Create the Future: Dare! A Disruptive Business Strategy…

          “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” ~ Peter F. Drucker

Actions have consequences. Today’s actions to deal with today’s issues could have side effects that manifest tomorrow, hence the saying, “Every solution breeds new problems.” Likewise, today’s problems stem from yesterday’s actions. Dealing with problems is a past-oriented activity. Creating the future requires present and future orientation.

However, if you are just solving problems, you are walking into the future backwards! If you remain in this mode, you cannot create the future. How do you escape from this predicament? The escape route is to consider all significant consequences of your actions and either take steps to avoid or recover from them. Spend less time solving problems and more time in ensuring that you will not have any problems from your actions today.

                       “The future belongs to those who dare” ~ Unknown

Sara Ozaki writes: The future is that place ahead of us. It’s a place we will get to, whether it’s one minute, one month, or one year away. The things we do today can affect our future. There are many people with goals and dreams to accomplish. To do this, there must be consistent effort towards those dreams and goals. The future is created by each and every single one of us – and there are ideas out there that may completely revolutionize our world!

Each action we take every day plays into our future. If there are specific goals in mind – perhaps find what is necessary to be done to achieve that goal. If there is a dream to realize – find the path that will lead the way there. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and we can have fun along the way – while at the same time achieving our goals and realizing our dreams.

The key to doing this lies in consistent effort. Once a goal or dream is known, the next step is to find out how to achieve it. Once this is known then the next step is to actually do what needs to be done. It’s easier said than done of course. With this being said, it can be very manageable if broken down into daily or weekly activities…

Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future”~ Charles Kettering

In the article “How To Create The Future”  by Michael Noer , Forbes, writes: Back when I was in high school I remember a friend of mine making the earnest, if rather naïve, declaration that all the world’s problems could be solved if we simply collected the smartest people on the planet, relocated them to an island and left them alone to work it all out.

In the real world, of course, this sort of “smartest guys in the room” mentality has led to such notable successes as Enron and university faculty meetings. But those precedents didn’t stop fabled San Francisco design and innovation firm Frog Design and Forbes from repeating the experiment. Our premise was simple. We were going to gather together some of the world’s smartest designers, journalists, futurists and technologists, lock them in a windowless conference room and ask them to imagine what computing would look like 10 years from now, in 2020. (Ingredients: smart people, an agenda, coffee and a dash of hot air)

Now predicting the future is a notoriously tricky business, but we approached our task with a certain level of confidence. After all, this collaboration had been successful once before. In 2000 Forbes and Frog worked together to predict what the computer of 2010 would look like. Our crystal ball wasn’t perfect, but we did get a number of things right — Computers are in fact smaller than Frisbees (think iPad) and are largely “untethered and unfettered by wires and electrical outlets.” Other things we got spectacularly wrong. I sense I still have a long wait before my “digital butler” reports for duty.

Once everyone settled in, the ideas flew fast and furious. Some of the ideas we generated were banal.  But please don’t hold us too closely to the accuracy of our predictions. The point of the exercise was not about being exactly on target (although it would be nice if we were). The real point of thinking deeply about the future is really to more accurately understand the present. After all, as novelist William Gibson–who famously coined the term “cyberspace”–once said, “The future is already here. It is just not very evenly distributed.”

“You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future” ~ Unknown

In the article The ‘Create the Future’ myth by George Dvorsky writes:  A popular notion amongst futurists, techno-progressives and trans-humanists alike is the suggestion that we can proactively engineer the kind of future we want to live in. I myself have been seduced by this idea; back during the Better-humans days our mission was to “connect people to the future so that they can create it.” Given the seemingly dystophic and near-apocalyptic trajectory that humanity appears to be heading in, this was and still is a powerfully intuitive and empowering concept.  Trouble is we’re mostly deluded about this…

“The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.”~ Thomas S. Monson

Prakash Rao writes: In the classic musical “The Music Man”, Prof. Harold Hill says, “You pile up enough tomorrows and you will find that you have collected nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays!” Today plants the seed for tomorrow. And tomorrow you will find that today is the tomorrow that you were worried about yesterday! Carpe diem: Seize the day, and by your actions today, seize tomorrow!

