Looking Ahead Without Falling Behind

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks in the business world. Our current economic climate and everything that’s happening on Wall Street may seem apocalyptic, but remember: this too shall pass.

It almost seems ironic that we’re in the midst of strategic planning season when no one seems quite sure what it is they should be planning for.  The way we see it, you have two options. You can stand still and wait to see what happens, or you can charge ahead with an eye on the future. (Hint: You can’t afford to stand still)

We were inspired this month by a blog post by James Gardner of Bankervision. In The role of innovators in future thinking, Gardner discusses the importance of thinking about (and planning for) the future, and poses an interesting exercise. Think up a seemingly far-fetched future scenario that would impact your business or industry ($500 oil? Carbon taxes?). Play out the implications in two ways: one in which your organization stays the course and ignores this scenario, and one in which you’ve taken it into account throughout your regular planning process. How do you fare in each scenario?

Our advice to you in these oh-so-uncertain times is to keep on planning, keep thinking about the future you’d like to create, and keep on innovating. Remember, Google was started amidst the dot-com bust in the early part of this century. It’s doing okay. You will too. As you begin to plan out your innovation efforts for the year ahead, make sure you step back and take stock of your current efforts (a lot has changed, after all). Our online Innovation Diagnostic is a simple tool that will help you determine where your current efforts fall so you know where to focus in the months and years ahead.

As one of our favorite futurists always says: “Change is uncertain, but stagnation is fatal.” Here’s to the future.

What scenarios are you going to be planning for in 2009?


4 Responses to Looking Ahead Without Falling Behind

  1. jeff says:

    The good thing about a down economy is your financial statements will use less paper and so even if you have lower returns at least you’re helping the environment. I’m predicting I’ll be real green for the rest of 2008 and at least part of 2009.

  2. Matt says:

    ^haha. if only that were the case. i think more companies will waste paper trying to explain away poor performance and bad decisions.

    as far as innovation goes – i thin it will definitely be low on the list of priorities for many companies. innovation takes effort, and requires that one be comfortable taking risks. i don’t think many people are going to make much of an effort if they’re unsure of whether or not they’ll even have a job in a few weeks. for those that do have stability, i think they’re mostly going to try to blend in and keep their heads above water rather than sticking out by taking any sort of risk on innovation.

    maybe i’m being pessimistic, but i don’t have much hope for innovation when it comes to the majority of corporations out there.

  3. Is this image copyright protected, please advise.

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