At this time of year we write a content calendar that usually includes a blog timed for March saying something like, your year is 25% time gone: what has changed?

Obviously, it’s provocative. Understandably, it can get a reaction along the lines of ‘shut up, smart arse, we know’.

This year we decided it was worth writing the blog a bit earlier. As usual, predictions abound – like this decade will see more technological change that we’ve experienced in the last hundred.

No real surprises there. It was the same in the 2010s and is difficult to plan for.

But it was only a few weeks ago that the UK government announced we could have a Christmas and that they’d review things in four days’ time. Policies that last four days? That’s a new kind of normal.

In February, of course, all bets are off and the only place you ‘need’ to wear a face mask is on a bus.

In other news the UK and France aren’t really getting on (again). Inflation is soaring. Domestic energy costs are set to rise by 50% this year. Lithium is in short supply, so batteries are too, affecting almost everything. Internationally, the Ukraine is in a state of flux; Kazakhstan is worth watching; US Republicans are planning a Trump return to power while Democrats aren’t able to stop regional restructuring that might permit it.

But none of this can affect your business because it’s all a long way away and in the future.

Stuff happens every day doesn’t it?

The obvious reaction is to, well, react because that’s pragmatic. But how differently would it be if you had already anticipated the macro events that could sideswipe you?

You can forecast your future

The idea of stepping into the future and looking back is attributed to Steve Jobs (but probably not his original thought). He was right though; step into the future, look back and join the dots – when they join up, you have a route map/ plan/ strategy – whatever.

There’s always one

This concept of future thinking makes perfect sense until the sceptic in your team says, ’but you can’t predict the future’. There’s always one. It’s usually the same person who insists on forecasting everything. Forecasts and trends watching aren’t quite the same. Forecasts are guesses based on historical data and maybe you can’t predict the future; but you can keep an eye on it so it doesn’t catch you out. You can also build a plan for your possible futures.

Planning for change

The diagram below illustrates the point. Try it for yourself: print it out and do the exercise as instructed.

Now turn it through 1800 and do it backwards.

See what I mean?

Future thinking. Future proofing. It’s what we do.

If you want to talk about this, here’s my diary. Pick a time that suits you.

 

 

 

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