Archived Articles

Adapt or Die

Mar 12, 2008

seldom recommend a book in this newsletter – especially one published as far back as 2005! I however recommend unreservedly that you should get your hands onto ‘The Singularity is Near’ by Ray Kurzweil even if only to read the first two chapters.

Ray is possibly the world’s most famous serious futurist. In these two chapters he combines fifteen studies of the evolution of life from the big bang until the present. These studies were compiled by highly respected academics and organisations including The American Museum of Natural History, Encyclopedia Britannica, Scientific American, the biochemist Paul D. Boyer who won the Nobel physics prize in 1997, Carl Sagan and Phillip Tobias the world famous paleoanthropologist.

He discovered an absolute fit of the milestones in evolution in each of the studies to a single exponential curve. This is shown below

 

This diagram is printed with permission of the publisher Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd., London and in the United States by Viking Penguin.  

 

Note that in a logarithmic plot an exponential curve appears, as above, as a straight line.

Kurzweil claims that the exponential curve has already reached the critical trigger point whereafter the development of all biological and human created technology will accelerate explosively transforming everything we do with ever increasing speed.

Just to emphasise this point, within 2 – 5 years you should be able to

  •  Make presentations to your clients or watch high definition TV with the image projected onto a wall with stereo sound from your cell phone.
  • Speak to prospective clients and work colleagues in their home language whether Cantonese, Russian or Arabic using simultaneous language translation. This also means Chinese, Russian and Arab competitors will be able to converse with your customers in English. Frightening!
  •  Utilise your computer to manage a myriad of gadgets around your home and office. The days of missing keys will soon be over!
  • Speak directly to your computer and receive a reasoned reply.
  • Get your computer to do research on the internet for you.
  • Programme your computer to undertake a great deal of routine work that currently takes up a great deal of your time 
  • Attend virtual meetings without leaving your office.
  • Provide your clients with face to face communications when they phone in. At last we will be able to see those anonymous faces of the people at call centres. And they will be able to see just how fed up we are!

While all this happens, customer and employee expectations, aspirations and values will change so much as to be virtually unrecognisable.

What does this mean for you and your business? 

Basically that Ray Kurzweil has got it right. The acceleration has set in. We have passed the ‘trigger point’ on the exponential curve .Technological knowledge, like interest on returns reinvested, increases at compound or exponential rates. Blast off is already well underway.

Whether you are a one person business or the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation reading this Future Report, you will have to continually transform yourself and your business if you are to survive.

Executives need an entirely new tool bag now in order to develop successful strategic plans and take their employees and customers with them as unrelenting change accelerates.

Yet, the truth is that the business strategy most of us currently use is to adapt to changes as they come along. This might have served us well up to the present, but will become a recipe for disaster in the near term simply for two reasons. 

Firstly, most of our organisations were designed to be winners in the Industrial age and, despite some tinkering, are still what they were designed to be.  Your clients and employees, especially the millennium generation, have very different aspirations and expectations both of employers and as customers.  The risk of conducting a business alien to clients and employees is self evident.

Secondly, we all know that if you don’t plan to be the market leader, you can plan to be a successful follower. 

 In the past the follower was often able to copy innovative products and produce them cheaper or with more appealing features than the innovator.  The difference in future will be that the innovator will have moved on to new cheaper and/or more advanced products and services even before the follower catches up.

The future winners will have a flexible corporate strategy which is capable of fast, innovative movement and a supporting organisation structure and culture which is nimble and adaptable.

The remorseless and ever accelerating speed of change will compel CEOs to abandon redundant strategic planning techniques and leadership models designed for the industrial age. 

Ensure you and your organisation are the future winners

CEOs embarking on strategic planning without the assistance of a practical futurist skilled in corporate reinvention able to translate future social, economic and lifestyle trends and the timing and role of emerging technologies will at best be risking a great deal.

Future Winners International has a proven track record of providing senior executives with this information and the ability to continuously re-engineer their enterprises with a supporting organisation structure and culture which is nimble and adaptable.

 "We undoubtedly know which direction to go in the future.  The process and technologies you used throughout the conference were refreshing compared to those traditionally used by precious facilitators and enabled us to agree our future vision and the detail of the reinvented company – all in a day and a half!

"We left the conference with high motivation, a Strategic GamePlan that will ensure we are well placed in the countries in which we operate and plan to develop markets over the next two years, and a determination to make real progress before our next review session".   Dr Andor Richter, Senior Vice President, Parsons Energy and Chemicals Group Limited, UK.

Why not contact me today or recommend that your business colleagues, friends and acquaintances do so?

We will enable you to

  • Break the mould in your industry
  • Provide your enterprise with the ability to become a future winner which continuously reinvents itself with a supporting organisation structure and culture which is nimble and adaptable
  • Create a positive customer focused ‘can-do’ culture.

In addition to our work as futurists and corporate reinvention engineers which has been implemented on five continents we also provide

  • Board Briefings which provide indicators of the future of your industry faces and propose detailed plans to become a future winner
  • Facilitation of away-days and renewal retreats for top and middle management
  • Workshops for management and client facing people to create a customer focused ‘can-do’ culture
  • Motivational and information packed keynote presentations for international conventions and corporate conferences. E-mails received after a presentation in January to the Institute of Directors Central Branch in London described the keynote experience as ‘utterly inspirational, brilliant and passionate’!

 We can help you to eliminate most of the looming risks and future-ready your organisation to become a future winner within a few weeks.

Go on. Give us a ring. The risks of remaining an organisation designed to be a winner in the twentieth century are immediate and huge. 

P.S. The offer of a free 30 minute telephonic no commitment consultation with CEOs anywhere still stands.