Graeme Codrington jokes that futurists don’t predict the future. “They build the capacity to see and understand the meaning and implications of change,” he says. “In fact, we often look to history to help us understand what might happen in the future. It’s an approach that can help companies anticipate future trends and prepare for them.
“We live in times of disruption, so we should expect and anticipate deep change – which isn’t necessarily negative. It just means that the old rules may no longer apply. Beyond COVID-19, more disruptions will come: AI, climate change, driverless cars, Mars colonies… the way we live and work will be transformed.”
To survive, he maintains, businesses leaders should “switch on their radars and build adaptability and resilience into their corporate DNA. Do you have distributed decision-making? Are authority and responsibility closely aligned in your company? Are you responsible, flexible and agile?”
To this end, we must experiment and embrace diversity and difference, according to Graeme. “We need to build different worldviews into our system. To genuinely do so, we have to look beyond what we know and unlearn habits, actions, processes and systems, as well as attitudes and mindsets. Different countries do things in different ways, and some are miles ahead, especially in terms of technology. A case in point is China, which is 10 years ahead of the US in technology adoption.”
“The future will be better, worse and the same. Climate change is our next big crisis, but positives will come from technology and shifts in social values, especially from younger generations who seem to be more empathetic towards other people and the planet. History shows that it is our choices that can lead towards the better and away from the worse. Above all, though, think of others: create businesses that make the world a better place for as many people as possible,” he stresses.
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