Last Thursday I attended a trend briefing from The Future Laboratory thanks to being a subscriber to their essential LS:N Global service. This concentrated afternoon session was centered around the concept of the "Age of the Long Near". It focused on three key areas:
- Whole-system Thinking
- The Optimized Self
- The Immortal Brand
It's not the purpose of this blog to go into detail on the topics (although I'm happy to sit down and talk about them if you have a moment) beyond a couple of very lasting thoughts which emerged out of the 'toolkit' (more of that later);
- Build for purpose not for short term
- Think beta, not finished
- Plan for re-invention, not just change
- Target mindsets, not demographics
It's no surprise that these all fitted the overarching narrative of the day - that of the long term - critically it all boiled down to the essential requirement to take a step back from the day-to-day and to think beyond the immediate horizon. That's challenging in any organisation / enterprise but it has to be done. Blaming a lack of resources for a behavior that is potentially not income generating and is somewhere over the horizon is a poor excuse and I would argue that just the mere act of thinking beyond the here-and-now helps elevate performance NOW. It's also incredibly difficult to deliver the right things today without a strong sense of vision about the future.
Here the Future Laboratory help keep some focus - as lofty as some of their insights are they structure each major one into DRIVERS > IMPACTS > CONSEQUENCES > FUTURES and, most importantly, finish with that 'toolkit'. Apply the toolkit to your business and thinking and you are half way there.
Of course there is a wider force at play that these insight sessions deliver. They get you thinking. External stimulation is critical to deliver that spark of creativity - it is brain food pure and simple.