Change and the changes that affect us directly are like an ocean. Vast, continuous, fluctuating and you often can’t see beyond the immediate horizon. Wave after wave of change keeps rolling in and it does not discriminate or confine itself to industry specifics. It washes over everything, every one, every organisation.
Waves of change through history
History reflects how dramatic the waves of change can be. Think back to when the spinning jenny was invented. It revolutionised the textile industry which used to be huge and one of the largest areas of employment. Then think back to ship building or mining coal. All of these industries were behemoth employers but how big are they now?
Coupled with dramatics comes speed. The speed of change is increasing as witnessed by the decrease in length of time between past human affecting revolutions.
About 12,000 years ago we experienced the agricultural revolution which lasted until roughly 200 years ago when the industrial revolution began. The gap between then and 1968 when the computer revolution began dropped to 150 years then it was only 22 years before the Internet Age. AI, 3D printing, quantum computers are already reality and the speed that new developments and discoveries are being made is rampant.
So, what would make any of us think that the industries we are working in right now will not go the same way as textile, ship building or coal becoming submerged by the waves of change. No-one is immune.
Create your own waves of change
One of the best ways to get ahead of the change wave is to create your own.
To do this you have to step out and away from your current path. Ignore the planning already in place (assuming you have them) and look at your industry from different perspectives. If you want to be successful in this endeavour you have to uncouple your views and thinking from the ‘now’ and speculate about the future. When speculating you also need to forget about the obvious routes you already know and can clearly see, allowing for constructive free-wheeling of ideas and thoughts along the lines I have previously written about.
You really do need to divorce yourself from the here and now as well as the immediate future. Look at the innovations and inventions that are making themselves known every day. Consider the questions; ‘how might this affect my business’, ‘could this be used in my organisation’, ‘is this an avenue that would enhance or evolve what I’m doing now’ even if, at first glance, your reaction is to dismiss the new algorithms, systems, science etc as having little relevance to you. Trust me, the likelihood, is they will have an impact eventually. Anything that becomes feasible or interesting, follow them up by taking action.
It’s in this way that the droplets of ideas become ripples of yet more ideas, movement and action which in turn begin to form waves of initiative and progress. Waves of your own that you want to make sure you are riding the crest of. This is how you harness the waves of change and make them your own.