“The future has already happened, it’s just unequally distributed.” William Gibson
If anyone should know about predicting the future, you’d think it would be acclaimed science fiction writer William Gibson. With innovation being a key differentiator for the modern enterprise it is a skill that is increasingly relevant in our organisations.
The problem is that most organisations aren’t very good at it. The status quo seems to be that a small start-up discovers a new way of doing things that revolutionises the market. They cross the chasm and enter the mainstream, at which point their discovery becomes the market leader.
Evidence suggests though that this same start-up will be incapable of catching the next wave that will engulf their existing product. The executives that grew rich and famous off the back of that initial success are intrinsically linked to that successful product, so much so that they are inevitably tied to the past rather than the future.
This then prevents their organisation from adapting because in most organizations it is they that determines future strategy, and the glow of past glories is far more comforting than the uncertainty of destroying that legacy and building a new one.
A social business powered alternative
Thankfully social business offers organisations a way out of this malaise. For you see social business allows organisations to open up the strategy making process. It allows you to bring employees from across your organisation into deciding where the company should go. It allows
you to bring customers into the mix to share their thoughts on how you can serve them better.
It crucially allows you to bring individuals into the strategy forming process who have a huge stake in the future of your company. They’re the people who want to work for a thriving company and who want to gain promotions from delivering excellent products to market. They’re the customers that want to buy from a company they trust whilst continuing to get the best products on the market.
These are the people that should be setting your future. As Gibson said, the future is already out there providing you have the desire to hunt it down. That requires attention to be paid to nascent technologies, unconventional competitors and unserved customer groups.
Does your organization take strategy out of the boardroom?