How many of the top 10 U.S. industrial companies from 100 years ago can you name? Names like the Pullman Company, Central Leather, American Sugar, U. S. Steel, and American Tobacco come to mind. Somehow, these companies failed to anticipate and adjust to the future, and it ultimately led to their inability to remain on top.
One possible reason for their failure could be that they paid insufficient attention to external signals that were providing warnings of future changes. Another reason could be that they remained trapped in yesterday's business models. Yet another reason could be simple corporate arrogance and hubris. Regardless of the reason, things may have turned out differently for these firms had they paid more attention to the external cues that were signaling upcoming changes in the marketplace and labor force demographics (Schoemaker, 2002).
Imagine that your company could go back in time 10 years. Now ask yourself what things your company missed out on through the past decade that could have impacted their present success. What were those external signals that—had your firm noticed and reacted to them—would have put the company in a better competitive position in the marketplace? Unfortunately, companies cannot actually go back 10 years. But your organization can begin preparing itself to look for external signals that might help make it more successful 10 years from now.
This book has painted a picture of the future by looking at the nature ...