The predictability of disruption as an innovation accelerator is a central component of the Anticipatory Organization Model, focusing closely on how Anticipatory Organizations and individuals can look at disruption and see enormous opportunities.
The untimely situation we have been facing with COVID-19 is no exception. Not only has every industry been touched by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, every country has.
However, much like they do with digital disruption, Anticipatory Leaders have learned to turn different disruptions into opportunity, shaping a better future by way of realigning their focus. Instead of developing strategies to reinstate the pre-pandemic status quo, they are transforming their business models and cultures to dramatically improve upon what they have accomplished in the past and to become far more relevant in the future.
Anticipatory Leaders know the future is not just about impressive new technology; it’s about people and relationships. As a result, policy changes and culture adjustments take place to address systemic injustices and establish equal rights for all, professionally and personally.
These leaders also know that technology-driven Hard Trends have all dramatically accelerated during the global pandemic. A good example is videoconferencing and remote work. This trend has grown for decades, mostly in white-collar office jobs, but will expand to several other industries as well, as witnessed in telemedicine.
With telemedicine, you see a nurse or doctor via videoconferencing tools such as Zoom, which will now become commonplace, with an initial videoconference appointment first as a cost-effective alternative to determine if an in-person visit is necessary.
Now consider how schools went virtual in the wake of COVID-19. After a sudden crash course in videoconferencing, an integration of it in schools will be prevalent. For example, teachers could easily bring nationally recognized experts or teachers of the year into classrooms to share their expertise, and individualized instruction, tutoring and mentoring will benefit from videoconferencing as well.
Anticipatory Leaders see problems before they happen and work to solve them as local, state, national and international businesses reopen. From an economic standpoint, everyone must reopen soon, and with a lean margin of error.
Asking good questions will better allow the ability to pre-solve problems. For example, will you feel safe eating in a restaurant and shopping in a retail store? How about using public transportation or rideshare programs like Uber? Are you comfortable attending a live event? Will parents feel their kids are safe returning to school while they return to work?
Unfortunately, the virus that triggered this global pandemic has not gone away and, to date, has no cure. The economic tsunami from the shutdown has just begun and has not yet fully come into view. With seemingly boundless uncertainty, it has never been more important to become anticipatory by solving predictable problems today.
The most important problem to pre-solve is trust. With COVID-19 still prevalent as the world reopens, the level of community, customer and employee trust will determine the outcome of your success.
If you are opening a retail outlet, a restaurant, a gym or even your office, it is imperative to ask yourself: “What can I do to elevate trust so that people feel safe coming in?” Remember, the customer is in charge, so simply telling them everything is okay is not enough.
Once again, this is where Hard Trends in technology helps.
For example, placing customers in a holding room to hold a thermometer to their face is intrusive to many and may deter several customers. Instead, use another Anticipatory principle—the Skip It Principle.
You can skip the problem altogether by taking temperatures of everyone without them knowing by using small digital cameras that read temperatures, as casinos in Las Vegas are now doing through their surveillance systems. You can stop sick patrons before they enter your facility and simultaneously help slow the spread of COVID-19 by encouraging them to seek help.
Another use of the Skip It Principle to elevate trust would be to merely ask customers what would make them feel safe, though they will only tell you what they know is possible, as most do not realize what can be done with anticipation. Anticipatory Leaders know they must take an additional step beyond asking, as they are aware that there are many more options once they implement accelerated Hard Trends to elevate trust while reopening.
So look at customer requests as a list of ways you can elevate trust, and then look at the technology Hard Trends that are shaping the future for opportunities to take trust to the next level. Keep in mind, these Hard Trends have accelerated during the pandemic, so be sure to find ways to use them for the greater good of humanity as we navigate the post-pandemic world.
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker. He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, helping them to accelerate innovation and results by develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. His client list includes companies such as Microsoft, GE, American Express, Google, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Honda, and IBM. He is the author of seven books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Flash Foresight, and his latest book The Anticipatory Organization. He is a featured writer with millions of monthly readers on the topics of innovation, change and the future and has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Wired, CNBC, and Huffington Post to name a few. He has been the featured subject of several PBS television specials and has appeared on programs such as CNN, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, and is quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and Forbes. He has founded six businesses, four of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. In 1983 he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic change for decades to come. He also linked exponential computing advances to economic value creation. His specialties are technology-driven trends, strategic innovation, strategic advising and planning, business keynote presentations.