is esoteric and how to apply them to my specific situation is problematic.

Ideation International puts on a users desktop the power to anticipate, and ultimately control, the future in situations relevant to the user. This is incredible.

The Ideation International process for managing the future is based on TRIZ, an acronym for the Russian words for "Theory of the Solution of Inventive Problems." Do you have experience with TRIZ or Ideation International?

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