We base our work on some fundamental insights.

The future is co-created

The future doesn’t just happen to us. Instead, it is very much a consequence of our past collective insights, actions, decisions, and learnings. Of course, Black Swans are well known to occur, and we cannot predict the future, but knowing that we always have co-created and shaped a large part of our future means that we shouldn’t take on the role of the passive victim, but rather that of the proactive co-creator. This however also means taking responsibility and investing time and resources into the future we want already today. And, being able to envision that future, and sharing that vision with others.

 The world is experiencing accelerating change

Several key indicators show that the world, since the 1950ies, is experiencing accelerating change. Absolute GDP, population size and many other key indicators show the same thing. We even walk faster in big cities today than we used to some decades back. Some are even talking about a period of exponential growth and mean that change will actually never be this slow again. No matter what, we will need to get used to the increased pace of change in our society, and continuously renew ourselves and our organizations in order to adapt to it.

Companies age and move faster through their lifecycles than ever before

Research shows that companies, like living organisms, seem to have a lifecycle. They are born, they grow, mature, age and finally die. Research also shows that companies today seem to be going through their lifecycles faster than ever before. Why? Increased complexity, technological development and the general pace of change seem to have forced organizations to move faster – reaching their peak earlier and becoming irrelevant and outdated faster than ever before as new technologies and competitors replace their solutions with something better and more relevant.

Today’s success makes you blind

Nothing lasts forever. Even a very successful company will become irrelevant if it doesn’t continually challenge and renew itself. Think Kodak, Nokia… and more. What researchers call the “success syndrome” shows that being successful today may be the biggest hinder for future success, meaning that when you are successful you don’t have a compelling reason to change what you already do so well. Till it is too late…

A proactive and outside-in perspective helps you stay relevant

There is strong evidence that understanding what is happening in the world, and being proactive about it, will help you act on the changes in your environment in time. An environment developing faster than what your organization is able to keep up with means trouble. Hence, a proactive market orientation with an outside-in perspective is more likely to help your organization survive and thrive in the long run than an inside-out perspective.  The trick is to stay open to – and act on – ongoing change. Proactively.

Consumer-driven innovation is key to ongoing renewal

There is strong evidence that in order to stay in business, an organization needs to continue to add value to its customers, consumers, and ecosystem as those evolve and change over time. Here, customer and/or consumer centricity and innovation are a key renewal tool for organizations – from business model innovation to customer/consumer experience innovation, product and services innovation. But also innovation in relation to strategy, management systems, people, competencies, structures, processes, and rewards. Remember however that complexity kills. Simplifying things makes all the difference.

A dual organization helps you play your cards right in multiple horizons

Exploring new business opportunities is fundamentally different compared to optimizing a mature business. There is a need for different tools and competencies as well as different structures and ways of doing things for new businesses to hatch and prosper, especially if it is in the shadow of a mature and protective mother. There is however also strong evidence that today’s and tomorrows senior leaders will need to master both exploitations of their current business AND exploration of new business opportunities – in parallel – to help their organizations survive in the long run. In parallel, the challenge is to keep things simple.

Increased focus on sustainability is critical going forward

Sustainability is one of the most prominent megatrends in our society and something that no company can afford to ignore. Sustainable development is one that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The SDG’s and Agenda 2030 help guide us in our work.

There are many great tools available to help you on your quest

Some of the worlds greatest thinkers behind Strategic Thinking, Market Orientation, Customer Centricity, Design Thinking, Business Model Innovation, Value Proposition Design, and the Lean Start-Up movement provide great tools to navigate into a future unknown and to rapidly explore and test future opportunities with reduced risk. We know the tools and can help you and your team apply the methods.

A growth mindset is key

A growth mindset is key, and people are ultimately what make things happen. Having a growth mindset means believing in continuous learning, embracing change and challenges, to be persistent in the face of setbacks and seeing the effort as the path to mastery. Also, it means realizing that learning is lifelong and never ends.

You will need to involve your team

Business is not a one man or woman show. A team involved and engaged in renewing your organization is more likely to embrace the outcome of the project, compared to when a solution is enforced top-down, or by an outside consultancy. Co-creation workshops, for instance, unleashes tremendous amounts of creativity and energy and can bring out the best of people with the right leadership, guidance, and facilitation.

The world is a place of infinite possibilities but limited resources

Even in times of turbulence and accelerating change the world presents infinite possibilities to be identified and unlocked. The challenge is to manage limited resources and find time for ideation, experiments, learning, reflection, and strategic thinking and to focus on what matters most, in parallel to get people involved, engaged and on board to successfully accomplish the envisioned transformation. Everything to contribute to building a better future.

It starts with you…

There is strong evidence that a successful change and transformation of an organization start with you as a leader. And as a leader, you will need to upgrade your competencies and behaviors to cope with an environment and organization in accelerating change. And to be clear on your overall vision. You will also need to help your organization reduce complexity and simplify things. A change means hard work – every day – and real change only happens outside of your comfort zone. Hence, as a leader, you will need to dedicate time to develop yourself, not only your team, on an ongoing basis.

… but a dynamic system is needed to survive!

Finally, experience and research show that culture really does eat strategy for breakfast. “The way we act and do things around here” often suffocate any attempts to change status quo. The dynamic system needed to survive in a rapidly changing world is however far more than a culture. It spans from mission, vision, and strategy, to leadership, people, competencies, culture, organizational structure, processes and reward systems – all the way down to dealing with everyday situations on all levels of the company.

The insights above have been developed even further in the book Navigera in i framtiden (eng. Navigate into the future), by Elisabet Lagerstedt, published in Swedish in March 2018.

Want to learn more? Contact Elisabet Lagerstedt for references and more information at elisabet.lagerstedt@inquentia.com or +46702677287.