August 17, 2015

I have been helping large corporations develop new strategy for almost 20 years.  Here are 5 things I have learned:  strategies get overtaken by events so be agile; use megatrends to stretch future-thinking; focus on customers and innovation; dig deep into current business challenges; involve many different teams to create ownership and commitment.

1. Strategies get overtake by events so be agile

Our world is changing faster than you can hold a board meeting, and the days of a 5 year strategy cycle are over in most industries.  That means you need more than one strategy, and strategies need review every year.  Think ahead about contingencies and backup plans that will work across a wide number of possible futures.

Agility in strategy will be a number one survival issue.  Dynamic thinking and rapid decision-making, which means empowering local teams to make many more types of decisions, while retaining the capability to make radical central decisions at the speed of light in response to major global events.

Take the energy industry for example:  in 40 seconds, an earthquake in Japan cracked a nuclear reactor and changed 40 years of energy policy in Japan and Europe with an impact that will be felt across the world for a generation.

2. Use megatrends to stretch future-thinking

The most important single step in developing fresh strategy and vision is to take teams on a journey into the future.  Most business leaders are consumed by day to day pressures of running the business – tactics rather than strategy.

We need to step back and view the whole business in the wider context of global megatrends – long term factors which are changing relatively slowly and which will together dominate our future world.

We need to map out major new market opportunities and challenges in response to these, as well as important technologies, innovations, competitors and regulations.

As we have seen recently in banking, the greatest risk to any business is institutional blindness – leaders all influenced by the corporate past or by old ways of doing things.  We need to open people’s eyes, so they can find fresh vision, challenge and inspiration, which will drive future strategy.

3. Focus on future customers and innovation

The future of every business depends on happy customers, but strategies often focus on numbers, which usually fail to inspire teams.  Focus strategy on your most important customers and how they may change, and you are far more likely to grow a healthy business.

Track future lifestyles, fashions and fads in different markets.  How can we better understand how your customers will think and feel? How can you improve their experience?  What will they most need in future?

What innovations could radically transform their lives?  What other types of future customers could you target? What are you learning from competitors and other types of business?

4. Dig deep into current business challenges

Every company future is different. What are your greatest opportunities and challenges, strengths and weaknesses right now?  The greatest insights are often two levels below group executive team.

Look at past strategies (what actually happened and why).  Are people ready for change?  Look at where most investment and human effort is going right now – map this against future markets and needs, and all the other trends above.

Do you have the right people in place to take the company forward?

5. Involve many different teams to create ownership and commitment

Most strategies and change management programmes fail because senior managers and decision-makers are unconvinced and disengaged.  So involving a wide range of teams in developing new strategy is absolutely critical to success.

Bring them into the big picture, excite them about the future with your focus on customers. Show them how your company can really make the difference.   Consult teams about the detail of what is being proposed.  Broadcast great ideas and honor teams for their contribution.

And then you can track each team’s progress far more easily, in implementing their own part of the group strategy, with commitment and enthusiasm.

For more: read my new book The Future of Almost Everything - http://tinyurl.com/o296kqa .

 “Absolutely brilliant.  I love this man’s exhilarating thinking and writing.  Here are fast far-sighted insights into the tangible and intangible horizons of future change, underpinned by wisdom about its ultimate driving force – human nature.”  Nigel Nicholson, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, London Business School

August 09, 2015

5 reasons why the message of The Future of Almost Everything really matters to the success of every business

The Future of Almost Everything, my latest book, is packed full of key survival and success factors for every business, whether you work for one of the world's largest corporations, or a small, family-owned enterprise.  


This forecast of the future will transform how you think about tomorrow, and guide vital decisions you need to take today, in 5 key areas.

1. STRONGER LEADERSHIP

All leadership is based on vision, which means you need to see further ahead, to inspire people with a big picture of a better future.  The stronger and more compelling your vision is, the stronger your leadership will be.

This book will open your eyes, take you over the horizon and prepare you for radical changes in a rapidly evolving world, where faster responses will be needed than ever before.

You will be less surprised by tomorrow’s headlines, and find it easier to talk confidently about your plans, in the context of how the world as a whole is changing.

2. GROWTH OPPORTUNITY

In every change or trend there is usually huge opportunity for someone, somewhere who is in the right place, at the right time, with the right business – and it could be you.

This book identifies the most important growth areas in every industry and is the ultimate guide for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.  At the same time this book will help you manage future risks.

This book will trigger fresh insights in your own mind, about your own business: new directions, new initiatives, new markets.

3. CUSTOMER INSIGHT

Companies spend billions every year on market research, but customer surveys can’t tell you the future, because customers can’t see the future and don’t understand how their own choices may change.  As a result, many businesses are serving yesterday’s customers with last-century products or services, and will not survive.

This book describes hundreds of ways in which customers are evolving: their hopes, dreams, lifestyle choices, families, working patterns, homes, health care needs and leisure patterns.

Take a giant leap into your customers’ future.  Listen to your customers, learn from them, sort out their problems today – and then use this book to help imagine what decisions they are most likely to make in years to come.

4. SMARTER STRATEGY

You may think you have the best strategy in the world and the best run organisation, but if the world changes in ways you don’t expect, you are likely to keep travelling even faster in the wrong direction.  

This book contains the keys to future success in every industry.  Build your future strategy on megatrends that are likely to drive growth in demand in relatively predictable ways for the next decade and far beyond.

Drive your change management programmes in the right direction to get your business fit for the future.

5. FASTER INNOVATION

The best way to develop world-class products rapidly is to use next-generation technologies and processes to meet tomorrow’s most important customer needs, hopes and desires.  

This book describes hundreds of new products, processes and technologies, which will change all our lives.  Discover how the world’s greatest challenges will be solved, what your competitors are likely to invest in, and how life will be improved for over 11 billion people as a result.

Read about the greatest innovations that will transform life on earth, and how new kinds of markets will develop as a result.


August 08, 2015

Just 20 days to launch of my latest book "The Future of Almost Everything" - order now




Here is a review just in:

“You don’t need a crystal ball to see into the future – you just need to read Patrick Dixon’s latest book, which covers all the major trends that are likely to affect your business, and quite a few others as well.   This book is the best single source out there for understanding how the business world is changing today.” 

Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, and Director of the Deloitte Institute, London Business School