To be the disruptor or the disrupted. You have a choice. This perspective on future trends might help.
I am a huge fan of Daniel Burrus. The author of “Flash Foresight“. He brings a lot of sense to trends and perspectives on the future. Particularly the distinction between hard trends (inevitable) and soft trends (maybe). Demographics is a hard trend for example. Which suggest that the grey economy, health care and robotics are part of that hard trend. Technology is a hard trend too. Moore’s law is inevitable. Climate change is a hard trend. Government regulations are hard trends.
Disruptor or the disrupted
You have a choice. You be the disruptor or the disrupted. If it can be done, it will be done, and if you don’t do it, someone else will.
You need to become what Burrus called an anticipatory organisation. Using predictable hard trends to anticipate disruptions, problems, and industry-shifting opportunities before they occur, allowing them to turn disruption and change into opportunities and advantage.
You need to throw out the handbook. Companies that disrupt an industry don’t rely on traditional strategies and competencies that other organisations use every day. No benchmarking. No looking in the rearview mirror. Go beyond competition. Go blue oceans.
Big bang disruption
This could have been from “digital disruption”; newcomers can incorporate online for a few hundred dollars, raise money from crowdsourcing sites such as Kickstarter, hire programmers from Upwork, rent computer-processing power from Amazon, find manufacturers on Alibaba, arrange payments via Square, and immediately set about conquering the world. Big bang disruption.
Trends are predictable
Predictability exists, yet we continuously rely on the fact it does not. There are some 500 known cycles including business, climate, biological, and sales that repeat with utter reliability. Hard trends or future facts. You need to start with mapping those out. For example:
Hard: Mobile apps, wearables, AI, sensors, computing power, bandwidth, digital storage, mobility, intelligence, networking, interactivity, globalisation, convergence, dematerialisation. Very similar to the 6DS of Peter Diamandis in “Bold”
Soft: Tesla, Bitcoin, EU, family structures, immortality, sales.
- If tools were 100 times as powerful and less expensive, what could you do that you cannot do now?
- If your Internet connection was 100 times as fast as it is now, what type of high-value services could you provide that would be impossible today
- Ask yourself if you’re thinking big enough. Is there a way you can take something to a much higher level at a faster pace?
Time travel audit
Perform a time travel audit. Where in time do you and your colleagues, customers and your organisation live? It will help with your storytelling. You need to relate to others at their point it time.
Old and new
Think Both/And—Not Either/Or. The key to success is to understand that it’s the integration of the old with the new that creates higher value than either would have on their own. From now on, when a new technology comes out, instead of assuming a choice between old or new, consider instead how you can integrate the old with the new to create higher value than either would have on their own.
- Try bypassing what you may believe is your biggest problem or obstacle and identifying what, in fact, is the real problem.
- Breaking down your business model in the smaller parts and look for alternatives (climate, technology, future).
- Conduct a pre-mortem.
Determine your own future
You need to develop your own future view. That will determine the future you. Always scan for trends that will disrupt both themselves and, in many cases, an entire industry, allowing you not only to proactively become the disruptor but also taking positive action in advance before an outside disruption occurs.