If you want to be in business for a long time, you need to develop a vision of the future and the place of your business in that future. You need not only to be aware of the trends in your market area (technology, competition, trade regulations, etc.) but also have a sense of the general direction in which the world is developing.
Questions to consider are: What will Ireland look like in 2015 – or even in 2030? Where will your business fit? What should you be doing to prepare? What are the opportunities?
Consider these current trends:
- Erosion of trust in our public systems
- The shortening of technology, product and business life cycles
- Information overload
- Developments in computer games
- Time as the currency rather than money
- Longer life spans
- People expectation of life
- Web 2.0/web 3.0
Read science fiction. Much of what was written as science fiction 10 years ago is now part of our everyday lives.
Train yourself to watch trends. Look for:
- Changes in food, new products, trendy restaurants
- The introduction of new products (failures and successes)
- Changes in family structure
- Changes in demographics
- Changes in environmental behaviour
- Whether there is optimism or pessimism in relation to the economy
- New cultures
- New words (twitter, blog, wifi)
- Science fiction becoming real
- Technologies merging
Watch for the balancing impact of the Action = Reaction principle. For example:
- Rapid change of technology, increasing role of IT
- Globalisation of markets due to easy access of information and technology
- Re-engineering, jobs replaced or supported by use of new technology
- Multi-cultural influences due to globailisation
- Back to nature in response to technology
- Back to old values/culture as those things are familiar to us
- Back into our homes to protect us from the outside (hostile) world
- Filters on information (for example, the Internet Nanny)
- Simplifying information
- Escapism in movies, computer games, adventure trips, etc.
- To balance the stress, “perks” to cheer us (massage, fancy dinner, clothes, etc.).
Some other things to think about are:
- The use of drugs for specific purposes (memory enhancers, warfare)
- Development in genetic engineering
- The role of computers and telecommunications in our society (now and in future)
- Artificial intelligence
- Quantum chips
- Developments in biology
- Combination of all above
What are your predictions for Ireland in 2015 and 2030? Write them down. Where does your business fit within this?