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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The Year of Shifts


The year of shifts is upon us. 2016 will ultimately be viewed as the bridge to a different future; a year where our intuition and beliefs will be reset. Accelerating advancements across science and technology have set the foundation for these shifts. Driven by societal and economic challenges, we will leverage this foundation to change current institutions and build new ones. To succeed, organizations of all types must view transformation through a different lens; one that enables their role in this future. In my current series, I am focusing on the thirteen (13) key enablers of future viability. The first post explored Structural Change. In this post, I will look closer at the pillars of transformation, and delve into the second enabler: a holistic digital foundation.

the-pillars-of-transformation

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A Report on Creative Disruption


A recent report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch sheds more light on our future focus. The authors see cyclical and secular trends transforming the world at a rapid and meaningful pace. They find a common denominator in the form of three Ecosystems of Creative Disruption, and see them reducing barriers to entry for new businesses. These ecosystems allow companies to improve productivity and time-to-market while allowing broader customer reach. In a big shift, the ecosystems redefine competitive advantage by leveling the playing field between large and small companies.  Success is therefore dictated by imagination and ability to maximize the ecosystem. The three ecosystems are:

The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is expected to be a $7 trillion industry by 2020, as the explosion in connected devices is laying the foundation for IoT disruption. As a result, the authors estimate that connected devices will double in the next three years to reach 20 billion by 2018.

M2M Applications

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World Economic Forum – Deep Shift


A must read on six mega-trends, their tipping points and societal impacts. I recommend this for anyone with interest in where the world is heading, and/or tasked with future thinking in the context of strategy. I commend the World Economic Forum for their efforts here, as education is likely to spur action. The six mega-trends are:

  1. People and the internet
  2. Computing, communications and storage everywhere
  3. The Internet of Things
  4. Artificial intelligence (AI) and big data
  5. The sharing economy and distributed trust
  6. The digitization of matter

Here is a tipping point timeline from the report:

Tipping Points Timeline

Many leaders are struggling with the sheer number of future scenarios and some indication of when the tipping point may arrive. This material provides critical input into the scenario and response analysis process. Enjoy the read.

IDC Predicts a DX Economy


IDC today announced its worldwide information technology (IT) industry predictions for 2016 and beyond. The predictions were published in a new IDC FutureScape report. As we embrace the notion of Future Thinking

This forward looking guidance is critical. Here is a snippet from the report:

“The disruptive impact of digital transformation is about to be felt in every industry as enterprises ‘flip the switch’ and massively scale up their DX initiatives to secure a leadership role in the DX economy,” said Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC. “In the next two years, two-thirds of Global 2000 CEOs will put DX at the center of their growth and profitability strategies. By the end of this decade, IDC predicts that the percentage of enterprises with advanced DX strategies and implementations will more than double.”

IDC predicts that the scale-up of digital business strategies will drive more than half of enterprise IT spending within the next 24 months, rising to 60% by 2020. Mastery of 3rd Platform technologies will be table stakes for successfully executing DX business initiatives and “Cloud First” will become the new mantra for enterprise IT. Virtually none of the other 3rd Platform technologies or major DX initiatives is possible in scaled-up implementations without the Cloud as the foundation. By 2020, IDC predicts that enterprise spending on cloud services, the hardware and software to support cloud services, and the services for implementing and managing cloud services will exceed $500 billion, more than three times what it is today.

Source: FutureScape

Additional predictions were provided:

  1. By the End of 2017, Two-Thirds of the CEOs of the G2000 Will Have Digital Transformation at the Center of Their Corporate Strategy
  2. By 2017, 60% Companies with a DX Strategy Will Deem It Too Critical for Any One Functional Area and Create an Independent Corporate Executive Position to Oversee the Implementation
  3. By 2018, 80% of B2C Companies Will Have Created Immersive, Authentic Omni-Experiences for Customers, Partners, and Employees; 60% of B2B-Centric Companies Will Have Done the Same
  4. The Top New Investment Areas Through 2017 Will Be Contextual Understanding and Automated Next Best Action Capabilities
  5. In 2016, 65% of Large Enterprises Will Have Committed to Become Information-Based Companies, Shifting the Organizational Focus to Relationships, People, and Intangible Capital
  6. By 2018, 75% of the G2000 Will Have Deployed Full, Information-Based, and Economic Models or “Digital Twins” of Their Products/Services, Supply Network, Sales Channels, and Operations
  7. By 2020, 60% of the G2000 Will Have Doubled Their Productivity by Digitally Transforming Many Processes from Human-Based to Software-Based Delivery
  8. In 2016, the Level of Connectivity Related to Products, Assets, and Processes Will Increase 50% for All Industry Value Chains
  9. The Sharing Economy Will Give Rise to the Networked Free Agent and Skill-Based Marketplaces, Resulting in More than 10% of Work Being Sourced in this Fashion in Mature Economies by 2019
  10. By 2018, at Least 20% of All Workers Will Use Automated Assistance Technologies to Make Decisions and Get Work Done