Scenarios and directional trending

One of the aspects of CI that constantly surprises me is the schism between future-based scenario CI and tactical sales-focused CI.

I’ve long been a fan of the latter – utilising information gathered to help businesses stay in business and win more today than they did yesterday.  I’m also a keen reader of futurists such as David Brin, Eric Garland & Frank Spencer, who help strip away market noise and elevate the underlying trends that will impact business/consumerism/life.

With the untimely passing of Steve Jobs, it’s given me some pause as to what’s more impactful:

  • Picking the right set of future scenarios and business/consumer trends to accelerate growth and stay relevent.
  • Actively competing “today”. Building customer share and a revenue base to accomplish the same goals as above.

Having the luxury to go after the first point relies heavily on a clear vision and a “big-bet” on that future scenario. In a similar light, building a successful business as outlined in the second point can provide cash and time to decide how to approach new market challenges.

Obviously, having a combination of both is vital in creating long-term competitive advantage. The trick is not taking the foot off the sales accelerator as senior management outline these futures to customers. This is compounded by the risk of choosing the “wrong” future.

With that in mind, I’ve linked a few videos below that highlight what a number of different technology companies see in their future. It’s a great source of leveling information. Pulling out the fundamental trends that are central to all of them, namely:

  • Data sharing
  • Constant connection
  • Continual blurring of work/life
  • Privacy
  • Devices and interaction

Lots of positive reinforcement, but read between the lines and there’s room to question what aspects of these “futures” are going to create competitive advantage vs just being noise or at worse – harmful to your customers experience with your product or brand (see the last video)!


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