Futureproofing your business

Written on 01 November, 2009 by Jonathan Crossfield
Categories Small BusinessTags business

“Any company that can’t imagine the future, won’t be around to enjoy it.”

CK Prahalad

Decades ago, the pace of change was slow enough that the future seemed far away. The car people were driving today would still be around next year. Technology still lasted for years instead of weeks. Companies could feel safe and secure operating within rigid business models based around what worked before. The last twenty years has seen the pace of change reach nose-bleed speeds. No longer can CEOs make decisions based on what has worked in the past. Time was, ideas were out of date after years of slow development and research. Now, you can be out of date by lunchtime! Increasingly, the companies that are become industry leaders are those with their ideas firmly routed in the future. Those business fading away into obscurity or fighting to maintain market share are those still putting too much faith in the business models of the past. A perfect illustration of this trend is this video from Microsoft. Released earlier this year, it demonstrates the company’s thinking on the products and technologies they will need to be involved in by 2019 – a full decade from now. That’s right – they’re not looking at what is popular today and developing to that, they are already planning ten years ahead.

Wise businesses know that technology advances mean we will have greater data storage capabilities than we do today. We will have faster means of transmitting and sharing information. We will have smaller and more flexible tools with which to access and manipulate this data. even if we don’t have the technology today to achieve those goals, we know we will. Planning a business with those logical assumptions included can protect a business from out-dating itself by merely planning for today. Are you prepared for the future or are you still frantically trying to hang onto the way things used to be?