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The Future - From Now On

We believe that in the future deeply inspired thought and market inspiration will beat hands down what we currently call strategy and planning. But don’t trust us - as Yuval Noah Harari says -

“The best advice I can give a 15-year-old is: don’t rely on the adults too much. Most of them mean well, but they just don’t understand the world.”

We agree.

Creating the path ahead means thinking very deeply about the customer of the future. It means investment senior time and money to work that helps the business solve for as yet unknown needs. It means completely and constantly being prepared to adjust the organisation accordingly. As a result of that it means reconfiguring leadership processes, approaches to decision making, reassessing overall capability, redesigning partnerships and overhauling culture. All the time.

Just listening to the main commentators throws up some powerful themes:

“Today, now, this very moment, is the slowest pace of change you will experience in the rest of your life.”

“If somebody describes the world of the mid-21st century to you and it sounds like science fiction, it is probably false. But then again, if somebody describes the world of the mid-21st century to you and it doesn’t sound like science fiction, it is certainly false..”

“This is the paradox of historical knowledge. Knowledge that does not change behaviour is useless. But knowledge that changes behaviour quickly loses its relevance. The more data we have and the better we understand history, the faster history alters its course, and the faster our knowledge becomes outdated.”

Marketing Or Manufacturing?

The value we see in every product or service is no longer the sum of the parts used but in the way we have unprecedented access to the parts. For example - ordering a burger allows us almost infinite choices. The type of meat, the style it gets cooked, the dressing and toppings we would like, the nature of the bun, whether we wish to save a rainforest, do we actually need the cutlery, is there a sales incentive, when the rider will arrive, their name and phone number, where they are on the map, how much we tip - what we felt and how could it be improved.

In the near future - the pharmaceutical pill will have a mini sensor to report if it was absorbed. How it’s constitution can be immediately altered, customized perfectly, the effect it is having, remembered forever. The effect will be learned, the improvement produced ubiquitously and connected even more seamlessly to help far more people.

The genie is out of the bottle - every aspect of our world more tracked, transparent, automated, unbundled, intelligent and fluid than ever. No regulation, industry structure or model, no particular capability asset or skill will hold back this charging accelerating change.

“At a shocking rate every single dimension of life is becoming transformed by digital. And we can see and feel these changes in everything. Our lifestyles, our work, our travel - every choice we make.”

“To keep up with the world of 2050, you will need to do more than merely invent new ideas and products, but above all, reinvent yourself again and again.”

“We've never before been so surrounded by such waves and blizzards of media. Many of us say subsumed by noise -the subject of many irritating interventions.”

Living Life - A Different Way

Complete freedom of choice will be a new normal. This changes some major fundamentals - we don’t need to own stuff if we can hire it. We can experience things when we want rather than build our own museums. Our work lives will be made out of portfolios - built through multiple possibly related connections and conversations. Sitting on simpler platforms. No longer jobs for life but capabilities for hire.

Living In The Open

Technologies will be increasingly embedded, less the discussion and more accepted and expected. The information and insight (data) inside all this interconnection will mean a singularity of sorts. We will be indivisible from being understood, served, measured and scored. Right now we are struggling not to be controlled - in the future we will call this service.

“Humans think in stories rather than in facts, numbers, or equations, and the simpler the story, the better.”

“Pedagogical experts argue that schools should switch to teaching “the four Cs” — critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. More broadly, they believe, schools should downplay technical skills and emphasize general-purpose life skills.

The Promised Land

Platforms offer another shot at the hope of democratisation. Designers are revolutionising how we have access to products and services. As they are increasingly ‘plugged in’ and scaled (distributable) across new more trusted and transparent systems (distributed ledgers) we will be less centrally constrained by authority and see a return to a more free and balanced society.

Technology also assists in localised production. This gives us access to more flexible, dispersed and customised solutions that reduce the cost of distance. It also heralds the next wave of consumer expectation. To control completely the more immediate delivery of everything. We can see how we can change, customise, personalise and recreate every aspect of our lives - from our genes to our furniture. Future consumption becomes a perpetual act of co-robo-creation.

“Future leaders will need to shift their perspective. They must understand that the only role, of every business is not as a process to be managed, or a product to be produced, but rather as a ceaseless problem-solving machine.”

“We award value in very different ways these days. We live in an age of celebrity. It’s a world of influencer marketing where every product or service we buy is surrounded with comment trails and ratings that significantly inform our choices.”

An Immediate Life

When we digitise anything (software) we make distance and time collapse. The business winners who can design that immediacy complete with rich experience and utility. The winners will have removed the rote and low value tasks (to consumers). Automation and the connected individual will reap differences that appear to deliver magic because automated completion will ‘disappear’ the tedium we experience today.

We Are Smarter

The automatic connecting (machines behind the scenes) brings compound benefits and we are starting to realise what that means. Artificial Intelligence will not appear to be artificial - it will be very real because all the machines are doing the learning.

Countless objects being connected is an incredible vision to anticipate. We will be able to add intelligence and usefulness to everything. All our possessions, and how we journey through our lives and and the decisions we make will be super informed by what we experienced and felt.

We have to remember the learning part in all this. We will teach the ‘machinery’ whether we liked each encounter, how they interpreted us for our individual benefit, did it add value or not.

“To survive and flourish in the future, you will need a lot of mental flexibility and great reserves of emotional balance. You will have to repeatedly let go of some of what you know best, and learn to feel at home with the unknown.

Unfortunately, teaching kids to embrace the unknown while maintaining their mental balance is far more difficult than teaching them an equation in physics or the causes of the First World War.”

The Future - A Whole New Reality

Creativity is often stated as the raw material and key skill in the future. We will have help through the stimulus provided by the new cocktails mixer of the virtual and the real. Our brains will be fed by unimaginable new mixtures that have a literal ‘world of suggestive possibilities’ to rely on. These will expand our perspectives and open up infinite new ideas.

These will assist us in everything. It will bring forward countless solutions and services. New experiences for everything - from gamification to customisation. It seems strange to think we will be comfortable with this but we recently said the same about talking to ourselves walking in the street.

We will be far more comfortable with intelligent glasses, 3D printers in our home or stores, robo-advisory and interconnected machine intelligence. We will be more comfortable (as Trust is proven) to trade personal data for far smarter personal health and well-being solutions and individualised premium models for everything from holidays to gene editing. We will see, behind all this, profound changes in the business models and the definition of value. 


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