One of TomorrowToday’s long-term clients is Africa’s largest banking group, Standard Bank which incorporates their insurance arm, Liberty. We have done strategy work, presentations, training and consulting with them over many years. I saw this past week that we had been quoted in their internal magazine, and I thought you’d enjoy the piece – it’s well written, simple, but important in its implications. (Read the original here).

Then and now

The world in which we live now is vastly different to the place and space of the last 30-50 years. Let’s take a look at two lifestyle scenarios, then and now…


Ann Smithson is born into a South African middle-class home in the late 1950s. It is post-World War 2 and there is a sense of positive growth in the country. Life is simple and Ann’s worldview is a tapestry of her experiences close to home – there are no televisions, computers or cell phones to influence her world.

At 18 she goes to teachers training college and, soon after graduating, marries Colin. With their combined salaries they rent an apartment and buy a car. She joins the pension fund and takes out an endowment policy that will pay out when she turns 45. Maybe she could then go on her first overseas trip?

Her children, Sam and Jane, are born two years apart. Television is now a part of life. The children, now teenagers, want to join friends on Friday evenings at the nearby mall. Ann and Colin stay close at hand – no cellphones are around yet.

Though life is busy, and Colin is under increasing work pressure, they now own their first home. When the children headed for university, they stay on in that home, though for independence, each has a cellphone and a car. After their studies the children take a working-holiday gap year. Afterwards Sam stays in London, and Jane decides to continue her studies, so comes back to the family home.

Ann and Colin have both been with the same employer their entire working life. They long for a time when the money they earn can start to build up capital to fulfill their retirement dreams. Life has been secure and the next 10 years will complete a journey of work and parenting…


Jane and Sam celebrate their 28th and 30th birthday. Jane is still at home, has two qualifications and has worked in three work environments. She is keen to marry her long-term boyfriend. Sam is ready to return after five years in London. He brings his Polish girlfriend and enough money for a deposit on his first home.

The Internet has changed the world of work and Sam is able to work from home – his parents ask him when he plans to get a “proper job”. His girlfriend works as a waitress and as a virtual assistant for clients in South Africa and Europe. Their combined income allows them a lifestyle of eating out, trips away and two cars.

The Internet allows them to work at any time and with clients anywhere on the planet. This requires discipline and a responsibility of taking ownership of their long-term investments. They have no secure pension fund and take out income protection policies to insure against a situation that may prevent them from being able to work. They also understand with the changes in medical technology they could both live to almost 100 and will need to build enough income and assets to sustain their life. Work is also about adding new skills to existing ones.

Jane and her husband both work in the banking industry. Her company offers a six-month maternity break followed by a flexible work package. They have bought a home in a lifestyle estate and enjoy spending time with the children who are cellphone-savvy from young.

There is a sense the world is speeding up. Technology is driving change at a relentless pace. They hope to equip their children with skills that will allow them to work in a future that has not yet been designed. They ensure they have enough life income protection for their children’s future, as they all navigate previously undiscovered routes.


Ann and Colin are now enjoying life without children at home. They have just attended a “retirement transition” workshop where they hear that, with life expectancy now much longer than before, their current savings and pension plan may not be enough. Travel plans involve possibly teaching English in an Asian country to earn money. They also need to look at their current investments and make allowances for planning and securing this future for themselves.

Are you ready?

When the history of our time is written, it is likely that what historians will regard as the most important event is not technology, but rather an unprecedented change in the human condition. This is because, according to writer and management consultant, Peter Drucker, for the first time ever a substantial number of people have choices.
“For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it…Throughout history, practically nobody had choices… Now suddenly a large number of people have choices. What is more, they will have more than one career, because the working life span of people is now close to 60 years – three times what it was in 1900”.

We all sell the same products at about the same price to the same customers, using the same marketing channels. We even swap staff every now and then. In the future it will not matter what you sell, but rather who you are. – Trend strategist, Dr Graeme Codrington

Prepare your children for the new world

Read Parenting the Wired Generation (Penguin) by Nikki Bush and Graeme Codrington to understand this new world and how to prepare your children for the skills they will need.

The corporation will not survive the next 25 years

“The corporation as we know it, which is now 120 years old, is not likely to survive the next 25 years. Legally and financially, yes, but not structurally and economically.” – Management consultant, Peter Drucker

Did you know?

“The sun is setting on the Information Society – even before we have fully adjusted to its demands as individuals and as companies. We have lived as hunters and farmers, we have worked in factories and now we live in an information-based society whose icon is the computer. We stand facing the fifth kind of society: the Dream Society….

It is emerging this very instant- the shape of the future is visible today…. Future products will have to appeal to our hearts, not to our heads. Now is the time to add emotional value to products and services.” The Dream Society by Rolf Jensen (McGraw-Hill).

11 October 2010

Source: Liberty Consumer Pages

TomorrowToday Global