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Forget Lean and Agile – It’s Time to be Anticipatory


Business Vision

Here is a brief excerpt from an article by Daniel Burrus for LinkedIn Pulse. To read the complete article and check out others, please click here.

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We are all good at reacting and responding, putting out fires, and crisis management. In addition, organizations large and small have learned how to be lean and agile, and how to best execute a strategy at a high level.

However, despite these skills, General Motors still declared bankruptcy, Blockbuster closed its last store, and Blackberry quickly moved from leading to bleeding. And let’s not forget Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Dell, and a host of other companies who failed to thrive despite its leaders and workers being constantly busy.

To thrive in this new age of hyper-change and growing uncertainty, it is now an imperative to learn a new competency—how to accurately anticipate the future.

That may seem impossible, but it’s not. The future is there for you to see when you know where and how to look for it. And when you and your employees master this skill, you’ll be able to create what I call an “anticipatory organization.”

Based on three decades of research and applying the principles I’ve developed to organizations worldwide, I have developed a way of separating what I call Hard Trends from Soft Trends. Over the years I’ve written about this extensively in books and articles.

A Hard Trend is a projection based on measurable, tangible, and fully predictable facts, events, or objects. It’s something that will happen: a future fact that cannot be changed. In contrast, a Soft Trend is a projection based on statistics that have the appearance of being tangible, fully predictable facts. It’s something that might happen: a future maybe. Soft Trends can be changed, which means they provide a powerful vehicle to influence the future and can be capitalized on.

This distinction completely changes how individuals and organizations view and plan for the future. Understanding the difference between Hard and Soft Trends allows us to know which parts of the future we can be right about. When you learn how to analyze trends in this way, you can accurately predict future disruptions, identify and solve problems before they happen, and practice what I call “everyday innovation.” This enables you to solve challenges and problems faster and see opportunities that were impossible just a few years before. In other words, you become anticipatory rather than reactionary.

Employees of an anticipatory organization understand that those who can see the future most accurately will have the biggest advantage. They know that you cannot change the past, but you can shape the future based on the actions you take in the present. As such, they actively embrace the fact that many future disruptions, problems, and game-changing opportunities are predictable and represent unprecedented ways to gain advantage. They know that it’s better to solve predictable problems before they happen, and that future problems often represent the biggest opportunities. Above all else, they are confident and empowered by having a shared view of the future based on Hard Trends and what I call the “science of certainty.”

Copyright ©2014 Burrus Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and innovation experts, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous untapped opportunities. He is the author of six books including The New York Times bestseller Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible.

Please click here

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to check out my review of Flash Foresight.

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