Why mid-sized firms must think years ahead

| May 12, 2018

When we have a clear view of the future, it is much easier to make decisions, to anticipate market changes and, most of all, to respond, so that we can best capitalise on the next big thing.

One of the challenges that many of us have is the reluctance to embrace change. When we know change is coming however, it’s much easier to get on board.

Option one is to wait until the inevitable changes are happening and tell the organisation that we have to change immediately as new competitors have entered the market.  This is likely to result in fear and resistance.

Option two is to think like a futurist and anticipate changes beforehand and brief the organisation well ahead of time so they can begin preparations.

Here’s the squeeze — start-ups are fast at creating a new innovative product and service. Whilst they might lack distribution, they make up for it in ingenuity and being forward thinking. They’ve picked up on a future trend and disruption and seized it.

Large sized organisations, whilst slower to manoeuvre have capital to spend which can mean buying out the forward-thinking start-ups or they invest in forecast futurist thinking to see where to invest next. Good corporate examples are Coca-Cola Amatil and Qantas who both use futurists to see what’s next.

If a mid-sized firm is not thinking about the future, they will get squeezed out by other two. As such, here are some of the consequences of not thinking into the future:

Ailing products & services: When our services or products are no longer captivating the market, we need to innovate or face the prospect of less market share and less profit.

Declining sales: Declining sales and increased staff attrition as smart employees head elsewhere to apply their thinking on more exciting projects and developing opportunities.

Start-ups taking market share: The longer we wait to innovate the more the small start-ups and SME’s are taking more market share and creating more attractive service offerings, pushing mid-sized firms out.

Lack of differentiation: Let’s be honest, how different are you to your key competitors? If you have a really compelling story to say why you’re so different then chances are you’re way ahead of your market. If you’re not, it means your competitor is more likely to compete on price.

Lagging the market: What worked yesterday is no longer what works today. With an ever-increasing savvy market, what was ‘leading edge’ 5 years ago is ‘trailing edge’ today.

Losing market share: This workshop enables your team to think like a futurist and come up with commercial insights. You’ll identify emerging trends and create new ideas to capitalise on new emerging markets.

Alternatively, when we have a sound future focus to our business we create fresh insights that lead to break-through ideas and profitable innovation engine happening in our organisation.

We become an industry leader, we stand out ‘heads and shoulders’ above our competitors and we secure our future by attracting potential customers through our continuing development of profit generating new product and service offerings.

Being able to spot the invisible insights and possible innovations that our competition is yet to capitalise on can lead to an ROI that includes an increased number of commercial insights and an improvement in the quantity and quality of ideas and problems solved.

Thinking ahead allows product and service improvements through piloting and prototyping to reduce risk and increase success.  This faster innovation pipeline, from conception through to execution should increase market share and differentiation, improving long term prospects of continued success.

Thinking years ahead isn’t a luxury, it’s something you simply can’t afford to miss!

Nils is hosting masterclasses on maximising results from the ‘Next Big Thing‘ throughout May and June. The events help industry leaders recognise disruptive trends ahead of the curve and feature some of Australia’s leading thought leaders, speakers, innovation consultants and CX strategists.

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Nils Vesk

Nils Vesk is an innovation architect who has delivered programs for some of the most prestigious organisations in the world, including Microsoft, IBM, Commonwealth Bank and Nestle. Nils will be hosting ‘The Next Big Thing’ Masterclasses throughout May and June 2018.