2013 – Seeing What is Next


Seeing differently means questioning how we are doing things, whether we are working on new solutions to old problems, or creating new ways of doing things that have never been done or even thought about before.

1.  Disruption is the New Normal.  Management performance should not be measured by how much disruption it can eliminate and how much disruption it can tolerate.  It is reactive not proactive. Be the disrupter, not the disrupted.

2.  Seek the obvious, but do everything in your power to ridicule it.  Jack Welch was the epitome of the modern celebrity CEO.  However, during his tenure he de-emphasized manufacturing, grew financial services, outsourced American jobs, jettisoned research.  The huge bet on financial services almost brought GE to its knees.

3.  Every rule that made for success in the past has to be rethought because it unreflective application will lead to failures. As a consequence, the rules of doing business have changed so radically that entirely new ways of thinking are needed.

4.  There is not a single constraint under which any business now operates that should be taken as inviolable for all time.  Constraints are to be treated with discourtesy.

5.  Barriers to entry are rarely sustainable.  Disrupters will find a way to destroy them or circumvent them.  (Apple disrupted the music industry.)

6.  In business originality is not enough, an idea must be translated into a product or service that has economic value.  Volkswagen Battle Super Bowl ad was a sales failure.  January and February sales dropped 7%.  While the market grew 26%.  It may be that the ad’s exercising dog was more memorable than the car.

7.  The policies which we make decisions upon, should depend far more on the range of possible outcomes; not a single event.  This increases the chances that an enterprise can adapt to change.

8.  We will start harvesting ideas that promise to help people become more resilient when facing large-scale disasters.  (Hurricane Sandy)

9.  “Hyper-competitive markets … a war of rapid and disruptive moves replaces a war of defending strongholds.” (Hyper-Competition, Richard D’Aveni) The flexible and unpredictable competitor has the advantage over the inflexible and committed competitor.

10.  Intellectual capital exceeds the value of financial and physical capital.  The value of what we know, the intangible value of what we have created may exceed the physical value of what surrounds us.  The most important corporate resource over the next 20 years will be talent.  It is also the resource in shortest supply.  Enterprise will fight for their share.

11.  Social responsibility is no longer discretionary; it is essential for business survival and profitability.  The link between corporate social responsibility and profits has never been greater.

12.  Once a sustainable advantage has been equalized, it is no longer an advantage but a cost of doing business.  It is critical that an enterprise has a continuous stream of disruptive advantages increasing the distance between you and your competitor and extending the time frames.

13.  An enterprise will lead from a place in time that assumes they are already there and that is determined even though it hasn’t happened yet.

14.  Trust is more than a bonus.  It is an intangible asset creating shareholder value.  “Trust” cannot be achieved without deeply internalized needs and concern for it as part of everyone connected with the enterprise.

15.  Act as if everything you do is going to be instantaneously available on the internet … because it is.

16.  We are no longer in the business of generating content. Rather we will be in the business of creating experiences, which allow the user to evaluate content of their own choosing.

17.  “Intersectional innovation … unleashes an explosion of ideas among multiple fields generating ideas that leap in new directions.” Enterprise will gather designers, technologists, innovators, scientists and storytellers. (The Medici Effect, Frans Johansson)

18.  Know the critical assumptions from which you operate and monitor the experiment carefully for signals that indicate that those assumptions maybe either be reversing themselves or collapsing.  (For example, the military assumption that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.)

19.  Consumers needs will be harder to anticipate, as consumers have become more technologically savvy, more connected and more mobile.

20.  The unfinished quality of most lives encourages experimentation, discovery and identity.  The knowledge that other people are doing the same leads toward authenticity.

21.  Every enterprise needs multiple crisis portfolios, the first is to prepare for the worst, the second is to take preventative action, and the third is to be opportunistic.

22.  Change will require insights, innovation, creativity and common sense.  It requires a willingness to disregard preferences and practices that are no longer productive and replace them with ones that are.

23.  The future is a realm for actors rather than spectators.  It’s the difference between being passive and being active.  The risks are there regardless, but the active participant has some possibility of control. Neither nations, nor companies, nor individuals can properly identify with the future by sitting and waiting to see which way the wind blows.

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