You don’t need to predict the future, build it by following these tips

10 min read

The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.

“The future is talking to us and requires us to be a better version, because the version that we are today is no longer enough,” says Jon Black , CEO of Blackbot , a company dedicated to futures design. This by presenting the actions of the past that brought us to experience this coronavirus crisis and a vision of how business models will change in the coming decades.

You don’t need to predict the future, build it by following these tips
You don’t need to predict the future, build it by following these tips

During his online class, “Looking to the future to solve the present” , as part of the HomeSchool program, organized by IEBS and the ial Institute , Jon is blunt in pointing out that the crisis that we are facing today as humanity by Covid-19 We deserve it for not understanding what we needed and ignoring signs that were given to us for decades. ”

And it is explained with an analogy. “In Formula 1 races there is always a driver who is the leader, others who are halfway down the track, and some more who are lagging behind; But whenever there is an accident, a yellow flag is unleashed warning everyone to slow down and be alert to prevent a crash. In this case, the first shock was the virus that was unleashed in China since December. We didn't see the signs on the track and we didn't want to see the yellow signs. ”

How did we get to have a coronavirus crisis?

In 1995 the internet came into our lives, and in the middle of 2020 many companies are just talking about digital transformation and want to do in three months, everything they did not want to do for 20 years.

“We were engaged in our addictive arrogance of traditional business thinking that we didn't see the signals coming from analysts and business leaders, that they were clear and we just decided to ignore them. We believed in the human race, kings of the world, we thought only of profit, we played at being gods and this has us on our knees an entity that we cannot even see ”, explains Jon.

To better exemplify how we have ignored the signs, Jon explains that what happened just yesterday with the drop in the price of oil to less than $ 1, was caused by not paying attention to what different specialists warned for decades: sustaining the economy in oil. it was not viable.

“We need to change. The companies that are losing today is not because of the Covid-19, but because they did not pay attention to the signals, ”he reiterates and puts as another example the fall in Alsea's shares on the Mexican Stock Exchange, after learning that it gave him their employees the option of going home for 1 month without pay or having to work even if they were at risk. “Today people are looking at companies that are acting with economic interests and those that are thinking about everyone,” he warns.

The positive of this crisis is precisely that people are talking about the need to change business thinking.

What will happen in the next years with the coronavirus?

Everyone wonders: What will happen to the coronavirus issue in the coming years? According to forecasts made by Think ING, this is one of the scenarios expected and that will last three years.

  1. In summer we are going to take to the streets, not with the virus eradicated, but simply flattening the curve .
  2. The economy in Latin America is going to drop to 50% of GDP. Millions of people are going to be unemployed, each city will have to manage its own crisis.
  3. In October and November we are going to have to reactivate the economy. For months or years we will not be able to take away the social distance. In December a peak of the virus will rise again, if there are no mutations it will be controlled.
  4. In 2021 we will start with great hope, economies entering rhythm and a new thinking of innovation.
  5. It will have changed forever : the economy of the countries, it will be understood what technology means in productivity, the human-human interaction will be reconfigured, it will be understood what it means to think about people, the planet and embrace innovation.

Jon is optimistic about what will come in the post-coronavirus world because he assures that as it happened in 1400 with the black plague when almost a third of humanity died, came after the Renaissance .

“I think that at this moment of humanity we should stop thinking about deja vu, but about vuja de , which refers to when you first face something and feel that newness. An opportunity to do things, “he explains.

What kind of company should I be during this crisis?

If you were from the company that only invested in technology and not in people, you did it wrong. The process you should have followed was:

  1. Make culture change. The genetic change the company required to prepare
  2. Have an innovation hypothesis. Identify that something is not working and how it can be solved.
  3. Lean on technology . Tools you need

The expert in scenarios of the future explains that there are three types of companies:

  1. Innovative. They act responsive to economic, political and social needs.
  2. Reactive. They don't risk, they just see the big winner and they copy and adapt.
  3. Obsolete. They wage price wars, they compete with things that everyone has already done. They no longer adapt it, they just copy it.

Where is your company standing? Because in the world 6 out of 10 companies do not invest in training to enter the technology curve. And while people are trying to adapt digital changes to their lives, companies are lagging behind and governments don't understand what a data-driven business means.

Apply the futures cone

Jon recommends applying this theory to your company. What does it consist of?

  1. The present. Manage the present
  2. The immediate future. Strategic planning
  3. The future future. Prospective to 10 years.

Jon's recommendation is to have a very efficient person making day-to-day decisions, managing the present, but hiring a person to dedicate himself to knowing the future: the trends, inventions, startups that are looking towards 10, 20 or 30 years forward.

“The ecosystem of trends exists, what you need is to create a radar to identify them and bring them to the present to see how we want the world to be,” he says. People who make designs for the future believe that everything can change simply by being alert to trends.

What future will my business have?

To understand the future what's next for your business. Jon explains that the magic question is: what company could take me out of the market? And the answer is a company that surely is not in your business segment today.

And he gives as an example to the Marriot hotels that today are making a strong cut to face the crisis, but that their biggest threat today is Spotify, a data-based company that has control of everything, better known as Super Apps.

With the data it has, Spotify, an innocent music service, tomorrow it can become a ticket salesman, labels, new venues (places where you listen to your band) and they can be the new hotel (if you go from city to city to festivals and you stay the same hotel that the bands stay) and they can be a merch, they can give audio classes, audio content generator, they can give you credit, create experiences, even your own currency.

Today Spotify is a social, entertainment, transactional and data driven company. How many of these dimensions does your company have?

The world is going to change. We are going to have a new rule of normality. The future of innovation will never wait for those who are late. The world requires new companies, leaders, entrepreneurs who open up the dynamism of the times, who find hypotheses.

How do I build a better future?

Jon warns that we need to stop the capital chain that we have created, because in the next 10 or 15 years we are going to experience the consequences of climate change and the destruction we have done to the planet.

“Your goal today should not be to predict, but to build what follows,” he says. And it proposes that your company have the following topics on its agenda:

  1. Education. PlayBook of the immediate future. You need to be a human who is in step with the speed of the world.
  2. Purpose. You must start your company with the purpose, for this you can read Simon Sineck.
  3. Innovation Culture. Educate your staff to understand technological curves.
  4. Technological security. Create protocols and support policy for people who use the internet.
  5. Remote team. You already saw that technology does work.
  6. Experience design. The new P's for your company (We will explain them later).
  7. Futures design. Project 10 years or more.
  8. Planet in the center. We need to return the resources we take from the planet.
  9. Human in the center.
  10. New economy. Check where the cryptocurrencies are going.

Businesses today need to create digital culture, be data companies to make decisions, and understand the economics of platforms like Spotify.

The new P's for your company

Jon proposes a new business experience that includes the 9 P's:

  1. Purpose
  2. Planet
  3. Person
  4. Value proposal
  5. Prospective
  6. Perform
  7. Power
  8. Platform
  9. Pulchrum (beauty)

These are ideological platforms that they have created in Blackbot to find the balance between businesses that grow at rates of innovation and care for the planet.

The future is speaking to us and requires us to be a better version, because the version that we are today is no longer enough, concludes Jon Black.

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