3 things every boardroom is thinking about
Clients often ask us what we think the most important themes for the future are, based on the insights we gain from our work. It is true that we collaborate with many different kinds of organizations on the futures they see. This gives us a broad perspective on what the current thinking on the future of business looks like. These perspectives are never a prediction of a certain future, but they do inform us on what the sentiment on the outlook of business is. The clients we work with benefit from these insights of course, even though we don’t make this explicit to them. We think that anyone can greatly benefit from these perspectives on the future. So here are the 3 things every boardroom is thinking about these days, according to our experience.
“How will sustainability and climate change impact us, how can we leverage digital technologies to tackle some of these challenges and how will we organize ourselves to best deal with the second and third order effects of both these aspects?”
Signals from the futures
Almost every organization we work with is challenged by two developments in the near future and present that have a tremendous impact on the way they will run their business. The third aspect that always surfaces in our work is the question ‘how do we do this?’. We’ve combined these three aspects in a graph so that it can become a tool to orient your organization on these three axes. Future challenges can arise on any of the axes separately, but they are also connected to each other. So combinations between digitization and sustainability for instance good be challenging (or in some cases they hold solutions).
Three aspects on boardroom topics
- Sustainability: Every organization identifies sustainability or the energy transition as one of the most important and challenging issues in the near future. Whether this has a direct impact on their core business or whether this provides new opportunities for them is different for each company. Whatever the impact is, action and adapted strategies are always essential for any of them. Aside from direct energy and climate issues the spill-over effects of this theme are also felt by most organizations. Increasingly they get confronted with the mentality of a younger generation that sees the threats of climate change as the most important issue facing their personal futures.
- Digitization: Perhaps for some organizations and frontrunners inside organizations the topic of digitization almost sounds like a thing from the past. But for most organizations the real application of what digitization means for them is only just starting. Most organizations we work with see digitization as something that challenges them in different ways, but they all see it as a necessity for the future. Again, new generations entering the workforce bring new expectations of what it means to work for an organization in the 4th industrial revolution.
- Organization: The third topic that has many organizations puzzled is the question ‘how?’. Whatever the new direction for the future is, every organization want to understand how to best approach the changes at hand. There is no scarcity for new ideas anymore and inspiration about the future is omnipresent, but what to do with all of that is unclear. A decade ago this question was less prominent as many organizations were at that point searching for new perspectives and ideas about the future, but today, this question is the most posed one.
Your futures change domain
When we plot these three topics in a graph (as illustrated above) a domain for future change arises. Simply ask yourself: to what degree are we uncertain what to do on each of the axes? The higher you score the bigger your change domain becomes and the more important it will be to gain clarity on these aspects. But don’t worry, as we said at the start of this article: these topics give every boardroom headaches, so you’re not alone.
“For every organization the question becomes: how will sustainability and climate change impact us, how can we leverage digital technologies to tackle some of these challenges and how will we organize ourselves to best deal with the second and third order effects of both these aspects?”
If you want to learn more, let’s have a chat!
Written by Jörgen van der Sloot
Founder & Head of Futures at Minkowski