2015: The Year of How and Why?

January 2015

The after burners are on. Hear them roar. And then focus you mind on two words; How and Why? Because in 2015 we are going to see a few megatrends really kick in, and whether you sink or swim will be a function of how well you see what is coming and your ability to ride the wave of change.

In 1997 Craig Venter was 7 years in to the 15 years thought to be required to sequence the first genome. However, only 1% had been sequenced. Many said he should give up. But the amount sequenced was growing by 100% a year. So in fact he was almost half way there. In fact he reached 100% just 4 years later.

And with technology this is par for the course. Today about 8 billion objects are connected to the Internet. By 2020 it’ll be 50 billion, and a decade later a trillion. 3D printing is 400 times better value than 7 years ago. Robots 25 times in 5 years. Drones 142 times in 6 years. 3D LIDAR sensors (the ones at the heart of the self driving car) 250 times in 5 years.

And all of these technologies are tools for the real estate industry to use. In designing, building and running property. Couple them with ever faster broadband, mobile devices, cloud computing and storage and a huge question presents itself. How are these developments going to affect my business, and why are we working in the way that we do now?

How can I use these tools to reimagine our business model? Why are we operating in the same way as we did ten years ago?

And most pertinently, how are we going to ensure we are not the next Kodak, Nokia, Blackberry, Blockbuster? Why can’t we be an ‘exponential organisation’ and what would we need to do to be one? Tangerine, a new Canadian Bank, handles 7 x the number of customers per employee as the average bank. How did they do that? Why can’t we?

There is such a propitious confluence of tools, technologies and capabilities at the moment that 2015 has to be the year to stop thinking linearly. Instead of ‘let’s be 10% more efficient’ think ‘how can we be 10 x as efficient’. You will not lose your market position to someone 10% better than you; it’ll be someone 10 x better. It’ll be someone who can do much more with much less, who has wider, deeper, more timely data, who provides a better service to customers, who removes friction, who collaborates better, who has a wider pool of talent on tap, who engages and is engaged better than you. In essence it’ll be someone with a digital company, not a digital strategy.

And that person, that company, could be you and yours: if you ask How and Why?