This last decade might be bookmarked by the rise and death of Osama bin Laden as a household name. From the 9/11 attacks, leading to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the countless ethical dilemma those created through to his death at the hands of a US Navy SEAL team, it would seem to have created irrevocable changes to how we now live and work.
Earthquake, fire, flood, cyclone and tsunami perhaps have been a more accurate barometer of disruption outside of our control this past decade. Aceh, New Orleans, Pakistan, Haiti, China, Brisbane, Christchurch and Japan all show the economic and social disruption unavoidable due to natural phenomena. Many incidents of a catastrophic nature went largely unreported showing the incredible power of the media to focus our attention.
Informed or Influenced?
Al Gore brought us ‘An Inconvenient Truth‘ during this decade which provided a tipping point in public dialogue focusing on environmental issues. Gore’s film was released after his loss in the US Presidential elections- the first of many results showing the fragility of political mandate. In Australia, the fortunes of Prime Ministers’ Howard, Rudd and Gillard have been shaped by the sway of social media. Organisations like Get Up! demonstrate the demand for a new narrative. Informed or influenced?
Too Big Too Fail
Throughout this time, change and disruption was a constant. The global financial crisis is only one aspect of this. Banking sectors came under intense scrutiny where in the US two stimulus packages to banks seeking relief totalled a sum exceeding all aid ever given to Africa throughout history. Global poverty worsens with indications that the 2015 United Nations Millenium Development Goals will fall short. “Too big to fail”?…
The vast majority of the value created today comes not from applying analytical techniques to choose from among existing options, but from creating options that do not yet exist. I call this the hidden ingenuity. Often this involves incorporating ‘weak signals’ into decision making along with game changing ideas that lead to real winning plays. Following ‘megatrends’ on their own does not lead to success.
I define alchemy as the process of transformational change. Metaphorically, it is about finding your gold, your hidden treasure. The alchemy of innovation is said to occur closest to the customer. I bring together the alchemy of uncommon connections to seize the opportunity presented by change.
Every employee in any organisation should feel that they are contributing to something that will make a genuine and positive difference in the lives of customers and colleagues. For too many employees, the return on ‘emotional equity’ is close to zero. They have nothing to commit to other than the success of their own career.
Consumers are now digital, local, green, busy and mindful. They’re also bored. People want authenticity and interesting experiences. Increasingly through social media and awareness of philanthropic trends, a greater appetite for engagement has arisen. We are now consumers of good works.
Six Key Trends
Six Key Trends indicate the nature of change in our world today:
- Rapidly-increasing global interconnectedness amidst an emerging regionalisation.
- Increasing domination of market forces
- An increasingly chaotic environment, where continuous improvement is not enough. Floods, fire and cyclone, not to mention the GFC, are environmental influences few accurately predicted the consequences.
- Social media creating increased simultaneity and the collapse of time, compounded by the transition from hierarchies to networks and from individuals to teams.
- A widespread yearning for significance, wholeness and meaning, all the while some problems seem unabated or increasing in severity such as global poverty.
- Sustainability will become a key driver for all our investment decisions.
Arguably, we have only just entered the bigger decade of disruption. The years ahead are as unpredictable as they are uncertain.