“The only constant is change” Heraclitus
Massive change ahead!
“Mankind will change more in the next 20 years than in the last 300” Gerd Leonhard
In 2050, the world will be different from today, radically different.
The pace of change keeps accelerating and the tipping point of many long time events are approaching (oil peak, climate change crisis).
Technological disruption continues to shake and change our world on an exponential scale, this is impacting every industry, every company, every people. For the 1st time in mankind history we are facing several major technological revolutions happening in parallel at the same time! Internet of things, virtual and augmented realities, blockchain, 3D printing, robotics, nano technologies, biotechnologies (genetics, synthetic biologies) and of course as a new fuel to accelerate all of these : artificial intelligence.
World became phygital, physical and digital universes have merged and the distinction is increasingly harder to make.
The world is already totally thorn appart after 20 years of digital revolution that changed absolutely everything in our lives, in the business sector, in our relation to the world, to others, in the way information is shared, opinions are created.
50 years ago, in 1970, Alvin Toffler published its best seller book “The Future Shock”, in which he announced a new type of industry (High tech and digital) as well as a massive scale change happening super rapidly.
In his book, he explained that the major challenge for mankind in the future (that starts in 2020 according to his book’s title) would be to adapt to changes that are fast, global, with massive impact and the mental stress caused by it.
We could say that after 2 years, we are not disappointed: droughts, fires and floods all around the word, a global pandemic, a supply chain crisis, a war in Europe science fiction is now running behind reality.
Crisis seems to follow one after the other without a break, even more! It seems they are overlapping, one starting before the previous one is really finished.
Crisis are also amazing opportunities for change, they are wonderful leverages to accelerate it for people, organisations, institutions.
Change is friction
“Change means movement, movements means friction” Saul Alinsky
Do you want to know more about frictions?
The world definitely turned VUCA and this became a permanent state.
So many parameters changing and influencing one and another that output are increasingly complicated to predict.
Exponential forces are opposing each others like : technology and environment.
Permanent VUCA state
The term VUCA is coined for a long time now (1987), but clearly there is an acceleration, generalisation and the VUCA state seems now permanent.
A VUCA world changes everything in term of strategic planning and preparation.
In a not so distant past, we were considering evolution like trajectories, identify the trends, take the past, project it on the trends directions and you have your future.
Strategies were made exactly like that (projections for the next 3 to 5 years as a continuation of the last years). Yes some uncertainties may occur, but this was rare and unusual, we could easily put that in the exception column and act without considering it (let’s take an insurance in case of).
Today, black swans and wild cards are the new norm, it is not a question of if, but when.
“Everybody has a plan until he gets punched in the face” Mike Tyson
Anticipation can turn crisis into opportunities
Resilience is now a key asset to develop for companies because
“Resilience is the new innovation” Raphael Thys
What’s to come? What are the next shocks? Crisis? Will it be economic? sanitary? technologic? social? politic? environmental?
How to expect the unexpected?
Expect the unexpected?
One of the major reason why such an acceleration, as well as the multiplication of impacting parameters and an increased inter relation between them is the exponential nature of the changing elements :
- Population growth
- Economic activity growth
- Technology growth
- Environmental response of human activity
Source : Gear Leonhard
These different paces of changes creates distortions between dimensions and members of a same dimension, individuals for instance have a wide spectrum of pace of adaption, creating also some additional frictions