Having a strategy isn’t futurism.


The dichotomy between selling a future market position and selling value now is not easily fixed. The pull of the future is less strong than the imperative of the short term.

We know that policy, regulation, crisis and discovery affect us. We know it explicitly but we choose to overlook the knowledge because we need to get through our critical to-do list. Big may be beautiful but in this context, the big picture is no more than abstractly interesting. The £1 in your pocket now is worth more than the £10 you may get next year.

If so, must ‘innovation’ – real innovation – only be practised by the vocational, the well-funded or the artist? Not necessarily. Let’s forget ‘innovation’ as a word. It’s misleading. It alludes to something that delivers benefit in the long term when now is more important.

This is where the concept of hyperbolic discounting* comes into play: the overriding need to create value today by taking whatever is on the table, versus the opportunity to find a solution that fits today’s need and will survive into the future.

Most often in real life, the opposite ends of the equation strike a deal and a goal is achieved, while some of the original ambition and opportunity remains nascent. A working compromise. The pragmatic thing to do.

That being the case, what value do we put on competitive insulation?

Being informed about how future markets may develop has huge merit, not just because it’s interesting or because the insight might shape product design someday.

Having a view of future consumer behaviour, competitive activity and regulatory landscapes can significantly assist today by informing tactical decisions. How to promote, how to communicate with the target audience and how to manoeuvre to your next market position.

The idea that products are developed and launched into their intended strategic position is OK. Lots are. But launching MVPs that grow market share over time by way of design iteration and audience advocacy is now the smart methodology in all markets. Look at any new product and see how its consumer proposition develops over time. This isn’t an accident.

Having a strategy based on data specifically analysed to meet your need is a newly accurate science. The suggestion that innovation is futurism, therefore, doesn’t stack up. Innovation may be a badly defined word, but strategy remains vital, now and for the future.

Doing what is necessary and doing what is right aren’t always mutually exclusive. It’s just a matter of timing.

Future thinking; it’s what we do at room44.

Drop us a line at helpme@room44.co.uk and let’s see how we can help each other.

www.room44.co.uk Innovation justified.

*Hyperbolic discounting – the tendency for people to choose a smaller reward sooner over a larger reward later.