As I write this blog post I am sitting in a Costa Coffee shop on Abu Dhabi surrounded by cigarette smokers. I ask one of them what they think about the fact that Abu Dhabi will also eventually ban smoking in public places. “That can never happen, people love smoking too much” he says.
A decade ago I was based in Dublin, Ireland and had an apartment in Temple bar, a district full of pubs in the center of Dublin. At that stage the Irish government was thinking about introducing a smoking ban in public places such as bars. People thought it could never happen – the Irish love smoking too much. Go to Dublin now and all the bars are smoke free. It happened.
It has also happened in London, New York, Paris etc…
The smoking ban started in California. Then spread to the world. If you have been following world trends than you can predict that it will also happen in Abu Dhabi in the future. It has already happened down the road in Dubai.
The Spread of Innovation
Electricity, telephone, television, flying, mobile phones. All these innovations started in one part of the world and spread to a different part at a different speed. If you want to travel back in time go to some tribe in the middle of the Amazon jungle where they don’t have electricity or *shock, horror* the internet.
In Abu Dhabi travel agents are still abundant and they will book your flights for you. In the US the travel agents are going out as people are buying their own tickets online. The internet will also impact this part of the world – but it just hasn’t happened yet.
Learning from the Future
If we know that a lot of innovations start in America and then spread to the world what can we learn? Obesity is a – pardon the pun – huge problem in the US. A large part of that is marketing. Marketing makes us feel like we need to drink a bigger Coca-Cola and have a Big Mac even when we are not hungry.
Travel to Fiji and you see people playing sports and men with six-packs. They want the “future” to come – but in many ways perhaps the future for America should be Fiji – a place with healthier food and not too many options for a double whopper with cheese and extra mayo.
The ROI for Time travel for Entrepreneurs & Policy Makers
Entrepreneurs benefit from traveling through time. They see that the world moves at different pace and if they help speed up the pace, they can benefit not only society but themselves.
Government policy makers can also benefit. For instance, if the world knows that along with capitalism comes marketing comes junk food – maybe they can put policies in place that will help their citizens cope with the invasion of KFC, McDonalds and Burger King. Or if they know that people in different parts of the world can live without smoking in public places, than they can also implement these policies.
Think about the traveling you have done – what can you see that is going to eventually come to your city and how can you be a part of that change?