“What we already know frames what we see, and what we see frames what we understand.” — Paul Hawken
I learned to use trends and insights early on at Microsoft as a way to see around the corner and to be or create what’s next.
I find this mental mantra helpful to remind me to think about how tech can help disrupt, reimagine the future of business, and explore new business possibilities:
“Business BECAUSE of technology”
The most important thing I need to identify are new opportunities for creating value, potential disruptions and shifts in value.
The market is a reflection of values, if you think of the market as simply the collective composition of consumers. So, when there are shifts in value, as a leader you need to respond to stay relevant.
While I couldn’t always predict the future, what I learned was to how to anticipate disruptions and be surprised less. Along the way, I also learned how to create the future by applying trends to relevant business challenges.
I ended up working across automotive, banking, education, health, retail, media, manufacturing, telco, the future of cities, the future of sports, and move.
I learned that by using trends, I could quickly see patterns of value and I could cross-pollinate ideas across industries.
The C.E.O. Pattern to Build New Business Value
When I was head coach for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s innovation team, I had to learn how to empower people to innovate better, faster, and easier.
I created multiple frameworks to apply trends in technology to create new business capabilities and new value.
To help others learn how to innovate, I also created simple conversational frameworks.
The CEO Pattern is one of my most useful frameworks. The CEO Pattern is simply Customers, Employees, and Operations. You can unpack Customers to include Products.
So, then you can ask simple questions along the lines of:
- Customers – How can we use AI to enhance and improve customer experience through personalization and predictive insights around behaviors?
- Employees – How can we use AI to improve employee productivity?
- Operations – How do we use AI to improve routine operations and maintenance?
- Products – How do we use AI to create more personalized products and smart products that can adapt with usage?
It might sound simple, and that’s the point, but when you bring smart people together to swarm on challenges you set the stage for amazing innovation and insights.
Explore the Art of the Possible
One of the key things Satya asked me to share with him directly was trends & insights on digital transformation.
This kept me especially busy because digital transformation was disrupting every industry and creating a second half of the chessboard scenario.
Necessity is the mother of invention, so I was forced to get much better at using trends to go broader, dig deeper, and think bigger than ever before.
I use trends & insights to explore and expand the art of the possible, to drive disruptive innovation, and to inspire innovation-driven growth.
And of course, I use trends as a way to anticipate disruptions coming my way so I can better prepare for the future, while I create the future.
Using Trends and Insights to Navigate a Changing World
Trends and insights can be powerful tools to help individuals and organizations navigate a rapidly changing world.
By staying informed about the latest developments and anticipating future changes, we can be better prepared to adapt and thrive in a constantly evolving landscape.
Whether it’s in business, technology, social issues, or other areas of our lives, trends and insights can provide valuable guidance on what lies ahead.
However, it’s important to remember that trends and insights are not guarantees of success, and that careful analysis and strategic planning are also necessary to turn them into actionable plans.
Ultimately, the key to using trends and insights effectively is to combine them with creativity, innovation, and a willingness to take risks.
By doing so, we can not only anticipate the future, but shape it in ways that benefit both ourselves and the world around us.
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