See the Future, Rehearse it and Adapt to the Inevitable Shifts

In my last post, I described a Sense and Respond model that sits at the heart of several activities, including scenario, opportunity, and risk analysis. As complexity and pace continue to intensify, uncertainty increases. To survive in this Emerging Future, we must embrace a framework for future thinking,  and an organization that can adapt as it shifts. In essence, we must see the future, rehearse it, continuously monitor for shifts, and adapt as the shifts occur. A sense and respond model sits at the core of the framework – but represents the biggest cultural challenge.

Framework for the Future

Figure 1: The See-Rehearse-Adapt Framework

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Uncertainty Drives the need to Sense and Respond

“The rhythm of technology is changing the rhythm of business, and we’re all going to need to adapt”Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden, Authors of Sense and Respond

Back in 2013, in a post on sense and respond systems, I talked about the drivers that would push organizations towards a sense and respond paradigm. There are no bigger drivers than volatility and uncertainty, and nearly four years since that post, that fact is becoming clearer. In a recent book by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden, they elevate sense and respond to a position that is core to achieving an adaptive enterprise. They see feedback loops and a movement away from command and control as the enabling mechanisms that allow us to thrive in the digital age.

Management expert Gary Hamel summarizes the challenges we face as the structures of the industrial age collide with the digital age:

“Modern management is one of humanity’s most important inventions. But it was developed more than a century ago to maximize standardization, specialization, hierarchy, control, and shareholder interests. While that model delivered an immense contribution to global prosperity, the values driving our most powerful institutions are fundamentally at odds with those of this age – zero-sum thinking, profit-obsession, power, conformance, control, hierarchy, and obedience don’t stand a chance against community, interdependence, freedom, flexibility, transparency, meritocracy, and self-determination. It’s time to radically rethink how we mobilize people and organize resources to productive ends”.

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Intersections Promise to Drive Multiple Paradigm Shifts

Since the time I completed this post on Disruptive Power and Intersections, it continues to receive attention. It is by far the most effective component of any Future Thinking effort. Given the continued traffic to this two year old post, I am updating with current content. By way of reminder, the anchor emerging futures visual is available via this PDF. An expansion of the science and technology foundation is visualized via this PDF. The visual below connects the intersections of 8 combinatorial scenarios. This is not an exhaustive set of connections; it is strictly intended to describe the scenarios at a high level. This visual can be downloaded via this PDF.disruptive-power

Figure 1: Intersections amplify both power and impact

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The Experience Journey Gets Complicated

My ongoing work on emerging future scenarios has driven a renewed focus on experience. Several factors are converging to shift the experience end game; specifically, the evolution of Ecosystems and the transformation of Interaction. These two forces – themselves the result of combinatorial innovation – are converging. While the way we interact continues to shift, a parallel evolution towards ecosystems is occurring. This ecosystem evolution introduces systemic complexity and combines with a shifting interaction paradigm to alter the way we think about experience.


Figure 1: the transformation of interaction and the evolution of ecosystems

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Visualizing our Emerging Future

As the pace of science, technology, and societal change accelerates, a vision of our future is emerging. Many future scenarios are viewed as science fiction, or thought to have timelines that are too far into the future to worry about. I hold a firm belief that these timelines are collapsing and future scenario analysis is critical both at a business and societal level.

I have used this visual as a driver of future scenario analysis. It has been captured and utilized in workshop and events. It is described in a post on Connecting Dots, which I view as a critical leadership trait. Given its exposure, I am making a copy available via this PDF.



The Collapse of Traditional Structures: An Ecosystem Evolution

In my previous post on the Transformation of Interaction, I mentioned the emergence of ecosystems and their likely impact on how we experience life. Together, the evolution of interaction and ecosystems plays a significant role in how we view experiences going forward. I referred to this in 2013 as the movement towards Next Generation Experiences. In the coming months, I will share a point of view that captures a finite set of future ecosystems. To position that discussion, it is helpful to look at how this evolution may ensue.


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