It’s one of life’s universal lessons: Look both ways before crossing the street. Parents have been impressing its importance on every generation since Henry Ford tinkered with the internal combustion engine. However, many of us forgot that good advice, or assumed it didn’t apply, when crossing from one decade of business into the next.
From the 1970s into the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, the prevailing assumption was that the future would be relatively similar to the past, and that major changes only took place over long stretches of time, which provided plenty of leeway to adjust.
We stepped off the curb, looking straight ahead—and wham! Individuals and organizations were blindsided by massive changes. It happened to big companies like IBM, Motorola, Research In Motion, Sears and countless others.
Based on these and other painful experiences, the prevailing assumption was dramatically adjusted: Change is speeding up—get used to it. But then with each passing decade, crossing the street of change became an exercise in advanced risk analysis. Dodging oncoming traffic was the name of the game.
Spotting technology-driven change provides only part of the solution, however. Literally thousands of important high-tech breakthroughs are zooming at us from left and right. Not only do we need to carefully look both ways, it is essential to actually see and understand the ramifications of what’s coming.
Hopping out of the way in a panic or jumping onboard the next new thing isn’t the answer; nor is taking a wait-and-see attitude. By reinventing how welookat technology-driven change, it is possible to reinvent the way we think about change. Once that happens, the reinvention of how we actin response to change takes place.
These distinct steps are the key to both finding and profiting from the many new opportunities that are headed our way.
Look at the Hard Trends that willhappen and the game-changing opportunities they represent. Look at the Soft Trends that might happen and the opportunities to influence them.
Think about your list of opportunities and refine them into a few Must-Do actions.
Pick at least one opportunity and act on it now, because if you don’t do it, someone else will!
Today, agility—reacting quickly after a problem occurs or after a disruption disrupts, is not good enough. It’s time to learn how to become Anticipatory, using Hard Trends to anticipate disruptions beforethey happen, turning disruption and change into a choice.
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.