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Prepare For The Unpreparable.

People Always Say, “That Will Never Happen To Us”

Can we all finally agree that life is change, and there is no such thing as a steady state? If we can do that, then it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for you to also agree that if life is change, then change is inevitable? If change is inevitable, is there any reason to think that your core business is immune to change? That its immune to new threats, new competitors, new startups and other disruptive forces which, like a Black Swan, swoop in out of the blue with no warning?

Think about this example for a second – how long have we had the concept of a paycheck? You know, that thing that gets dropped in your bank account every two weeks, twice a month or once a month. Who among us has not spent our early working years managing our budgets to the tune of our paychecks?

Remember when you first lived on your own outside of college, got your first job and paid your first rent check? How you had to learn to manage your money so that you had enough to pay for food, clothes, and rent. What contortions did you have had to go through to make sure that your paycheck stretched until everything was paid? For those still living paycheck to paycheck (at last, count that’s 78% of Americans) an entire $30B industry (the payday loan business) was invented in the space between when you got paid, and when you had to pay.

A few months ago, several major employers decided to test a new concept (McDonald’s, among others) – instead of paying their workers every two weeks, they would start to pay workers daily. They would pay workers a day’s pay, the day after they worked it. Instead of waiting for one to three weeks for a paycheck, people would just get paid a day after every day they worked. No more waiting. No more budgeting. If this takes off, you know what else there will be no more of – the $30B payday loan industry, which never saw it coming. A $30B industry, gone in a flash.

Many executives walk around with blinders on. They live by the maxim “If it ain’t broke, don’t break it” Too bad that maxim is untrue in our world of continuous disruptive innovation. With us, our maxim is “If it ain’t broke, it will be”. We must prepare for the day it will break. We just don’t know exactly when, but with a well-managed futurist program, you can get a much better idea.

The reality is that one day, some event will occur and hit your core business so hard that you may not be able to recover. When that happens, it’s prudent to have your backup plan in place – your new business – already on its way or just ready to go. This is what your innovation lab is for – it is an incubator in which to birth new businesses, a place to create new value for your current and future customers.

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