Looking Over The Precipice – PART 3

In parts 1 and 2 of “Looking Over The Precipice”, I discussed the current barriers to innovation along with the 3 stages of how an organisation responds to the global downturn.

In the final posting for the series, I will explore how you can use active Risk Management to predict the future.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”, Steve Jobs 1995

In the current global market, you can only survive by innovating. If your organisation is growing, you need to innovate to maintain market share. If your organisation is shrinking, you need to innovate to stop the decline. At all times, you have to assume that everyone else is innovating including your competition.

Key to the success of Innovation is embracing your role as a Futurologist.

The Role Of The Futurologist
Since the dawn of time, man has chased the dream of being able to predict the future for social, monetary or business success. Over time, we have learnt to utilise a number of risk management techniques and tools to manage a potential future outcome today.

The most basic of these, owes its origins to Philosophy and being able to evaluate a number of possible outcomes for a predefined event. This in its simplest form is the basis of wisdom or learning to be wise.

Only when we are equipped with knowledge of how to deal with various outcomes to a scenario such as how to deal with a new product development or global rollout is an individual deemed to be wise.

Although Philosophy provides a systematic approach and reasoned argument to dealing with a specific matter, it is the role of the Futurologist to study the philosophy of what the technology future beholds.

Weather Man or Mystic Meg ?
The role of the technology Futurologist is to peer into the crystal ball of the future and identify the long term technological change and its impact on business and society. Whereas a mystic will predict a specific outcome, it is the role of the futurologist to forecast multiple possible outcomes.

As a leading Silicon Valley futurologist, Paul Saffo has spent the last 2 decades looking into this crystal ball. Paul recently commented that you need to forecast all possible outcomes and eventualities. Coupled with this, you need to “understand that everything can happen, will happen” which is more commonly known as Murphy’s law which states that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Only when you have armed yourself with this information, can you control the future and choose which outcome actually happens.

Fifth Technology Wave of Innovation
Having recently spoken on technology trends at the recent Waters Power conference in London earlier this year, one of the key topics discussed that we are now on the 5th technology wave.

This wave follows on from the Steam, Rail, Electricity and Internal combustion engine revolutions over the past 300 years. This time, the wave differs in that the speed of the next technology revolution will be faster and bigger, throwing up more dilemmas in its wake than ever before.

As we look to the future, it is the CIOs role to embrace both active Risk Management and his role as a Futurologist to lead the new wave of technology. Only by forecasting the opportunities for revenue growth, increased efficiencies can the CIO act with confidence and choose what outcome actually happens.

If you would like to discuss this topic in more detail or provide me with your personal insight just contact me today.

Email : ian@IanAlderton.com
Tel : +44 (0) 7702 777770

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