Innovation leads to exponential growth
As an organisation, you want to know what your future looks like. It is sometimes said that ‘The best prophet for the future is the past’.
This expression illustrates the fact that you can learn a lot about the future by looking back.
That is partly true. The past is certain and explainable. That’s why you can learn a lot from it. It gives you insight into certain patterns and therefore tools to predict how the future will develop. Just look at a subject like war, for example. Using martial science, we study the wars from the past to understand what lessons we can learn and in corporate them in the event of a new war. Simply looking at the past however, is limited. Napoleon, who stole his ideas for his war campaigns from the Romans, was able to do so.
But translating Napoleon’s tactics into those to be used in modern nuclear warfare is no longer possible. The divide between the past and the future has grown too wide. Basing your strategy on a pattern you have seen from the past is not by definition a good strategy.
In fact, it is not usually a good strategy at all. You can learn things from the past. But with the speed of progress that is only increasing, looking back at the past is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Developments, especially technological developments, follow each other very quickly.
Examples of exponential growth
These days, when countless new possibilities and opportunities arise, a new type of business has arisen: the exponential organisation. Yuri van Geest and Salim Ismail write about this in their book: ‘Exponential Organisations’.
There are various examples of this exponential growth. During the industrial revolution, for example, there was exponential growth in technological production processes. Nowadays, there is a lot more growth in digital technological solutions.
In both cases it gave an huge upswing to particular sectors and made other sectors totally superfluous. Both during the period of industrial revolution and today, it’s all about: fewer people, more machine.
The more digitally orientated a business is, the more impact technological developments have on it.
This is because companies are now experiencing exponential growth by making smart use of (technological) developments. As an organisation, you have to ensure that you are smarter, quicker or cheaper than the competition.
If you know how to generate so much acceleration, there is little point looking back (Hindsight). Looking back is a poor predictor for the future. Developments are happening too quickly for that.
Innovation by looking at the here and now and beyond
Looking at the here and now (Insight) is very relevant. In some sectors, Insights also have a relatively long lifecycle, less in other sectors. In general, the following applies: the more influence technology has on the sector, the quicker things change, the shorter your product’s lifecycle.
Insights are both useful and necessary. Understanding the here and now is essential for a good understanding of the future, as it is naturally the departure point for the future.
Ruling is anticipation
Do you want to innovate in a future-focused way? If so, you have to look further than the here and now. How exactly you do that, how you analyse all the factors that influence the future of your business, we would be happy to share with you.