Business strategy models – Leadership in a future full of curveballs

Author: Keith Coats, James Kirk (

Categories: Business Growth, Business risk, Business Strategy, Digital Economy, disruption, Leadership, Research, Technology
Tags: DNA, futurists, Jim Data, leadership agenda, Levi, nevelty, strategic thinking, TomorrowToday
Business strategy models have to adaptable to future disruptions and developments. In this TV show Keith Coats of TomorrowToday discusses strategic thinking for leaders.

Business strategy models in an unpredictable world

Leaders have to be future-focused. Levi right now have a great slogan, which says ‘the future has left, so go forth’. Jim Data is a retired futurist and he articulated that past thinking amongst futurists was something like this … I might have some of the percentages slightly wrong but the rough ratios is 80% of our tomorrows would be built on what futurists call continuations, so if you want to understand tomorrow, look at the DNA of today, 80%. 15% would be cycles – economic, political social cycles – and 5% would be novelties. Now, in the futurist language a novelty is the curve ball, the unexpected, the 9/11, the thing that very few people could foresee. I’ll preface that with past thinking. Current thinking amongst futurists has inverted that table, turned it on its head. They are telling us that up to 80% of our tomorrow is what they call novelty, we simply do not know. Now, even if they’re half correct I wouldn’t go to war over those percentages, it’s the trend here we’re looking at, that the bulk of our tomorrows is going to be a surprise, going to be the unexpected, the unpredictable. The question then becomes how do you build continuity in that? What does the organisation that learns how to build planes in the air, as it were, look like in that context? For one thing it renders redundant strategic planning, you cannot plan your way into that kind of uncertainty. We need companies today who understand the emphasis needs to be on strategic thinking and at all levels of the organisation, this is a leadership agenda.

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