FT2 What does the future mean to you?

How far do you go when thinking about the future? What time period is most useful to think about for your business?

Connecting the future with the present is a challenge. The first thing to start with is to decide how far you want to go. It can be intriguing to imagine and create scenarios of what the world may be like 25 years from now. But how could this inform the decisions and actions that might be made for running your business today? The point is to influence those decisions and actions or else it is just an intellectual exercise.

When you imagine the future – how far into the future are you looking?

It will be a business necessity to plan for the next season. You may also be used to considering the near term – 3 to 5 years. Answering these questions in the very long term – 25 to 50 years – is, as we have already discussed, just an intellectual exercise because the answers are not actionable.

Many companies create insights that fit a 5-to-15-year time horizon — a timeframe that people can relate to. The 5-15 years is the innovator’s sweet spot. It is a horizon far enough away to all but guarantee unexpected events yet near enough that current decisions matter. The business model, the nature of competition, the regulatory environment and the dynamics of consumer demand create a different pace of change.

So, where is the sweet spot for your business? Discuss the time frame you want to focus on. Take the needs of the company into consideration and draw the timeline you have agreed on – this timeframe will then be used for scenario building. This section (video duration 2:52 minutes) will present some aspects to this topic.