Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Innovation and the Pace of Change

The term futurist sometimes seems strange to me with the ever increasing pace of change. the future used to be about decades into the future, and now it may only be months or years. Futurist, Jim Carroll's often has thoughts on the future of future of business. He has recently listed 10 truths about the future of business, however given the pace of change, these are actually trends that you need to consider now!

(I have trimmed down some of Jim's commentary and added a bit of my own.)

  • It’s incredibly fast: Product life cycles are collapsing, and comoditization happens faster than ever.
  • It involves a huge adaptability gap: Change management will cease to be an topic for projects or workshops, but a constant reality.
  • It has a huge instantaneity: The average consumer scans 12 feet of shelf space per second. Most news becomes old hat within 36 hours of emerging. We live in the era of the rapid idea-cycle.
  • It hits you most when you don’t expect it: Every organization must deal with two realities: the rapid emergence of new technologies, the sudden adoption of old-hat ideas.
  • It's being defined by renegades: Industry expatriates are redefining and innovating through their own startups. See my post on thrill seekers.
  • It involves partnership: Think 'business ecosystems' - not just 'my' business.
  • It involves intensity: Running your business at video-game intensity. (Thanks Jim for the great metaphor!)
  • It’s bigger than you think: Don't just think inside the boundaries of your industry - be prepared for competition from companies that you had never thought would be in that space.
  • It involves innovation intensity: With rapid change, everyone in an organization must innovate. Innovation is no longer a responsibility for the few.
  • It comes from experiential capital: Learn and relearn. Corporate equity isn't just money: it's the cumulative experience and knowledge of the team.
After reading these, do not dwell on how they will impact your current business. It is much more prudent to simply being thinking about how and when you will shift your business model, strategy and processes to handle these. Turn them into opportunities instead of threats.

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