Friday, August 31, 2007

Paul Saffo - Mapping the Cone of Uncertainty

I started this week attending a small event at the Institute for the Future (IFTF) where Dr.Bob Johansen presented the themes from his just released book Get There Early(1)

And today John Maloney of Colabria emailed a post on Johansen's colleague Paul Saffo's HBR article(2) which provides this map of The Cone of Uncertainty that the FTF folks use to provide foresight and gain insight as the basis for their strategy consulting practice. Here's Paul's map:
Reading Bob Johansen's book and seeing Paul's map led me to thinking about the 3rd element of the IFTF mantra of Foresight-Insight-Action, and about the significant role innovators and venture investors play in Crossing the Chasm from early adoption of innovations to the promised land of mainstream markets.( The Action step)

So I mashed up the Chasm map by Geoff Moore's Chasm Group (below)

with the Cone of Uncertainty by shifting the Chasm on the Time baseline to start where the Cone begins to open up and where the process of early adoption shifts gears and launches itself across the chasm.

Shifting the Chasm further to the right or widening the chasm as the timeline progresses signals danger for the innovator trying to move his concept from idea to mass market adoption. Many innovations fail to cross the chasm - and thus bring the certainty of failure to the forecaster's cone of uncertainty. Forecasting the adoption of innovations depends significantly on what happens as the innovator and venture investors try to bring innovative products across the chasm from early adoption to mainstream markets. The Action Step!

(1) Get There Early: Sensing the Future to Co

(2) Six Rules for Effective Forecasting.

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