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Expect the Unexpected

Posted on February 11th, 2012 by Stephen Hardy | 2 Comments | Print | RSS

In a previous article I talked about some of the potential problems facing us as the human population continues to rise (Seven Billion and Counting).

To solve these problems we need to get creative, to think differently and we need to think long-term. And we also need a mindset where we see opportunities rather than obstacles.

In 1996 Edward Tenner wrote a landmark book “Why Things Bite Back” (1), about the unintended negative consequences of technological advances. There are many examples we could use for the sort of thing he was referring to. The widespread use of antibiotics led to the rise of resistant and more deadly bacterial strains. Computers were meant to make our lives easier, give us the paperless office and more leisure time. But instead the rate of deforestation increased, we worked longer hours, got RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) from lousy posture and became obese and non-communicative because we sat in front of the screen all day.

Unintended consequences don’t always have to be negative however. They can be just what we need to make us think differently.

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