There are two types of change that you can use to see the future accurately. First is cyclical change. You’re in the midst of cyclical change every day: weather cycles, biological cycles, business cycles … these are all examples of cyclical change. In the United States, you know exactly when the next presidential election will be, when the next full moon will be, plus many other key things that cycle with time. You know that if the stock market goes up, it will eventually go down. Cycles are everywhere; you just have to be aware of them.
The second is linear change. Once this type of change hits, you’re never going back to the old way. For example, once you get a smart phone you’re never going back to a dumb phone. Once the people in China park their bicycle and get a car, they will not go back to the bicycle as their primary form of transportation. It’s one-way change with many predictable consequences.
When you look around and determine what cycles you experience in your business, as well as what linear changes have been happening and then look out from there, you can turn the predictable changes into an advantage. That’s how you can be anticipatory and turn much of today’s uncertainty into certainty.
Certainties fall into two categories: Hard Trends and Soft Trends. A Hard Trend is a projection based on measurable, tangible, and fully predictable facts. A Soft Trend is a trend that “might” happen. That means you can change or influence a Soft Trend. For example, saying that Baby Boomers will age is a Hard Trend—it will happen; it’s a future fact. But saying because over the past ten years fewer people have been becoming doctors means there won’t be enough doctors to treat aging Baby Boomers is a Soft Trend—it’s something we can choose to address or ignore; it’s a future maybe. Being the able to tell the difference between the two will enable your organization to transform its culture into one that profits from change, uncertainty, and burgeoning trends.
Original post was made by Daniel Burrus on linkedin.
DANIEL BURRUS is considered one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and innovation experts, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous untapped opportunities. He is the author of six books including The New York Times best seller Flash Foresight.