Recently a number of people have commented to me that it’s impossible to predict the future. So on that basis they feel there’s little point developing strategies based on long-term time horizons. It’s better to just plan for the short-term as it’s far more certain.

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This seems logical. Which is where they’re going wrong...

What’s particularly concerning are that these comments were made by smart, wise people. From company directors to global strategy consultancies. Whose thinking and decisions have an impact on all of us, as they’re involved in defining strategy at a far-reaching society level.

Too often we fall into the trap of thinking logic and reason are the only way to make decisions. However visionaries and innovators also flex into a different mindset. One founded in creativity – with an ability to imagine and dream what might be.

If you want to develop a business strategy based on certainty, then logic is all you’ll need. However you’ll be limiting your future to one of predictable commoditisation, as whatever you know to be true your competitors most likely will also be well aware of.

So go a step further. Not into the haze of the complete unknown but into the likely future that exists all around you in the present. To see it, all you have to do is shift your perspective. Instead of looking for what you know to be true, look for the signals of the future you’ve been overlooking.

For example do you start your workday looking at your inbox? If you’ve ever tried reaching a teenager by email, you know that the inbox isn’t the centre of their digital lives. Just as workplace communications shifted away from memos and faxes, you can confidently predict another shift is well underway.

So when setting your strategy don’t fall into the trap of relying solely on what makes logical sense. Also apply creativity to look further ahead.

But remember, don’t just dream about the future... start creating it.

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