Put this in perspective: Example, a business owner spent a large part of his time solving problems. With a little analysis, it was determined that the problems were largely his own creations, and with each problem he solved in a hurry, two more were created. ‘Hercules killed the many-headed Hydra by cauterizing each head that he cut off.’ Likewise, by considering the consequences – both short and long term – of the actions taken to solve problems, you can reduce the time spent solving problems. True, this does take a little more time than before, but with this approach, the problems stayed solved and you can begin to create the future.

   “Learn the past, watch the present, and create the future.” ~ Unknown

In the book “Hope: How Triumphant Leaders Create the Future” by Andrew Razeghi writes:  In moments of uncertainty, when hope is on the line, why do some leaders succeed and others fail? … Could it be that triumphant leaders follow an unarticulated methodology of sorts for translating hope the virtue, into hope the plan? If so, can it be learned? It appears the answer is yes. Whether businesses face uncertainty or meet the challenge of the constant pressure to innovate, leaders must dig deep to keep their focus and stay effective… isolate the critical factor that are core element for successful leadership and business strategy in any climate…and create the future..

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope (create) for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” ~ Albert Einstein

In the article “Creating the Future with Why” by Operational Strategies writes:  Henry Ford said, “If you do not think about the future, you won’t have one.”  Companies must be able to ‘see’ what they want to be or they can never get what they think they want.  It is the ‘why’ that provides motivation, direction, vision, and drive.  It is the ‘why’ that allows companies to stand apart and be different.  In other words, it is the ‘why’ that allows executive leadership to see the future and, therefore, create the future…. it is important to schedule a block of time for you to create your future.

When leadership doesn’t create the future, we usually see an organization that has become reactive.  They fall into the victim mentality of blaming the economy, the competition, and sometimes even the employees of their own company. Knowing ‘why’ not only produces the vision for the future, but it also provides momentum when the going gets tough.  Being a leader is a tough job, but it is even tougher when you don’t take the time to be intentional and deliberate.  With the ‘why’ firmly in mind, you’ll find yourself taking control, creating the future, and providing direction for your company.

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”~ Japanese Proverb

In the article “Guru Speak: Create your Future while Managing your Present” by Vijay Govindarajan writes: Strategy used to be about protecting existing competitive advantage. Today, it is about finding the next advantage. In fact, strategy starts to decay the day it is created. That’s why corporations must develop strategies that address tomorrow’s business realities. Actions that companies take belong in one of three boxes: Box 1 = managing the present, Box 2 = selectively abandoning the past and Box 3 = creating the future. Box 1 is about improving current businesses; Boxes 2 and 3 are about innovation, breakout performance, and growth.

Many organizations restrict their strategic thinking to Box 1, as leaders emphasize cost reduction and margin improvement in their current businesses. But strategy cannot be just about what an organization needs to do to secure profits in the short term. Strategy must include Boxes 2 and 3; it must be about what a company needs to do to sustain leadership in the long term.

Industries transform and change as a result of nonlinear shifts in technology and customer discontinuities. For instance, nanotechnology and genetic engineering are revolutionizing the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries. Globalization is opening doors to emerging economies, most notably India and China, and billions of customers with vast unmet needs.

Once-distinct industries, such as mass-media entertainment, telephony, and computing, are converging. Rapidly escalating concerns about security and the environment are creating unforeseen markets. Other, more subtle changes are important as well, such as the trend towards more empowered customers, the rising middle class in the developing world, and the aging population in the developed world.

As a result of these forces, companies find their strategies require almost constant reinvention because old assumptions are no longer valid, the previous strategy has been imitated and commoditized by competitors, or changes in the industry environment offer unanticipated opportunities. The only way to stay ahead is to innovate.

The three-box approach to strategic thinking argues that for an organization to sustain leadership over long periods of time, it must emphasize all three boxes. Innovation creates a new business (Box 3), which, at some point, becomes an established business (Box 1). Before the established business matures and dies, the organization must selectively forget the past (Box 2) and again engage in innovation.

This is a dynamic and rhythmic process, one that never ends. Creating the future is akin to a marathon race that is best won by breaking the race into a series of mini-steps… focusing the organization’s resources and energies on accomplishing the objectives in each step.

The challenge for business is to create their future while managing their present. Leaders can build lasting institutions if they can effectively manage the “preservation-destruction-creation” cycle.

The future is not going to be made tomorrow; it is being made today, and largely by the decisions and actions taken with respect to the tasks of today.” ~ Peter F. Drucker