Twenty five years in business have taught me that preparedness and adaptability are the keys to continued success. It has also taught me to expect the unexpected. With this in mind the current tumult within the Place Management industry should not come as a surprise to anyone, Change is inevitable and we as practitioners can either deny, resist or embrace it.
There are many facets to our industry and it has been interesting following the debates and discussions on the relative importance of aspects of it, whether it be a concentration on governance and structure, representation or the delivery of projects, and of course what priority should be placed on those.
It is perhaps this that most interests me, the fact that we are once again maybe ‘tinkering at the edges’ or trying do the ‘same things but apparently better this time’ or that the amassing of more information, the development of more applications or the appearance of another more relevant organisation will allow us to keep pace.
For my part I welcome positive change, study it and incorporate it where I can. It feels to me though that this time the change has to be much more fundamental, real and by nature probably uncomfortable. That is going to be true for our profession and people, as it is for anyone and anywhere else.
It also got me thinking about something else I recently read that ‘until the 1900’s knowledge doubled about every century. By the end of World War Two, knowledge doubled every 25 years, and currently it is doubling every 13 months’. According to IBM, the Internet and its learning power for change will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours in the very near future.
So not just change, but change at an unprecedented rate that will be bewildering to many of us. So in that context what do we do as people and as organizations?
There are of course no easy answers but most futurists have been using the term V.U.C.A to describe the world we find ourselves operating in nowadays; Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Many organisations and individuals are confused and overwhelmed as the rate of change accelerates faster than their abilities to assimilate, plan and capitalise on the opportunities and challenges it presents.
Predicting the future is a notoriously tricky business, Futurists at the 1893 World Fair in Chicago made ten predictions for 1993 of which only one was partially accurate; that the telephone network would become widespread with one telephone in every city! They had not factored the ‘rate of change’ into their thinking.
Jim Carrol, a famous futurist, innovations and trends expert gives us food for thought;
- 65% of current preschoolers will work in jobs that don’t even exist yet
- 50% of the science taught to undergraduates in their first year, will be obsolete by the time they graduate
- Approximately 60% of ‘Apple’ revenue is generated by products less than four years old
- By 2050 75% of the worlds population will be living in cities. This will lead to a rapid growth in urban farming.
Clearly, Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, “adapt and survive” is no longer adequate to our cause. It seems we must not only keep pace with evolution, we must design and out pace it.
For our part, we want to embrace the future and the demands it will make upon us individually and organisationally by investing in it now. The V.U.C.A world described above requires more than just external retrenchment such as more skills. more information, an ever greater intellect. The trailblazers and leaders will increasingly be required to both externally and internally upgrade and continuously evolve, creating their own V.U.C.A of Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Agility.
In our work and in our way, we want to give people and their organisations the skills to be the victors and not the victims of this relentless change.. The art and science of V.U.C.A can be learned, it’s skills acquired and it’s benefits enjoyed. The interesting thing will be to see who will take the lead. If you are interested in becoming a leader of the V.U.C.A world we would love to hear from you…
Director, The Mosaic Partnership
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