It goes without saying that understanding the overarching context in which your company operates, such as who your competitors are and what trends you’re seeing, will deliver insights about how your business must change in the future. However, most companies don’t go far enough in this regard.
Trends and competitors will often only give you part of the picture. And, if you’re only following what your competitors are doing, you risk missing something really important. You need a contextual frame that goes beyond the competitive landscape.
Understanding your context will give you a clear picture of today’s trends as well as weak signals that will shape tomorrow. This kind of contextual assessment includes (at the very least) an understanding of market trends, technology trends, rules and regulations, economic climate, customer needs, competitors, and even uncertainties. It’s important to not think about these signals, trends, facts, and competitors only as they are connected to your current business. To really paint the picture you’ll need for the future, go wider than your business. Who are the nascent competitors, the up-and-comers too new to call competitors (yet)? What are you uncertain about that might affect your future context? Election results? Gas prices?
THE FUTURE IS ALREADY HERE. IT’S JUST NOT EVENLY DISTRIBUTED.
// Willam GibsonAuthor and Essayist
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