How trawling for trends can identify risks and opportunities at the same time.
The people my wife teaches ‘A’ Level to recently had a conversation about the current tranche of dystopian TV shows, exampled by Station 11.
The class showed empathy at how a pandemic can change normal lives but couldn’t begin to imagine that anything would stop the internet. It didn’t compute.
That the internet relies on electricity wasn’t a connection they’d made.
That mobile phones ran on the same stuff also came as a surprise – in a moment of alarming realisation.
The relative problem of the internet may not have occurred to seventeen-year olds and it may not to you either.
This made me think. Our perspectives inform our view of our futures. Logically, we don’t know what we don’t know – or choose to see.
In business today there are people who were born this century alongside others who watched England win the World Cup, watched the first moon landing, Vietnam, the Torrey Canyon, Exxon Valdis, the Khmer Rouge, the Falklands… There are five generations working at the same time.
Older generations may find it easier to imagine a wholly different set of predictions than those born into a digital age.
Our common concerns are the same but our attitudes towards them could vary.
The probability of a failure in the UK national power transmission system is estimated at between 1% and 5%. At the upper end this means that there’s a 1 in 20 chance of national power interruption at any one time.
How would you cope?
- No water supply or sewage services
- No internet
- No fuel distribution or logistics
- No lights or heat…
Who do you trust?
More importantly, how much do you trust the people who control the systems that keep you running to do their jobs? Following the UK Air Traffic Control failure in August 2023 the questions around how small but pernicious data errors could be catastrophic, are very conspicuous.
The thing about viewing emerging trends is that other stuff comes into view at the same time. Being innovative and looking for information that can inform strategy is one side of the coin.
Seeing a better informed reality and being able to assess risks is the other.
Put together, the data set allows us to estimate the probability that your innovation/ product development/ new service will enjoy commercial success.
And it all comes from being interested in what’s going on around you.
This is what we do.
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