Future Insight: Changing the World with an Anticipatory Mindset

We are at a unique point in human history, marked by accelerating global change and enhanced by technological advances. We are always doing the impossible. Agile organizations learned how to change rapidly, but with change accelerating, we must go beyond agility and learn to anticipate disruptive problems before they happen.

We are at a unique point in human history, marked by accelerating global change and enhanced by technological advances. We are always doing the impossible. Agile organizations learned how to change rapidly, but with change accelerating, we must go beyond agility and learn to anticipate disruptive problems before they happen.

A New Incentive

With over 500 known cycles that repeat, such as biological cycles, celestial cycles and business cycles, and predictable linear changes, such as the retirement of aging Baby Boomers, there is a way to anticipate many of the problems we will have and pre-solve them before they happen. The good news is that there is a growing global supply of young, anticipatory minds paying attention to the Hard Trends with an interest in changing the world, now with a new incentive for them to anticipate ways to shape the future positively.

In celebrating its 350th anniversary in 2018, Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, pioneered the Future Insight Prize to stimulate groundbreaking science and innovative technologies for the benefit of humanity. With a targeted 1,000,000-euro grant, the inaugural Future Insight Prize winner of 2019 will be announced in July, marking the first of many prize winners over the next 35 years that both stimulate and honor achievements in science and technology key for humanity, namely health, nutrition and energy.

The Pandemic Protector

The 2019 prize will be allocated in the field of pandemic preparedness, for work in anticipating a later realization of the visionary dream product coined as the “Pandemic Protector.” This breakthrough product begins with a clinical sample of a person infected with an unknown pathogen and produces an agent for cure or to prevent infection of others within a short, clinically relevant time frame. Researchers and entrepreneurs know we must anticipate, pre-solve and change in new, innovative ways in order to stay ahead of this problem.

First announced at Curious 2018, the first Future Insight conference, the event had more than 60 speakers, including six Nobel laureates, and was attended by more than 1,300 leaders from academic and corporate environments from all over the world. This announcement drew in more than 70 top scientists to the Future Insight Prize jury, collaborating to select the first year’s prize winner.

With antimicrobial resistance threatening the effective prevention and treatment of an always-transforming range of infections, this research is imperative for 2020 because the CDC estimates that in the United States alone, over two million people are sickened every year with antibiotic-resistant infections, with at least 23,000 deaths as a result. Worldwide, there is evidence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause common and treatable infections, such as pneumonia.

The 2020 dream product is likely to build upon the 2019 “Pandemic Protector,” as innovators are already working to develop a series of novel, narrow-spectrum antibacterial agents capable of curing any bacterial infection without induction of drug resistance.

In yet another cumulative way, 2021’s prize is on the topic of dramatic population increase and how to sustain such an increase with innovative ways to produce food while avoiding compromising the integrity of our planet. Given the fact that the population is likely to hit 9.1 billion by 2050, overall food production must increase by 70% between 2005 and 2050.

The prize topics extend as far as 2022, which pertains to renewable sources of energy as to slow and ultimately cease the constant consumption of our natural resources for fuel. In conjunction with this concept, researchers hope to avidly avoid altering our atmosphere’s CO2, which will require us to utilize the sun in new and innovative ways.

Future Insight Prize

It is an honor for Burrus Research to partner with Merck to expand and advance the Future Insight Prize as a mainstream example of anticipatory innovation applied to the greater good of the human race. Professors and scholars of Harvard University, Princeton and many more Ivy League institutions are joining in to get as many innovative minds as possible focusing on pre-solving the world’s greatest challenges in the future sustainability of our planet by way of continuing research laying important foundations for the four published dream products as discussed here.

Change comes from the outside in, forcing us to react and manage crises. Transformation, on the other hand, whether it is business or personal, always comes from the inside out, and that gives us far more positive control while allowing us to actively shape the future. The Future Insight Prize is a perfect example of a company utilizing their available resources to anticipate and pre-solve global problems before they happen as they positively shape the future, not only for themselves, but for the future of humankind. I believe it is imperative that attention be brought to this incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators alike.

