Managing the future

By | 19th May 2014
Not so long ago I got a free pass to a lecture by Dr. Pero Micic “Future Management”.
Overall it felt awesome to get out of the more IT tech talks and see other people from different areas of business. I even met a person working in Waste Management (no, this is not a The Sopranos reference), who remembered to mention they’re also struggling with IT and pointed out an obvious understanding gap with them; they had a project running that sounded better at sales and turned out to be a complete nightmare later on. Sounds very familiar. 😉
The feeling I got from the lecture was that it focused on getting to a state of mind to define a vision of you or your company, vision of who do you want to be and where do you want to get to. In simple words it’s about planning your life or your business, works for both.

Planning may sound scary for some people and someone even might think that not having a solid, laid out approach to things in your life is a better way of enjoying it, in my book up to a certain point in teenage years that might be totally OK, but the more time passes by the more I begin to think that planning almost in every life aspect could have improved my life right now.

Planning is also hard because we tend to think about future selves as totally different person, our brain just doesn’t make that connection between you at the present and you in the future state.

And after all, the first state of anything is imagining and envisioning it might happen. While possible not directly relevant, but this “Adaptation process” picture instantly pop-up in my head when I think about this topic for a bit:

Bottom line for me is – planning (and partially envisioning) is hard and scary, but necessary.
There was a large number of metaphors and practical examples that were given during the lecture. Mr. Pero is a talented and a passionate person when it comes to presentations and dialogue with the audience.

Dr. Pero Micic reminded everyone that even though the so-called “knowledge” workers have a more solid position than physical ones – it doesn’t mean that you have to stop developing yourself and be comfortable with what you have. The metaphor used in this case was about CPU processing power predictions (Moore’s Law) and general computer technology estimated explosive growth, the quotes were similar to these ones:
“By the 2050s, supercomputers may be capable of simulating millions – even billions – of human brains simultaneously”
“By 2050 – if trends continue – a device the size of a micro-SD card will have storage equivalent to three times the brain capacity of the entire human race.”
And the whole “get in line to get replaced by robots” routine and other Psychological Manipulation themes. While not precisely true, this allows to imagine the scale of things and get the feeling of a false security out of the way.
There was a separate talk about new products replacing deprecated ones – Kodak, Nokia and even Music.
Kodak – financially they had most revenue from selling films for their non-digital camera models. Success is not always about the money/numbers.
Nokia – they had more revenue from selling regular mobile phones (or are “smartphones” regular now?). Success is not always about the money/numbers.
Music – is about the experience, not the carrier – vinyl records (not actually deprecated), cassette tape, CD, HDD… Now it’s Spotify.
I really enjoyed the “experience” thought and angle.  While ITIL courses I took primary focused on developing a structured approach to providing services and had a minor part of vision and “why we actually do things”, the lecture by Mr. Pero did quite the opposite. People buy effects. People buy mobility, not a car. People buy a solution to their problems, not your product. Seems obvious, but it’s very easy to drift away from this in the ITIL mindset.
A particular quote I liked was about taking a look at the global picture – which mountain to climb (which island to sail to) instead of how to climb this mountain.
Another point was discarding new technological opportunities. This seems to be a very common pitfall, you spend 2-3 seconds considering something new and immediately dismiss it because it’s either too advanced to be applied to your current needs and field or you can’t imagine how it fits together. Spending just a bit extra time here to think through might be useful.
And of course – during the presentation it has been stressed and highlighted multiple times – don’t do it for the money, do it for passion, for a dream, for an idea. Gather that kind of people around you and success will follow, shortly. 😉
Some questions I’ve asked during Q&A were:
1) What is your company vision?
The answer that I remember – “Be the best future forecasting company in the world.”
2) How do you measure effectiveness?
The answer that I remember – “Number of deals closed/presentations made/visits to customers.”
3) What are your company’s current goals?
The answer that I remember –  “We’re now in process of wide scale personnel training to become more flexible and effective. And using AGILE framework for an ongoing IT project in our company.”
Overall I had a positive experience and would recommend to attend a lecture by Dr. Pero Mici. If not for the knowledge than just to get your mind off the daily routine.