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It’s race day. The competitors line up. Local conditions as expected. Sponsors looking on nervously. The owners taking their box seats.
Once under way, the race unfolds pretty much as predicted, competitors’ minor deviations from the expected norm calmly counteracted by the support crew. But then comes the game-changer, the big crash. All strategies are out of the window. All bets are off. Shouldn’t someone get the owners, executives and buyers together to make a rapid decision on what to do next?
Wake up. This is 2035. Owners and boards making decisions at lightning speed? That is a fallacy. The delusions of pursuing the supposed Holy Grail of real-time decision making was exposed a long time ago. All decisions are now pre-packaged with pre-agreed, pre-tested scenarios ready to be enacted at the push of a button.
Vast amounts of data now come from almost every source possible. Social, environmental, economic. Collected by open sensory networks, this information is fed into four-dimensional models with scenarios for every conceivable combination of variables. Black swans, unknown unknowns now the mark of the uninformed and complacent.
In 2035, scenarios will exist for everything. Returning to present day, much of this may be hard to imagine, but this is simply because, I believe, organisations today have forgotten the basic art of planning and scenario playing.
Technology has seduced and confused in equal measure. The move towards greater automation has become a quest without a cause. Planning today, I think, has been relegated to a corporate overhead, a necessary evil predicting outcomes the board expects in a self-fulfilling prophecy, the basic art of strategising lost. By 2035, organisations will have realised some time ago that success using this approach was based on luck alone and represented irresponsible management. In fact, the race to get this right will have been won many years previously.
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