Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lisa Seacat DeLuca: Inventing the Future

Every kid knows it: inventors are cool. It’s one of the things we want to be when we grow up, right up there with firefighter, ballerina or astronaut. But as we get older, we realize the improbability of having “Inventor” on our business card.

Thankfully, Lisa Seacat DeLuca never gave up on that dream. In her TED@IBM talk, “An Inventor’s Vision of the Future,” she told us about her first invention, a full-length umbrella she not only designed but prototyped with a plate and shower curtain when she was just seven years old.

When she created that umbrella, she was identifying and addressing a current need. Another role for an inventor is to gaze into their crystal ball and anticipate future needs. A third is to use that same crystal ball to look not at needs, but at possibilities. Do we need our toilet paper to reorder itself when the roll is running low? Do we need a hanger that glows red when you haven’t worn the shirt in six months, with a suggestion that you donate it?

No and no, and those particular inventions might not even be your cup of tea, yet still they are cool, and more to the point, you can imagine what else the technologies behind them might make possible. “The speed of invention in the future,” said DeLuca, “will be as fast as we can dream up ideas.”

DeLuca reminded us that as great as these inventions might prove to be, they won’t fundamentally change who we are as human beings. With all of our faults, some might consider that a bad thing. DeLuca, I believe, sees this as a positive, and I agree. After all, one of the greatest parts of our humanity is creativity, the very thing that allows us to reimagine our world and all it could become.

from Social Business Insights Blog


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