Archive | Foresight to Insight

Recognising Markets in Transition: Move everything to the Cloud

It is always easier to see a market transition after it has happened than when you are in mid transition.

“We all have 20/20 vision in hindsight” – Anonymous

Think of the Candle Stick Maker. How many are still in business in your area today? Market transitions are usually not single occurrence events, but often a series of transitions along a larger continuum of change. Candles gave way to oil and then gas lamps, which were in turn replaced by electric light when Thomas Edison invented the incandescent electric light bulb in 1879. Conclusion: be highly attentive to change because disruptive change (technological innovation in this case) is a pre-condition for all market transitions.

Market Transition Mindset:

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” – Wayne Gretzky, former professional Canadian ice hockey player

Nothing stays the same forever. What you are doing today may be still working, but you know that it is getting harder and harder to achieve the same level of results. OK, it is still working but the real question is for how much longer? You have to move from denial thinking “destroy the forces of change” to status quo thinking “don’t change anything” to possibility thinking “what could we change” to transformational thinking “what would we like to see changed”. By the way, did I say that this was going to be easy? No? Good! Why? Because you (and your organisation) tend to stick to what you (they) are best at, not what is required. Transitions are inherently unnatural acts.

Seek Indicators of Change: The Tipping Point of Markets in Transition.

Today, we are right in the middle of a ginormous market transition – the Cloud. The IT industry is facing an enormous period of brutal change as everything moves to the cloud, allowing users to use their computing devices of choice (PC, tablet, smart phone, other) and those applications they prefer on the OS of their choice. BYOD has gone from being a luxury to being a necessity.

Who will be the Winners and Losers?

Market transitions favour the instigators, the innovators and the early movers i.e. the perpetrators of change. They favour those who upset the game, those who innovate and those who change the rules of the game. They penalize, punish and sanction the rest; the laggards, the slow movers and the ‘no movers’. Will you be a winner or a loser?

The most destabilising aspect of Markets in Transition is that there are no established rules to follow. No established market leaders to compete with. There are no role models to copy or learn from. Your ability to adapt, try, correct, learn and try again is the key to navigating a successful market transition. Be quick to recognize, respond to and take advantage of transitions in your market. Re-think, re-strategize, re-invent yourself and re-position your business to benefit from change. Conclusion: Change before you have to change.

Learn from your Taxi Driver:

Every time I take a taxi to the airport I ask the taxi driver the same question: “How long will it take to get to the Airport today?” You would be surprised by the answers I get. One day my confidence in mankind was restored when the Taxi Driver took out his smart phone, tapped the screen a few times and announced with great certainty that it would take 47 minutes. I was impressed, to say the least! When I enquired about what app he was using he asked: “do you have an iPhone?” Then he told me where to go online to download and install the app and was quick to point out that it was free.

When your Taxi Driver tells you how to get to the cloud, the cloud’s time has surely come.

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Change Begins with Choice

Is openness or receptiveness to change holding you or organisation back? How can you create durable change initiatives at your place of work? Why is change so hard?

“People are not afraid of change. They fear the unknown.” – Dick Brown, former CEO of EDS

In today’s chaotic post-crisis world we are facing more unknowns than ever before. Incremental planning based on a safe set of assumptions has been replaced by scenario planning with probabilities assigned to a range of possible outcomes. Our ability to change and overcome our fear of the unknown is largely determined by the way we think about the future.

Adaptive Thinking is having a permanent focus on the desired outcomes while constructively responding to change in pursuit of achieving those goals. Adaptive thinking is the application of Divergent thinking (Possibility thinking) creating choices followed by Convergent thinking (Critical thinking) making a choice. But the secret to success lies in using both these thinking approaches sequentially: Divergent thinking AND then Convergent thinking, in that order.

“The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.” – John Scully

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

Building our Future is a mindset, a conscious choice about how we choose to think and how we choose to respond to change. Develop your level of Adaptive thinking and you will increase your mental resilience – your ability to stay focused when all else around you crashes and burns. Adaptive thinking is the best way to deal with your fear of the unknown and your people’s fear of the future. It is our responsibility to build our future.

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