RETHINK retail podcast episode 2: Becoming anticipatory

Assistant Director of Global Marketing

November 30, 2018

Explore what it means to be an anticipatory organization in retail and how hard and soft trends can shape the future of your business with Valtech CMO Paul Lewis and leading futurist Daniel Burrus.

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In a time when many organizations are reacting to change by adopting an agile strategy, Burris explains how he is, "very passionate about getting people to be anticipatory because [...] the world is not slowing down. The pace of business, and everything else is actually speeding up. It's driven by the exponential changes and growth in technology capabilities, which has been going on for some time. But as you know, in an exponential curve, two becomes four, becomes eight, things start out slow, and then all of a sudden, rapidly accelerate. Well, we're in the rapid acceleration phase now that is creating all of the business transformations today."

Agile and anticipatory strategies

"If you look at agility, and being anticipatory, I'd like our listeners to think of it as two sides to a strategic coin. In other words, you need both. Agility is the ideal strategy for unpredictable change, because you can't predict everything. Also, it gives you the ability to react quickly after a change occurs, to solve problems quickly after they occur. It provides an advantage over slower competitors. A lot of people are moving way too slow."

In this discussion, Burris explains how, "being anticipatory is the ideal strategy to turn change into opportunity" promising to divulge, "how you can accurately predict the disruptions that are coming, before they disrupt, how you can predict problems before you have them, so you can pre-solve them." 

At Valtech, we work to keep ahead of the curve by actively innovating in our dedicated innovation spaces around the world. Learn about how we stay both agile and anticipatory, and help organizations do the same, in our magazine about all things innovation.

Download Valtech Mag Innovation

Soft trends vs. hard trends

Burrus goes on to talk about his concept of soft and hard trends. Soft trends are assumptions about the future, whereas hard trends are knowable facts about future. He explains the importance of taking time to consider and then act on hard trends explaining, "It starts with realizing today you can busy yourselves right out of business and everybody that is listening to this right now, regardless of your position, you're always too busy putting out fires, crisis managing, dealing with the latest issue, or trying to meet the quarterly expectation instead of spending some quality time stepping back, looking at the hard trends that have been defined. The hard trends that are shaping the future and the related opportunities, and then taking action."

Identifying and seizing retail innovation opportunities 

It's clear that becoming an agile and anticipatory retail organization that actively seizes hard trend-based opportunities to innovate is crucial to continued business success.

Listen to the next podcast in the series here, or listen to the first podcast here.

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