We are taking a break from our regular weekly format of looking at “news bulletins from the future” and learning to “think like a futurist” (we will be back with Season 4 in September).
Here is part 1 of a three-week mini-series sharing the work our team is doing on uncovering the most significant opportunities we are facing right now if we are prepared to deal with deep, structural change.
The late, great Ayrton Senna was a Formula 1 driver, world champion, and he was known for being able to handle the wet weather masterfully. In fact, probably never a driver better than him in the whole history of the sport. One of his famous quotations is, “You can’t overtake too many people when it’s sunny, but you can move up from 15th place to winning the race during the rain if you know how to deal with a storm”.
My name is Graeme Codrington, this is Throw Forward Thursday. We’re taking a little break between Season 3 and Season 4, and what we normally do, which is jumping into the future and looking at some of the trends and forces that will shape the world. We’re going to talk about what to do during a perfect storm.
That’s where we find ourselves at the moment. A lot of the work that our team at Tomorrow Today does is to help companies to think about the future. We call ourselves futurists. We don’t have crystal balls. Unfortunately, I wish that we did to be able to look into the future and predict what was happening. Nobody can do that. But what we can do is identify the deep, disruptive forces that are changing the systems, changing the rules for success and failure.
And one of the things you can do as a futurist is to look for the so-called black swans, to look for those big, disruptive forces that are somewhere on the horizon and are coming our way and are going to change everything. But we believe that actually right now it’s more important to recognise, if we’re not mixing our metaphors too much, to recognise the elephants that are already in the room. We believe that there are seven great gray elephants just sitting here.
These are massive disruptive forces that have the potential to completely change the way that the world works to shift the rules for success and failure in every sector of society, in your industry, in your business, and in the work that you do. And we believe that these are, at the moment, at least, quite overlooked. It’s not that you haven’t heard of them. It’s not that you don’t know what they are. But we don’t work with too many clients who are taking these forces very, very seriously. Yes, we might be talking about them. Yes, they might be on the periphery of our news gathering. They might even be something that we are very familiar with, but we haven’t thought them through to understand how they are going to change the rules for success and failure in our industry.
And by that, I mean we haven’t seen how they’re going to shift the business models that are going to be successful in our industry, we haven’t seen how they might change our markets, who our customers and clients are, what they’re asking for, and how much they’re prepared to pay. We haven’t seen how they might be shifting who we can employ, who would like to work for us, what skills do they have, where do they live, how much do they expect us to pay them, and so on. That’s what we mean by the rules for success and failure.
Where our clients have been looking at these, they might have been looking just at the threats, at the things that could go wrong. But what I want to do is to show you that there’s a different mindset. If we see these great gray elephants, we make sure that they don’t trample us, apologies if I’m pushing my metaphor too far, but we can have a look for the opportunities that these significant shifts bring.
Every change in the rules will produce losers and winners. The winners are those who not just mitigate against the threat but also grasp the opportunity. So, what are these seven great, grey elephants you might ask? Well, we’ve put together a nice little animated graphic, and over the next two weeks in the ThrowForward Thursday studio, I will jump into the seven. We’ll do three of them next week, four of them the week after, and talk about this opportunity mindset that we need to take.
Join me next week as we jump not into the far distant future, but just into the world of literally tomorrow and see what’s going to happen. I’ll see you next week.
At TomorrowToday Global, we help clients around the world analyse major global trends, developing strategies and frameworks to help businesses anticipate and adapt to market disruption in an ever-changing world.
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Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change. Chat to us about booking Graeme to help you Re-Imagine and upgrade your thinking to identify the emerging opportunities in your industry.
For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.