Signals of change
The experts of the Institute For The Future (California), where I studied foresight techniques, use the term "signals of change". By this, they mean signs of minor changes in the world around us that may (or may not) lead to global shifts in our lifestyle, work practices or consuming behaviors. As it is said in the epigraph for this article, signs of the future are already here, everywhere, but we just don't notice it, being overloaded with our day-to-day duties. But one can switch her mind to begin seeing the world from a different perspective. Mental exercise
Try to make a list of changes, even minor ones, that you've spotted recently. You might read about them in the news or notice them in your everyday life. Use the Internet to find more signals. Don't pay too much attention to the obvious changes such as the oil price rise. Here are some examples of the signs of change a group found during a strategic workshop I conducted some time ago:
- The Swedish government is considering a tax on meat because livestock produces 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
- Even bankers and top executives rarely wear suits and ties after the pandemic.
- Remote or hybrid work style reduced the number of "water cooler chats" in offices, which made it harder for workers to socialise and discuss minor issues.
- Interactions between businesses through personal website accounts in the B2B world have become a thing of the past. More and more companies opt for direct ERPs integrations.
At first glance, these signals seem unrelated, and maybe they have nothing to do with your business. But firstly, you may create your own list. Secondly, don't jump to conclusions. Instead, brainstorm with your team and try to find a connection even if it is not noticeable. It is a creative and essential part of the task, and the best ideas seldom come from evident notions.
What shifts will those changes bring to your industry? What business opportunities do they open up? I prepared a short and absolutely free online course on how to learn to connect the dots – feel free to try it here
. Not a panacea
Even if you form a daily habit of tracing signals of change and discussing them with your colleagues, it won't inevitably make you a successful entrepreneur. But it will certainly help you switch your mind from daily routine to the search for opportunities and improve your strategic thinking skills.