In an environment that is characterized by complexity, confluence and fast-paced change, there are few certainties. In sector after sector, business and service models are being turned upside down as the means of creation and control are redistributed. This in turn is reshaping notions of authority, ownership, privacy, agency and entitlement. A torrent of rapid change is flowing into every aspect of life.
Extrapolation and prediction are of no help in this environment. We need to build our capacity to anticipate.
These significant surface changes are set against a backdrop of fundamental transitions, which will give rise to a very different global environment from that of the 20th century.
Different countries and regions will dominate international decision-making. Global scarcity of energy, food, water and skills will frame the operating conditions for the next few decades, along with the persistent challenge of more frequent and more severe adverse weather events.
There is no more business as usual
New conditions demand new approaches
In these conditions, the standard strategic planning tools that were designed for a more or less steady state are no longer sufficient.
A rigorous understanding of the current context is vital. But studying trends and extrapolating from them to make predictions about the future is not only unhelpful, it gives a dangerous and completely unfounded illusion of certainty.
Under conditions of rapid change and transition organisations and sectors need to improve their capacity to anticipate: to engage head on with uncertainty in order to understand the broadest range of possibilities ahead of them and then navigate and shape their way forward.