Convergence and transformation

Therefore, anticipating trends, generating innovation, or leading transformations became indicators of success in organizations. Lectures, articles, studies, and events celebrate this “futurophilia” as a fundamental and desirable behavior for those who want to thrive in the 21st century. Looking ahead to the horizon, they seek to predict, before their competitors, when the new big wave will emerge and where it will break. They're looking in the wrong direction.

The future is not an abstraction to be imagined by privileged minds. We are unable to see the big wave on the horizon because it's not there. It's here now. It is more difficult to perceive the transformation when it is taking place and the observers are also its protagonists. As paradoxical as it sounds, to see the future, we need to look to the past. The changes we experienced today are just updated versions of what happened in past decades. Historically, we made qualitative leaps thanks to the evolution of things that already exist. There is no spontaneous generation of innovation: it is a consequence much more of transformations than of inventions.

The future is nothing more than the reinvention of the past.

Do Mainframe Computing From the 1960s to the Personal Computing In the 1980s what changed, basically, was the cost of the components. The next wave, of Web computing In the 2000s, the modem appeared, which, roughly speaking, is nothing more than a telephone that connects computers. The same is true for evolution to Mobile Computing from the decade of 2010, which was an adaptation of computers to the format of telephones. In other words, what we often call a revolution are actually evolutions and adaptations of concepts and ideas that were already circulating among us a long time ago. To understand what lies ahead, we need to know the past and, above all, pay attention to the present.

So, what we're going to call new in a few years' time is already happening. And, once again, thanks to the same preconditions that fostered previous transformations: knowledge, tools, and collaboration. This tripod has supported all the so-called industrial revolutions so far, from steam engines to artificial intelligence, through automation and robotics. If we have Industry 4.0 today, it was because we went through 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0, always evolving and transforming to finally be able to say that we innovated.

At this rate, today we arrived at what has been conventionally called”Smart Era”, or intelligent era in free translation. We have smartphones, Smart TVs, Smart watches, Smart cars... All of them are evolutions of their, let's say, non-intelligent versions. What defines the current moment is the search for convergence between the physical and digital worlds. We are adding connection where there was isolation. Our refrigerators are now connected to the internet and will soon be filling up on their own. Our cars don't need drivers and our watches tell us not only the time, but they also tell us that we may get sick soon and we must control our diet.

Concepts such as IoT (Internet of Things, or Internet of Things), Big Data, wearables, cloud computing and 3D printing are part of the present created based on the premises of the past. Knowledge, tools, and collaboration continue to be the engines of development. The movement Maker, which brings together supporters from all over the world, is perhaps the most eloquent example of this logic. They are thousands of people generating and absorbing knowledge, sharing tools that are increasingly cheap and accessible, and collaborating with each other to find solutions that connect the virtual and physical worlds.

All this to improve our relationship with the planet, with other human beings and, why not, with the machines themselves. Is there anything more traditional and ancient than man's quest for well-being? Our fundamental desires remain virtually unchanged after centuries of history. The tools may have evolved, but the path of innovation remains the same. The good news is that the revolution is already happening. The great thing is that it is available to more and more people.

Nagib Nassif Filho
CEO, Founder