Trying to predict the future has made many great men look foolish. Take Thomas J. Watson, IBM’s president in 1940, who famously stated that the world only needed five computers. And as late as 1977 his colleague Ken Olson, the president and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, was convinced that “there is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” We have seen the best and brightest era. Among them Albert Einstein who in 1932 thought that the atom could never be shattered - 13 years before the first nuclear bomb went down on Hiroshima. Actually, we don’t have to go back that far to find some pretty amazing errors of judgment. If Martin Winterkorn, the CEO of Volkswagen in 2010, had listened to a then fairly unknown Elon Musk, VW just might have turned into what Tesla is today. At the time, Musk had converted a Golf into an electric car, showing Winterkorn the possibilities and trying to convince him of a partnership.
Of course it is easy to look back on these failed predictions and poke fun at them. What seems so clear today, was at best a possibility then. The core for such misjudgments usually lies in the following: a lack of imagination, underestimation of technological possibilities, lack of entrepreneurial mindset - or a combination of all three.
How then, can we improve our capabilities to, if not predict, anticipate developments and prepare for the future? Peter Drucker, the Austrian-American economist put it this way: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Creating the future means that you question the status quo, let your curiosity guide you and, in the process, invent something altogether new. More than anything, you need an open mind that allows you to imagine new possibilities, you need to be interested in improving what others have started, and - in the age of digitization - you need to understand the role of technology in leaping forward.
At Tomorrow’s Education, we asked ourselves: How can we support changemakers who want to shape the future? With the Professional Master Program in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Technology (SET) we have come up with a unique program that provides the skills and tools to prepare yourself for what’s ahead. Here is why we focus on SET and why the combination of all three is crucial:
Sustainability: We know that our future depends on the way we treat our environment, protect our resources and find new ways to fulfill the needs of a growing world population. This task requires the most promising minds. Our program helps you to understand environmental needs and sharpens your skills to develop solutions for them. We show you that there is an alternative to the inefficient ways we do things today.
Entrepreneurship: You might want to start your own business - or not. Whatever you do, you will most often operate with incomplete information at hand, you will frequently be confronted with new challenges, and you will constantly have to adapt - just like an entrepreneur. We believe that thinking like an entrepreneur will fundamentally help you reach your goals. If you engage an entrepreneurial mindset - such as staying committed to a task, pivoting when necessary and seeing opportunities where others see problems - you will increase your chances of success, in business and in life.
Technology: We believe that you need to have a good grip on current technological developments to understand what is in peto further down the road. The digital economy and global connectivity have impacted the way we do business and live our lives. But we are only at the beginning of this evolution. AI and blockchain technology are just around the corner. And their impact will be massive.
Sure, we might never be able to fully predict what the future has in store for us. But we can do our best to be ready for it!