Embrace the future of your business. Change your nappy.


Your market outlook is perfectly stable and your competitors entirely predictable, IF you decide not to open your curtains or turn on the TV.

Why do anything new? The immediate need to change isn’t imperative because you are good at doing what you do today. Only disruptive start-ups or somebody with their back against the wall do something new.

The only person who really wants change is a baby with a full nappy.

In the last week, two conversations stuck out as good examples of this condition:

  1. At a global Customer Experience Management (CEM) conference, the room was asked what RPA meant. Robotic Process Automation has been delivered into businesses, particularly services, for some years, delivering cost and efficiency that enhances competitiveness. An early adopting segment is CEM.
  2. A bespoke exhaust pipe manufacturer, selling products to the motor racing industry, asked a room that had just discussed electric car racing in 2018, how it might affect his business. The sense of ‘Really?’ was tangible. With e-cars currently accounting for one in ten new cars, but forecast to grow to one in two soon, this could be a problem. How many electric cars need exhaust pipes?

These companies are just not seeing the signs – the signs writ large in flashing neon, jumping up and down in front of them.

Recently published* data quotes business leadership trends:

  • 41% frequently take part in formal horizon scanning and scenario planning, compared with 25% of their less successful peers
  • 66% are very good at understanding and anticipating customer needs, compared with 43% of their less successful peers

Business strives to be best, newest, biggest, fastest, cheapest. While the media are fixated on the far future, almost half of surveyed business leaders are happy to direct their brand managers and open-innovators to get on with making things we can buy today and tomorrow.

The future and the here-and-now ends of the timeline are not connected in 50% of companies. Which half are you in?

Knowing you’re good at what you do today isn’t enough. You must be great next week, next month, next year and know what’s needed for you to still be great in five years. Your business plan becomes a hybrid view of what you think will happen in the long term (macro) crossed with the certainty of what you forecast to happen (micro).

Ask around: how many of last year’s five-year strategic objectives are now a four-year target? Is there a new five-year plan?

With help, and some intelligent future thinking, you can create realistic and believable future scenarios to plan into. Believe in the micro view: short enough to be credible and thorough enough to justify your macro vision.

Future thinking. Future Proofing. Innovation justified. It’s what we do.


*PA Consulting Innovation Matters