The Curious 2020 Future Insight Conference, will take place July 13 -15, 2020 in Darmstadt, Germany, The Conference will run with plenary sessions followed by three parallel work streams with attendance from all over the world.

Trends for Every Salesperson

Every profession goes through changes, especially sales. A certain sales technique may have worked in the past, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work today. To be a top-performing salesperson today and in the future, you must continuously adapt to both market and social conditions.

There are several new business trends taking place—all of which affect salespeople in every industry. Understand what the trends are and how to maximize them so you can maintain a successful sales career.

YOUR PAST SUCCESS WILL HOLD YOU BACK.

People who are in sales long-term tend to be successful. However, success is your worst enemy. Being at the top and doing well means you’re just trying to keep up and meet demand. You’re not looking at future opportunities because you’re busy reaping the rewards of current ones. The old saying “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” should be reworked today to state, “If it works, it’s obsolete.” If you just bought the latest device, odds are that the newer, better version is already in existence and about to be released to the public. We must evolve to stay ahead of rapid obsolescence in business.

TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN CHANGE WILL DRAMATICALLY ACCELERATE.  

While it’s human nature to protect the status quo, you have to understand that technology is changing the future, customers’ behavior, and your company’s reality. If you don’t change, you’ll be out of a job. As a salesperson, you need to embrace change wholeheartedly rather than resist and hold tight to the past. Spend some time thinking about where these impactful changes are headed. Change causes uncertainty in customers’ minds, so you bring certainty to them when you display confidence in change.

TIME IS INCREASING IN VALUE.

Time is becoming more important to people, because we have an aging demographic of Baby Boomers in the United States. Time gets more valuable as you get older because you have less of it. The world is more complex, with much more for people to do with their time. With so much going on, everyone is increasingly strapped for time. As a salesperson, make your customers feel that talking to you is actually saving them time. The list of time wasters is virtually endless, and these hurt your sales and profits. Prove that you’re a time saver and people will choose you over the competition.

WE’VE SHIFTED FROM THE INFORMATION AGE TO THE COMMUNICATION AGE.

Many salespeople rely on static marketing tools like company websites, flyers, and sales letters. These methods are a one-way interface. The better way is to have your sales messages be dynamic. For example, you could have a contest that encourages people to go to your site and enter. Instead of just telling people to buy your snack product, you can encourage customers to go online and vote for the next new flavor, getting them involved. The key is to generate communication, engagement, and involvement through your sales and marketing efforts. Don’t just hand out information; you want to listen, speak, and create dialogue to capture your prospects’ interest.

SOLUTIONS TO PRESENT PROBLEMS ARE BECOMING OBSOLETE FASTER.

Almost every salesperson has been told to be proactive by taking positive action. Unfortunately, you must wait and see to know if a certain action is positive. Instead, be pre-active to future known events. You need to look at your customer segment and identify what types of events you are certain they will experience, and focus your actions on what will be happening rather than on what is happening. Being pre-active also means that you change the way people think. When you put out a new product, it takes a while to catch on because you’re not actively changing the way people think about how the product can be used. Constantly educate your customers on the value you and your products or services offer.

THE VALUE YOU BRING TODAY IS FORGOTTEN FASTER.

Sell the future benefit of what you do. Most salespeople sell the current benefits to customers who already know what they are. Your goal as a salesperson should be to establish a long-term, problem-solving relationship with customers, not a short-term transaction. Your most profitable customer is a repeat customer, so help them realize the long-term benefit of your partnership. Show them how the products and services you offer will evolve with their needs by selling the evolution of your products and services. Sit down with your fellow salespeople to create a list of future benefits that you have for your customers, and then get an idea of where the product and service developers are heading to think of future benefits preemptively.

SALES SUCCESS FOR THE FUTURE

The more you understand and adapt to today’s current business trends, the better your sales will be—today and in the future.

Are you anticipating future trends in your sales career? If you want to learn more about the changes that are ahead and how to turn them into an advantage by becoming anticipatory, pick up a copy of my latest book, The Anticipatory Organization.

