The disruptive forces shaping the world, and how we should respond.
Speaking at the London School of Economics in 2015, Bill Gates was asked to predict what the 2020s would be like. His reply was simple: “There will be more change in the next 15 years than there has been in the last 50 years.”
The key reason for this is that we have spent the first 20 years of this century creating the building blocks of change, but it is only now that we are really able to put these blocks together and effect systemic change in the world. Almost every industry is on the cusp of truly groundbreaking and revolutionary change, with experts predicting multiple breakthroughs in nearly every field of human endeavour. The 2020s is going to be a decade of tremendous disruption, deep structural change and unprecedented opportunity.
Tomorrow’s World Today is our most requested presentation, and forms the basis of our most impactful workshop with clients. The session has three key outcomes:
- To identify the external forces and megatrends that will impact your business in the next 5-10 years;
- To understand how these forces along with shifts in your marketplace, your competitive landscape and society as a whole, will impact your business model itself, and
- To discover our ‘future-focused toolkit’ of skills and habits that your leaders and teams need to adapt themselves to this time of constant change.
External Forces and Megatrends:
It was Ricardo Semler, the maverick Brazilian industrialist, who said, “Every company should pay someone to look out the window.” We believe, in fact, that everyone in your business should be aware of the big external forces coming your way, and should be looking at both the threats and opportunities that these will bring.
In this section of the presentation or workshop, we will select from our research library the most important trends that we believe your industry and company should be aware of and will show you their implications. We will work with your team before the session to ensure we select the most appropriate examples so that the message of just how much the 2020s is going to change really impacts your team’s thinking.
We don’t look only at technology, but also highlight demographic changes, institutional and regulatory changes, economic and political issues, global forces, and even sometimes get to talk about what life on Mars might be like. This session is not about flights of fancy, though, nor is it about science fiction-like predictions of the future – it is very much rooted in research into the next 5 to 10 years, and showing you and your team what the world will be like.
Some of our favourite external forces, mega trends and innovations to talk about include: the 100-year life (what happens as life expectancy continues to soar upwards), clean and cheap energy (we see this as a game-changer, as energy production, distribution and storage changes almost entirely by 2030), graphene, blockchain, 3d printing, artificial intelligence (which we suggest in the 2020s will be less AI and more IA: intelligent assistance), virtual and augmented reality, the on-demand workforce and shifts in the global political system.
Business Model Disruptors and Enablers:
We believe that real innovation in the 2020s will not merely be new products, services or channels to market, but rather your ability to adapt your business model itself. Having identified the external forces that will shape your industry, we then turn our attention to internal disruptors that could – and should – shape your business model into the future.
This session is also customised based on our understanding of your industry, and will give you an opportunity to investigate the impact of issues such as: data as an asset, data analytics, computing power in the hands of front line staff, the connected economy, building platforms rather than businesses (Amazon and Alibaba are key examples of this), openness and transparency, personalisation, gamification and social proof (not social media, but rather the shifting ways in which people make decisions these days).
The goal of this part of the presentation or workshop is to open your team’s eyes to both potential threats to your business model from innovative competitors, as well as to identify opportunities to extend and expand your business.
The final section of this presentation or workshop turns attention to your people. Mark Mullen, CEO of Atom, said, “The future is uncertain. It is more important that you engineer agility and flexibility into your business than it is for you to know the future.” We, therefore, need to assist your team to discover the key attitudes, skills and habits that will enable your organisation to not merely identify what the future will be like, but also be ready to take advantage of it as it comes.
The ’toolkit’ is a set of actions your people can take on a daily basis that will slowly, but surely, shift your organisation towards the future, and embed adaptability and innovation into your very DNA.
The tools we highlight include: switching on your radar (becoming better at identifying the external trends and business model disruptors, and enabling your team to do the same), being curious and asking better questions (we would much rather work for bosses who have questions that are difficult to answer, rather than those that have answers that are difficult to question – this requires a shift in what we think leadership is), building a culture of experimentation (this is one of the most important aspects of an agile organisation, and we unpack a model of experimentation, quick learning and adaptability), removing organisational constraints, embracing different opinions, and unlearning (we are very good at learning, and at adding to our systems, but need to get better at removing things and unlearning beliefs, habits and unhelpful systems). The focus of this final section is on being exceptionally practical and ensuring people are both equipped and inspired to make changes to their own approach and that of their teams as well. We want them to be competent and confident in their approach to the future.
The entire workshop is interactive, and our approach is to ensure your whole team is aligned with the emerging picture of the future and your response to it. We use lots of relevant examples and case studies, and lace the session with multimedia and a gently rebuking humour that makes it engaging and fun as well.