This isn’t just the start of a new year; this is the beginning of a new decade. With that, amazing new opportunities will present themselves for you and your organization.
There are many certainties we already know in this new decade. For example, 2020 is an election year in the U.S., so most companies will “wait and see” in terms of innovation due to the political uncertainties that come along with an election.
This strategy of playing it safe couldn’t be any more wrong; you should not “wait and see” what 2020 has to offer because technology-driven exponential change and digital disruption will not stop! Instead, take advantage of others’ “wait and see” strategy by identifying the indisputable Hard Trends that will occur regardless of the election outcome and anticipate whatever change is headed your way to transform it into great opportunity.
Digital disruption will increase at an exponential rate, and Anticipatory Leaders know that this is a Hard Trend, or future certainty. Additionally, they know that contextually aware devices built around the Internet of Everything (IoE) will continue to grow as well. This is why these anticipatory individuals do not “wait and see” for election results; they know disruptions have no political agenda and care not for the election results.
The first way to better become a positive disruptor is to go opposite. When everyone goes one way, Anticipatory Leaders go the other and take the road less traveled.
In the case of the election, after everyone first goes the way of “waiting and seeing,” they will need to react quickly after the results. That is far more uncertain in the long run, especially when we have future certainties in our hands.
Anticipatory Leaders know that this year is much easier to grab competitive advantage while most are waiting until November to react, so they go opposite and, more importantly, double down on redefining and reinventing their products, services, and customer experiences before someone else does.
Another big reason so many organizations and individuals alike “wait and see” is due to lack of focus. I’m sure you can attest to the fact that we all get bombarded with distracting political TV ads throughout the year. These ads leave us divided and ultimately distracted from our strategic focus, in turn hurting our ability to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and allies.
I challenge you and your organization to disallow yourself from getting sucked into political attack ads emotionally if you wish to reap the rewards of taking positive action in this 2020 election year. In addition, do not just increase your focus, but increase your focus on being positive disruptors by improving something that needs improvement. Oftentimes during an election year, everyone is divided more than usual, so positive disruption can reunite many and help humankind move forward.
Another crucial concept for those “waiting and seeing” during an election year to consider the cost of the “no.” Saying “no” to the time and money needed for innovations has always been easier than saying “yes” because in the past, it cost nothing to turn good ideas down or to say “no” to expensive innovation.
Saying “yes” to innovation does take time and money. An employee at a manufacturing firm with an idea of how to implement augmented reality on the manufacturing floor will cost something to develop and implement, whereas saying “no” to it will quickly eliminate all costs and time spent.
A positive disruptor who says “yes” to a game-changing innovation that is based on a Hard Trend they know will happen anyway, regardless of who does it, will drive low-risk innovation and win. The important question to ask yourself and your organization is this: What’s the cost of waiting this year or saying “no” when you know that positive disruptors are saying “yes?”
A new decade is quite uncertain in many ways; however, strategy based on certainty has low risk and high reward, so start by identifying Hard Trends and certainties you do know will happen. Trends by themselves do not have power until you attach them to an opportunity, so pay attention to those Hard Trends and related opportunities in order to see disruption before you get disrupted, and use those opportunities to become a positive disruptor.
Most importantly, and unique to this year, do not “wait and see!” Go opposite, keep focused on creating positive disruptions, and understand the cost of saying “no.” If you continue to innovate and disrupt, you will utilize this transformative new year in a profound way and likely set your organization ahead much further than you ever thought it could be.
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.