Pick up your copy today at www.TheAOBook.com

Changes in Manufacturing: How Will Different Generations Adapt?

We categorize everything, from subgenres of music to which foods are the healthiest. But most categorization occurs between generational differences in the workforce and what success means to both, especially in manufacturing.

We categorize everything, from subgenres of music to which foods are the healthiest. But most categorization occurs between generational differences in the workforce and what success means to both, especially in manufacturing.

The Change Curve of Manufacturing

In recent years, the change curve of manufacturing has gone from a static line to an extreme slope. In the past, we all knew what manufacturing was, and safely assumed we knew where it was headed. But ongoing technological advancements are uprooting that sedentary perspective, and the change curve of manufacturing is now an upward climb. What the industry and job market of manufacturing were isn’t where manufacturing is today, or where it’s headed.

That change curve also has an effect on what manufacturing jobs will be in the future, and how they will differ from what they were in the past. That Hard Trend changes how we categorize success, and to us as employees in manufacturing, the word is taking on a whole new meaning. Much as we once “knew” where jobs were headed, we used to have a polarized view of what success meant. For many Baby Boomers in manufacturing, it meant working at a company until you retired, doing the repetitive and often dirty jobs to make ends meet. The paycheck you got at the end of the week meant you were successful.

But the younger generations entering the workforce have an entirely different view of life, success, and jobs in general, let alone jobs in manufacturing. Digital technology, additive manufacturing (i.e., 3D printing) and the internet of things (IoT) are already here and — in most cases — making our lives easier. Everyday tasks that used to take some time to accomplish are now shortened through the use of ever higher-tech devices, which are a constant in the lives of members of younger generations who grew up with them.

Take, for example, telecommunications. Baby Boomers grew up viewing landlines and cordless phones as appliances. Millennials see laptops and smartphones with instant messaging as appliances. Now, the next generation already sees its mobile devices and wearables as appliances. We all categorize, but that categorization changes with the times.

Different generations adapt to technology and define success quite differently.

Different generations’ adapt to technology and define of success quite differently. Also, the fact that many Baby Boomers remain in the workforce as younger generations enter the same industries is increasing the generational divide. The younger generations’ outlook challenges the past definitions of success; to millennials, for example, “success” has much to do with how much they love what they do. The Baby Boomer generation measured success differently; however, if they plan on staying in their jobs, they must open their minds to these trends and let go of the categorizations that further the generational divide.

All generations must rely on one another more than ever before, as more generations will be working together than ever before. While young generations may learn about “the old-school work ethic” from older generations, older generations can and should learn from younger generations about how to apply new tools to old tasks and reinvent the industries they are in.

For example, automation is becoming more capable and widespread, whether we like it or not. Those back-breaking, repetitive jobs discussed earlier are increasingly being taken over by machines. This shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing; however, many members of the older generation worry about losing their jobs to robots, or believe that dependence on technology makes us weak or lazy. The younger generation can teach the older generation not to fear radically new ideas, but embrace them as progress and learn how to work alongside them.

Job Mentoring and Automation

The same can be said for older generations teaching younger generations about their work ethic and the importance of integrity, trust, and earning those things in the workforce. Forty years of experience can’t be taught via YouTube, but it can be taught in on-the-job mentoring of a younger worker who’s just starting out in manufacturing. Some things, automation will not replace, and all generations can learn to thrive in the future from one another.

We will spend the rest of our lives in the future, so perhaps we should spend some time identifying the Hard Trends that are shaping that future. You should be asking yourself questions about how your career is evolving, how people are evolving, how you can embrace new technology like you embraced past technology, and how to keep your mind open and learn from members of other generations instead of shutting yourself off from new ideas by categorizing everything. Embracing new technology can change the dynamic of the manufacturing workforce while learning from the past to foresee potential problems of the future and pre-solving them before they happen.

Are you anticipating the future of your career? If you want to learn more about the changes that are ahead and how to turn them into an advantage by becoming anticipatory, pick up a copy of my latest book, The Anticipatory Organization.

Pick up your copy today at www.TheAOBook.com