10 Unexpected Reasons Why Your Business Needs the Capability to Adapt

“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” – Oscar Wilde

You’ve all heard the typical anecdotes about the speed of growth of the Internet and Twitter. Here is our list of 10 reasons to be able to adapt, that you may not have thought of. How many of these things did you know about? How many of these things did you see coming? Are you still stuck in 20th Century “build-to-last” thinking or are you “built-for-change?:

1. Barriers to market entry by competitors could change unimaginably: This week (13th March, 2012) 45 of the Kindle Store’s 100 best-sellers were self-published.

2. Demographics and demand for your products could change unimaginably: “Today a kid in Africa with a smartphone has access to more information than the president of the US did 15 years ago.” – Ray Kurzweil in the video below

3. The market for your product could change unimaginably. “RNA interference (RNAi), which science learned about only in the past several years, can turn specific genes off by blocking the messenger RNA those genes produce.” Scientific American

One example of a gene that we would like to turn off is the fat insulin receptor gene, which tells fat cells to hold on to every calorie. When that gene was blocked in the fat cells of mice during a study at the Joslin Diabetes Center, those mice ate a lot but remained thin and healthy. They lived almost 20 percent longer, obtaining the benefit of caloric restriction without the food restriction.

4. The competitive landscape could change unimaginably: In just 10 years, China increased its high-tech exports from $10 billion per year to $200 billion and have since changed strategy from “Made in China” to “Designed in China.”

5. Skills availability could change unimaginably: Since 2003, each year, more people in the US have filled for bankruptcy than have graduated from a 4-year college degree. 1 in 6 adults in Britain do not have the literacy required to look up a plumber in a services directory.

6. Training approaches required could change unimaginably: 64% of students say they learn best outside of a classroom. Faced with the challenge of educating an impoverished rural workforce, but free from the influence of teachers’ unions, China may be the first country to succeed in educating most of its population through the Internet. From 2003 to 2007, China spent about $1 billion to implement distance-learning projects in the rural countryside. —John Naisbitt and Doris Naisbitt, authors of China’s Megatrends, reviewed by Patrick Tucker, May-June 2010, pp. 55-56

7. The source of technology evolution could change unimaginably: Cities in developed countries could learn sustainability from so-called slums in the developing world. Dwellers of “slums,” favelas, and ghettos have learned to use and reuse resources and commodities more efficiently than their wealthier counterparts.

8. The source of global growth could change unimaginably Such fields as nanotechnology, solar and wind power, water supply systems and desalination plants, space tourism, and environmental restoration projects could create billions of jobs around the world. —McKinley Conway, “Coming: The Biggest Boom Ever!” May-June 2010, p. 21

9. Means of production could change unimaginably: A part of our response to climate change (bio-fuels) is causing food shortages around the world. “Living” skyscrapers with entire floors dedicated to growing food could soon appear in city skylines. In an increasingly urbanized future, they will bring food growers and consumers closer together, and also extend “farmland” into a third dimension: skyward. A 30-story skyscraper on one city block could potentially feed 50,000 Manhattanites, using technologies available now. —Cynthia G. Wagner, “Vertical Farming: An Idea Whose Time Has Come Back,” Mar-Apr 2010, pp. 68-69

10. Capitalism and currency could change unimaginably: The growth of corporations and their power over the market economy may have left people feeling helpless in the face of the recent financial meltdown. In the future, communities could create their own market economies and even their own currencies, such as “Life Dollars,” to strengthen local resources. —Douglas Rushkoff, “Life Dollars: Finding Currency in Community,” Sep-Oct 2010, pp. 21-23

Other forms of currency is the subject of an upcoming blog post, so keep an eye out for that!  We hope you enjoyed this post.

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