Black Swan Innovation

Phil McKinney
5 min readAug 30, 2022

No one can predict the future, but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for it.

We’ll explore the concept of black swan innovation and discuss how leaders can respond to these events when they occur. We will also look at some examples of black swan innovations that have profoundly impacted society. Leaders can minimize the negative consequences of these unpredictable occurrences by understanding what a black swan event is and how to prepare for it.

What is a Black Swan Innovation?

A Black Swan innovation is an unpredictable event or occurrence that changes the course of an industry or business. It is something that no one could have ever predicted and can completely overturn the status quo.

The term “black swan” comes from the idea that black swans are events or occurrences that are so rare that they are almost impossible to predict. The black swan was given its name because all other swans were white before being discovered in Australia. Consequently, the bird was thought of as an impossibility.

The Black Swan

Nassim Taleb popularized the term in his book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. In his book, Nassim discusses the idea of black swan events and how they can majorly impact businesses and industries. He argues we should not focus on predicting these events but be prepared for them when they occur.

Taleb believes we should not prioritize past data when making predictions, as this data may not indicate future outcomes. Instead, it is crucial to focus on the present and future rather than the past.

Hindsight Risk

Hindsight claims of having seen a black swan can be misleading because they can lead to inaccurate assessments of the probability of an event. For example, if someone says they saw a black swan before it happened, it could give a false impression that the event was more likely than it was. The event could lead to people making decisions based on…

Phil McKinney

// Author of Beyond The Obvious // Host of Killer Innovations podcast // Pres & CEO of CableLabs // Retired HP CTO // All opinions are mine //