Playing long to win short


Innovation consultants and futurists are good at telling you how great / terrible the future will be. It depends who’s paying.

Unsurprisingly, there is a mistrust of future predictions and a growing sense of anxiety about the nature of change we can expect. Frankly, much of what we read and hear about the future may be bollocks.

A recent free report from PA Consulting (Innovation Matters) states that:

  • 66% of respondents think their organisations will not survive without innovation
  • 24% think they have the resource and plans in place to innovate
  • 37% think their companies have made little or no attempt to innovate and only…
  • 50% of their leaders display the vision and passion to make change happen

Hold this up to an earlier PwC report that predicts that 75% of the S&P 500 will have been displaced by companies we haven’t heard of yet by 2027 and you have a market that is about to change radically…if you believe them.

What’s the worst you can do by thinking long? Survival? Growth? Infinite wealth and respect? Or, as in the recent case of Mark Fields, ex-CEO of Ford, whose investment in future technologies is reported as being partially responsible, the sack.

Here we are at the nub of the problem. Shareholders get very jumpy when their dividend is threatened. Future thinking comes at a cost and yet future proofing can’t be designed without it. The short-term cost is that there is no immediate return on investment. At least not without a strategy that ties your plan back to what you do today, so the accountants and analysts can see the rationale.

Properly devised and properly explained, an innovation strategy stands up to scrutiny. Innovation, developed as an attitude across an organisation, works. But try to slide it in sideways with a new department or function and innovation will always struggle to achieve what it should.

Back to the PA Consulting report: “50% of their leaders display the vision and passion to make change happen”. That means that as many people are yet to be convinced.

Future thinking. Future proofing. It’s what we do at If we can help persuade your C-Suite, give us a call.