Not So Obvious Strategies for 2024

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Futurist Frank Diana, speaks often about the importance of recognizing the converging forces that will ultimately deliver our future.  These converging forces come from a variety of different domains such as science, technology, societal, geopolitical, economic, environmental and philosophy.  It is these evolving, emerging and transforming forces from all of these different domains, mixed together, that generate our future.

When anticipating and planning for the future, it is important to understand that we are not without agency.  There are many things that we can know, do, implement and change that will enable us to navigate through these forces and be more prepared.  We can recognize patterns, signals, convergences and catalysts that will shape our world and prepare for it.  The following concepts, not often considered, can also be valuable in preparing us for the future.

Information Dominance - Throughout history military leaders have gained power by capturing more physical things like land, cities, castles, bridges, and resources than their competitors. Today, winners can achieve dominance by capturing more data, analyzing more data, gaining more insights from data.

Data Has a Shelf Life - The economic value of data diminishes quickly over time.  Understand the current value, and the depreciation timeframes. 

Legacy Complexity is the Enemy of Progress - Legacy complexity acts as poison from the past that will delay innovations and limit future opportunities.

Combinatorial Technologies - Use existing technologies in new and different combinations to achieve results never before possible.  For example the combining of sensors, AI, IoT, analytics, ML, etc, in vehicles can ultimately make them autonomous self-driving cars.  

Blind Spots  -  Limited or restricted visibility reduces your ability to see truth, and recognize patterns and customer behaviors important to your business.  

Speed to Truth - The faster you can find and act on truth, the better.  Automate data capture and analysis to maximize the deliverance of truth.

Speed to Action (STA) - Winners rehearse scenarios, and have game plans for different future scenarios already drawn up.  When the data changes, winners are prepared to act fast.

Patterns in Space - Life happens in space.  Things happen at a particular location, at a certain time, involving particular activities, with particular people and objects that are somehow connected, and these all form patterns that may be critical for your organization to know and react to.  AI can now identify all of these things in ways never before possible.

Utilize Future Time - the deeper into the future that you can gain clear visibility (foresight), the more accurate your planning and decision-making can be.  

Automated Decision-Making - where effective algorithmic decision-making is available, automate as many decisions as possible. Save your skills and decision-making expertise for dynamic and unpredictable environments where humans excel. 

Optimized Information Logistics Systems (OILS) -  Friction in data movement and analysis, because of antiquated business processes, human-in-the-loop approval systems, and legacy technologies, must be removed to support real-time digital interactions. 

Relativistic Competition  - The speed a market or competitor is either moving ahead or falling behind you in competition is important. This must be understood in order to successfully prioritize strategies, investments and resources.

Transformative Energy Units (TEUs) - A unit of energy an organization spends on making changes.  All change takes energy.  Too much change in too short a period of time will exhaust your organization.  Recognize, measure and carefully manage your transformative energy inputs and outputs.

Ax2 - Advantages lead to more advantages - When you have the advantage of being out in front with new innovations, products, processes, business models, strategies and experiences you are able to collect, analyze and act on unique data not available to your competitors.  This advantage is powerful.

Competitive Ecosystems - As digital interactions and business process integration increases among ecosystem participants, competition will shift to which ecosystems offer the most utility, value, and competitive advantages.  Does your organization have an ecosystem strategy?

Preserve Thinking Time - Never has there been a good idea or innovation without thinking.  Reserve thinking time for your team.  Learn how to foster thinking environments.

Help or Hinder (HoH) - What parts of your business are helping or hindering your ability to compete?  Labeling them helps drive action. 

Force Multipliers - Stone Age tools and controlled fire enhanced what was possible for humans to accomplish.  Animals carried heavier loads and travelled longer distance than humans could.  Steam power pulled trains and operated factories.  Internal combustion engines and electricity transformed the entire world and powered it.  Computers and the internet have massively enabled us to collect and share data from around the world, and then to use it to improve our productivity, create new forms of value, and project influence. Artificial intelligence is just another force multiplier that humans have invented to enable us to accomplish much more than was humanly possible without it. Take advantage of it!

Human-Robot Pairing - Which tasks and decisions are best handled by humans, robots, or a combination of humans and robots.

Digital Friendly Business Models - Many companies are still wrestling with legacy business models, processes and compensation plans that prevent, slow-down or limit new digital friendly low cost subscription models available from competitors.  Remedy this as fast as possible!

Digital transformation doctrine (DTD) - An organization’s DTD must be capable of leading them successfully through massive and accelerating changes.  An organization’s DTD should influence all of their strategies, how they operate and the tactics they employ to compete.

Complexity is the New Frontier - Throughout history many opportunities, ideas, innovations and start-ups failed to materialize because the challenges they faced were too complex.  Today, giant leaps forward in computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence are making it possible to enter these complex environments and solve important problems thus opening the floodgates to new sources of value and new possibilities.

Lenses Impact Everything - Recognize just how much lenses and sensors have expanded our world and our knowledge. They have stretched our vision to see across the land, and even beyond our universe.  They have enabled us to zoom in and discover entirely new ecosystems teeming beneath our microscope lenses, while at the same time we must recognize that our environmental and cultural belief lenses can also blind us.

Success is Often Dependent on a Mindset - Faced with a large body of water, one person may see it as an insurmountable obstacle, while another sees it as a way to float and transport oneself to the otherside.  How do you foster and develop productive mindsets in your organization?

Change is Uncomfortable - Recognize that humans fear change, and change will naturally generate resistance.  We are born that way.  Also recognize that rehearsing future scenarios prepares our minds to understand and adjust faster to change.

*I use generative AI to assist in all my work.
Kevin Benedict
Futurist at TCS
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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