How to predict the future

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Peter Drucker, who died in 2005, was one of the most influential scholars of management theory – writing 39 books and his quotes and sayings litter the field.

He came up with the term knowledge worker in 1959 – well before the Internet turned us all into knowledge workers.

He also explained how he was able to predict the future. It’s easy – he said.

All we have to do look around, report what events we see happening and what we think that obviously means for the future.

Some people think that’s prediction, but it’s really just having our eyes open and taking the time to think.

So, how can we use what Drucker write about to come up with a clear strategy for the future.

First, we start by looking at the opportunities out there that we want to go after.

This is the world from our point of view – the things that we think are important and material and that should matter to everyone else.

Second, what are the opportunities that our organisation can deliver?

We need to be able to innovate – to create and deliver a product that matches the opportunity we select.

Without an organisational structure in place – with people, equipment and processes and a supply chain, we can’t deliver anything – or convince anyone else that we can.

Third, we need a customer.

Drucker said “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer”.

Without a customer, who needs, wants and values the product that our organisation creates to address the opportunity – we’re simply setting ourselves up for failure.

And who wants that… especially when we’re starting a new year.

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