When we learn about management we find the term of business operating environments. These are coherent, self-supporting system with predictable logic ecosystems. And because it is so convenient many entrepreneurs took this approach without realising there’s anything outside the “ecosystem”. And as you know me and infuture.fashion we do not agree with that. The natural world isn’t like that. The ecosystems are full of different resources and in endless evolution. And what’s even more important a natural ecosystem is anything but self-contained.
Big disruptions typically come from outside the existing ecosystem. The intrusion of some kind of factor that the developed system does not account for—a new predator in case of natural environment or change for businesses because of world pandemics. One factor can alter everything. The future is tricky.
Let me talk about even more by using an example that everyone will understand – newspapers.
The Internet become a consumer technology more than 25 years ago. It was a change that to people outside the world of IT seemed to happen amazingly fast and was unexpected to some point.
A generation later newspapers are still dealing with the shock, trying to find new ways to exist. Internet make big damage to their old ecosystem. Many people have lost their jobs. And the number of readers is still decreasing, while more invasive species have filled in gaps in the ecosystem and thrive.
Here’s the thing: the threat to newspapers from the blossoming Internet was immediately perceived years before it actually make the point. What happened next can be described as a failure of imagination.
As we work with all kinds of clients, oftentimes we see a misconception, scenario planning is mistaken for the superpower of being able to see around corners. This is magical thinking.
infuture.fashion consultants would be the first to say that the scenario’s power is in the way it makes organizations alert to change and ready to embrace its opportunities and manage risks.
Now we see that many companies want to implement Big Data to scenario planning. The problem is that data is backwards-looking. But let’s think about it, how useful would predictive learning have been for a newspaper chain in 1990? The danger in such an approach is false confidence. Big Data seems to be more logical, coherent, proven than traditional scenario planning. And of course, we also try to include the data in our work but we rather mix different types of research than trust one method.
What we should be happy about? There are ways to alert and ready a business for future changes. Yes, ecosystems change. All the time. And they cannot be somehow perfected to a successful steady-state. And time and again the greatest disruption to an environment comes from some direction outside the system. But this is the reason why when we build scenarios with our clients, they are bigger than what the client and trends see.
Plus, think about customer pull. Future customers will live in a context different from the one they inhabit now. But don’t worry we can explore multiple ways they might play out, interact, and shop.
Life, Death or Adaptation
History has seen great companies imaginatively constrained by their stubborn roots in the old ecosystem. A weak understanding of changes brought them from great to average, from big to small or even bankrupt.
The moral is that you can’t be locked into one ecosystem. The world is bigger than that. But the first thing that expands the world must be imagined.
Let’s explore what disruption of the “ecosystem” your business can create. Leave an email. Our consultant will reach out to you to arrange a call at a time that suits you best.