By Graeme Codrington
How do I get my team to track the future trends that will potentially disrupt our business?
We know that we’re living in a fast-paced world of deep, structural change. We know that the future is not just an extension of the past (and present). We know that we should spend some of our working hours focused on the horizon - the future - and what happens after what comes next.
We know all this, and yet another week, another month, another quarter goes by, and we haven’t done enough work on the future. Again.
While there are many, many ways to get your team to engage with the future, here are three free (nearly), simple things you might not have tried before:
1. Show and tell. These were probably the most exciting days of many of our primary school days. Remember that: choose something - anything - that interests you and bring it to the class to show your friends. Why not do this with your team? Allocate a team member to start each team meeting with a 2-3 minute “show and tell” session on some future technology, trend or force that could impact the business.
(I need to give credit to Stephen Henagulph of Screwfix in the UK, who was a participant on a leadership development programme for sparking this idea for me).
2. Go somewhere new. Take a field trip, go to a conference they’ve never been to before from a different industry, or - my personal favourite, and normally totally free - contact your local university and find out when the Masters level engineering and technology students will be doing demonstrations of their research and ask if you can attend. They love an audience.
3. Watch videos together. Take time out as a team to watch a TED video together once a week. They’re all around 12 minutes in length, and you maybe need to allocate another 13 minutes for discussion. If you can’t spare 25 minutes once a week to talk about the world, how its changing and how you should respond, you really do have a big problem with priorities.
PS - bonus idea: If you’re a member of The Future of Work Academy, you have access to a series we call News Bulletins from the Future. We’ve created a series of 3-4 minutes videos that are news reports from a time in the future when some big announcement of a new technology or breakthrough has just been made. We’ve looked at the first person to turn 150, overnight 3d printing shops, a robot lawyer, driverless cars being made compulsory, a reality TV show set on Mars, and many other thought-provoking topics. Each video comes with a discussion guide for the group leader. It’s a great resource to get your team’s head into the future in a fun and creative way.
The future isn’t waiting for you to catch up. It needs some of your time right now.