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The world changes, circumstances and opportunities change, “the only constant is change itself.” Charles Darwin claimed, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” It may not be possible to predict the future, yet, in an increasingly fast-paced digital world future gazing is becoming an increasingly important necessity in business.

With the rise in A.I., it is possible that the workplace will evolve to focus more on tasks that only people can do, moving away from repetitive tasks to ones that require creative thinking and interaction with other people. When science fiction writer Issac Asimov was asked to predict the future in 1983, he stated that robotics would revolutionize the way we work, with automation stealing administrative and factory jobs. The “workplace” will one day be a distant memory as people will spend more time in a variety of environments, more innovative companies think about a workspace as being a network of spaces. The internet is a great enabler of flexibility and mobility. Technology advancements have the potential to drive productivity by nurturing innovation, creating efficiency with more computerized workplace processes and practices and offers opportunities to fulfill staffs preferred working style.

Future gazing is not just about wondering if our sales will hold in the coming year, or the prediction of whether we have the right team and strategies to take the company into the future. With advancements in technology that was once dismissed as science fiction, the question becomes who will benefit, who will lose out and would it be possible to redirect paths to the innovations of the near future? Entrepreneur, Guy Kawasaki, uses the innovation of ice as an example of how industries evolve and if you are stuck in what you do, then you might not be able to “jump curves.” Guy starts his third step in, the Art of Innovation, with ice harvesting in 1800. This process evolved into ice warehouses 30 years later, which, eliminates seasonal limitations. Thirty years on and we come to the invention of the refrigerator. “the interesting thing of all is that none of these companies, the ice harvesters did not become ice factories, the ice factories did not become refrigerator companies, because most companies define themselves in terms of what they do and not the benefits they provide.”

“Innovation and the future are part of the cultural discourse.” Said Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of the Innovation Group at J. Walter Thompson. It is not as straightforward to anticipate the path of progress. Looking past our own internalized assumptions to see the more profound shifts in cultural values and human behaviors that affect the way of innovation. “It’s about how people feel about technology, it’s about how people want to live, and that’s really what makes the difference.” believes Futurologist for BT, Ian Pearson. Predictions of 2019 include; 5g going full throttle, a new, global internet service from SpaceX and their launch of gigabit internet satellites, larger quantities of electric cars from Tesla, as well as the dedication to electric vehicles at Volvo. By 2021 it is predicted that fully automated cars will be on the roads.

The future is in the hands of technology and social change. Survival is more than just how technology can advance your company but about the people who work for the company, about the customers who believe in your product and how your company affects the world as a whole. So, as the world changes, as technology develops and innovations are produced, companies need to move with the times to have a future.