Thinking ahead isn’t easy because the present can hold us back

In Victorian times, due to industrial grime, the Midlands was called, “The Black Country” and London had shocking pea soup “Smog”. What was normal then, would horrify us and be unacceptable today.

So, not everything about prosperity is good. The industrial revolution’s pollution is one very good example. Things had to change and they did, yet breaking free can present a difficult challenge.

Today’s equivalent to the Industrial Revolution’s pollution is “Austerity”. A great word – it sounds serious and severe, yet full of traditional virtue and values. It covers a gambit of situations, primarily politically and banker made, yet with the impact pressing down firmly on the shoulders of the populous.

The result is that money is tight, the banks won’t lend. Jobs are becoming scarcer, particularly for youngsters. Wages are static, costs rising with customers demanding better value. And dealing with customer complaints has got to the bureaucratic point of idiocy.

The face of retailing has changed forever, as the ability to research any topic is a mouse click away, meaning that we are all getting much more ‘Savvy’ in the way we do business. At some stage soon, the next sea change will come about and to survive society and business needs will change yet again.

So what we need right now are special gifted people and organisations who have the insight to work out how to get us out of the “Austerity” dilemma. To find the Higgs Boson particle of the business world, what Donald Rumsfeld famously called, for different reasons, his “Unknown unknowns”.

These people are the next generation Branson’s, Job’s and Zuckerberg’s. The true innovators, whose challenge is to create something new rather than ride on the back of an existing opportunity wave.

Some may call that crystal ball gazing. Others may call it vision or foresight. And others may say that evolution is better than revolution. But whatever way, it takes a very special organisation or individual to achieve this. And generally one where the leader has a clear and radical view of the future and is seeking the solution to get there with an open mind.

So, what’s your take on this? And what message do you have for the business community so it can kick “Austerity” into touch?

Jonathan Wainwright

enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.

Join me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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