We know that anticipating is a key element of strategic thinking. While leaders often rely on traditional sources of predicting the future, such as forecasting trends and sensitivity analyses, they do not necessarily account for the major shifts, surprises and changes that happen in our given dynamic environments. To truly prepare for the future, organizations need to supplement their traditional methods with some non-traditional ones as well, such as scenario planning or peripheral vision.
Consider this recent article, “Weird But True! Netflix, Skype, Kindle Predicted in 1965.” Here author Paul Joseph Watson brings to light a 1965 edition of the British comic book Eagle that accurately predicted the rise of the Internet and Internet-based services such as Skype, Netflix, Kindle and Google well before the world wide web was publicly available. Beyond being an interesting story, what can we learn about planning for the future from this example? It turns out, a lot. It demonstrates that leaders should:
Similarly, leaders often overlook the young talent they have in their own organizations. They should strive to be disciplined in incorporating different generations in their decision-making and innovation. Involving youth in planning and ideation efforts can often lead to fresh and different perspectives necessary for a fast-changing world.
How do you approach thinking about the future and planning? Are you relying solely on traditional tools and methods? If so, take a page out of this comic book and take your strategic planning a step further by stretching your perspectives. Through such disciplined thinking, you may move in a direction sooner than anyone else, see opportunities you did not realize existed or prepare for a threat earlier to better minimize risk. Keep the above lessons in mind as you plan for the future, and perhaps someday you’ll turn an idea into reality that was once thought to be only fantasy.