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Creating The Future – Here and Now

Creating The Future – Here and Now

By Fay Watkin – Head of Entrepreneurial Development

In his recent Ted Talk (How to shift your mindset and choose your future) Tom Rivett-Carnac says, in response to the current crisis we find ourselves in “we cannot afford the luxury of feeling powerless” and as business owners stare into the face of this ‘new normal’ if they are to have any chance of coming out of the other end with a viable proposition they must take heed. 

So how do businesses use this adversity to power up and take the reins again on their future? A future that is no longer recognisable. Well, in the immediate term they can start to digest the vital insights that the crisis has afforded many businesses on their propensity for innovation and change. Given the circumstances, a rainbow this is not, but it is fair to say never has there been more of an opportune time to learn about your business. 

As McKinsey highlight in their recent paper (The Future is not what it used to be – thoughts on the shape of the new normal) many businesses now have a “better sense of what can, and cannot, be done outside their companies’ traditional processes. Many are beginning to appreciate the speed with which their organizations can move once they change how they do things (…) as businesses are forced to do more with less, many are finding better, simpler, less expensive, and faster ways to operate.” Businesses who were lagging when it came to the technological innovations that the fourth industrial revolution is now demanding, will no doubt need to accelerate their adoption. Business as usual will no longer be an option, they will need to skate where the puck is going, not where it is right now, or indeed where it once was. 

But vitally businesses need to make sure they don’t just sleepwalk in to this ‘new normal’ without using these fresh insights to imagine their place within it, a sentiment that sci-fi writer Charlie Jane Andersa explores in her 2019 Ted Talk: “second-order effect is basically the kind of thing that happens after the consequences of a new technology or a huge change. There’s a saying often attributed to writer and editor Frederik Pohl that “A good science fiction story should predict not just the invention of the automobile, but also the traffic jam.”  

So now more than ever we need entrepreneurs who can make sense of the chaos, reflect, find opportunities to set a new vision and ultimately plot their course into this new normal – not just to survive but to reinvent the world! In the words of Andersa “the future is going to be much weirder than we could possibly dream of, but we can try” and try we must!