30th November 2016

Confession time. I’m a 42 year old, father of two who was totally unsurprised to see DT head for the Whitehouse, Brexit was a shock, but hey... life goes on. Normally I’m not one for celebrity and media hype but here are a few fairly recent big-news items that have got me thinking about the future. Not just how this week or this year is going to turn out at work, but about the next generation or two.

In my working life (and many of you will nod sagely at this point) Innovation and Continual Improvement are frequently at the core of commercial projects, the usual quotations about “adapting to change” and “Innovation as Competitive Advantage” make an appearance. "We need to create the future, not resist it". "We need Intrepreneurs in this company". All good stuff, easy to say, and easy to leave on the page, sometimes very difficult to act upon.

Consider the following quote and then think about Trump, Climate Change, World Conflicts, Crowded Earth, Wealth Disparity, plastic-filled oceans and the human pressures and suffering that some of these combining forces already create and have the potential to greatly amplify for our children and their children.

“Future generations will be living in a world that is very different from that to which we are accustomed. It is essential that we prepare ourselves and our children for that new world.”

(Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan)

Over the last few years I’ve been fortunate to visit the United Arab Emirates and learn a bit about its recent history. The rapid change, the remodeling and total economic transformation of this nation is almost unbelievable, even though it’s absolutely tangible; a visit to Abu Dhabi or Dubai will leave you in no doubt. Literally, 100 hundred years ago, the blink of a geological eye, both of these cities were small coastal desert settlements. Granted, oil helped fund this explosive change, but the Vision of the country’s leadership was the catalyst:

Bold, front foot, audacious, even a bit bonkers (that can be a good thing!).

The macro changes that are affecting planet earth may be terrifying to most of us; many of these changes are as a direct result of oil's popularity and it's difficult not to worry about the world future generations will inherit. But let's not be despondent, with bold leadership and astute investment in innovation, perhaps we can meet these future challenges and overcome?

We all might need to be more bold, on the front foot, audacious and even a bit bonkers!!

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