Driving the Future of Innovation

With Russia’s war in Ukraine threatening Europe, a global pandemic locking down manufacturing in China, inflation spiking, and a revolution in the workplace happening all at once, decision-makers are being challenged as never before to see what’s next, think ahead of the curve, and avoid being blindsided by accelerating change.

In my Navigating the Future sessions, leaders are introduced to the four mindsets with which we respond to challenge, and create opportunity. To thrive in this period of continuous disruption, leaders must master new tools for driving innovation in the organizations they lead. The post-pandemic world presents a whole new dimension in navigating effectively and wresting positive solutions from crises, acceleration from inertia. It’s all about understanding — and innovating with — the key developments.

A multitude of powerful megatrends — which I call Driving Forces of Change — have the potential to create new winners and sudden losers in their wake. Mega-developments like de-globalization, digitization, climate change, crypto, and the aging of America are just a few of the driving forces of change that now are pulverizing “normality.” And while each driving force has the potential to disrupt, each also has the potential to progress as well.

What organizations need desperately right now are new ways of planning for the future amidst great uncertainty. Needed now are new ways of driving growth through innovation and meeting changing customer demands. To embrace the future, it will be necessary to let go of ideas that no longer are relevant, to unlearn as well as to learn new methods of looking, thinking, and acting ahead of the curve.

Key questions for you and your fellow decision-makers: how do you and your team spot emerging trends or do you wait and see what others are doing about changes? And what process do you use to turn change into opportunity? If you’re not satisfied with your answers to these questions, now may be the time to take action.

In the “Managing the Future” sessions I lead, management teams and/or innovation teams explore consumer, political, technological, economic, regulatory, demographic, lifestyle, and social trends. Using a variation of SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) we bore into the driving forces, mining for gold. And because covid 19 showed us how developments on the periphery can suddenly wreak havoc on our business model, risk mitigation and risk management need to be part of the training.