Scenarios, exponential thinking and an organizational identity are lighthouses in an unpredictable sea of future possibilities

22 October 2019

digital transformation
digital flow

In these disruptive times, no one can tell us with certainty what lies ahead of us tomorrow. The future is hazy and every company has to learn to deal with this. Our masterclass on digital transformation 4.0 for 'futureproof business modelling' focused on raising some lighthouses on the horizon, so that participants can give their business a clear direction in this rapidly changing world.

In our masterclasses, we bring together theory and practice and create pragmatic tools to proactively get organizations moving, and keep them moving. This time we assembled Joachim De Vos, An Cosaert and Fons Van Dyck in Living Tomorrow, where they went into detail about how technology will change our lives and work in the future. Each of them gave a clear insight into the effective ways of incorporating the future into a company, based on their own field of expertise.

1. Anticipate & invent, respond and win

As host, Joachim De Vos (CEO Living Tomorrow) discussed the topic of building a future fit business model in detail. The future is uncertain due to the high speed of change; it is difficult to make predictions and, moreover, they do not guarantee clarity. Still, De Vos challenges us to make the future concrete, even though you can never be sure that this thought experiment is focused in the right direction.

Joachim De Vos

There are different methodologies to do this, such as forecasting and modelling, but he advocates scenario thinking - inspired by Herman Kahn, one of the founders of this method (reading tip!). Specifically, De Vos advises companies to develop and analyze diverse scenarios: from worst case to best case.

The following questions will help you on your way:

  • What can and should we expect in the future? Use facts & fantasy. Anticipate and invent
  • What can we do to respond to this, to each scenario separately?
  • What shall we do; what are our strategic options?
  • How do we go about doing this; what actions are we going to link to this?

Good scenarios are not easy to draw up and use, but they help you to ask the right questions and prepare yourself for the unexpected. That's the only way you can win!

2. Powerful exponential effect

Our second expert, Professor of Innovation An Cosaert, also called for an open view of the future. After all, people still think linearly, but the world is changing exponentially. Herein lies the danger: we often have the impression that something is going very slowly until a turning point is reached and suddenly time flies. It's important for your organization to be extremely agile in such an environment. Cosaert recommends that you work on the exponential readiness of your organization in at least five areas.

  • Management: formulate a massive transformative purpose, an ambitious goal that includes and gives direction to a major challenge.
  • Personnel: let the necessary skills evolve, because in 2020 you will need lots of people who are able to deal with complex problems, think critically and overflow with creativity (source: Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum).
  • Operational: data will become the core to manage all your processes efficiently and smartly.
  • Innovation & change processes: look ahead, know what to expect and formulate an answer for your company.
  • Customer & community: always puts your customer first.

3. Stay calm in this whirlwind

Fons Van Dyck, head of think BBDO and author of 'De onsterfelijke onderneming' (The immortal company), pleaded for a beacon of stability in this hectic world. He endorses the importance of agility, but the immortality of a company is based on a solid foundation that can always be returned to

Fons Van Dyck

"Build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.", says Jeff Bezos (CEO Amazon). The culture and accompanying leadership, strategy and values of a company form the identity that serves as a base in the branding.

In the AGIL paradigm, Van Dyck summarizes the four functions that characterize an immortal company. The first two letters are about your ability to change and the last two are about stability. It's an ongoing challenge to keep things in balance.

  • A – Adapt
  • G – Achieve goals
  • I - Integrate
  • L – Monitor LT consistency

Wondering where your company stands? Here you can calculate your own AGIL score.

What does the future hold for you in the short term?

We would like to invite you to our next masterclass on digital transformation 4.0. In November, we will go into more detail about the digital attitude that your company can apply within a digital flow. We will also visit our innovation center in Paris where you can test yourself in the chatbot, AR/VR and Computer Vision room. Afterwards, we will work on this in workshops so that you can also return home with specific ideas.

We look forward to your participation!

Sign up for our newsletter

Would you like to receive our newsletter and stay informed about your preferred topics? 

Sign up here