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Article: Global Survival - Part 1 of 5
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THE JOURNEY

Make no mistake, my fellow colleagues, the war of glo­bal competition will be fought on high ground. The glo­bal warrior must be a "new age" strategist. You must know when Jupiter will align with Mars and be able to think like a futurist. No small feat for the docile twenty-first-century knowledge worker who is content with cre­ating and managing information.

Business competition will change radically in the next century. Shortsighted companies will go out of business, while survivors will lead the transition from today's in­formation age to the intelligence age. To choose a di­rection now for the future of your organization you will need to see and create possibilities.

"It's not what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so."

-Will Rogers

People are afraid to predict the future. Corporations do not reward planning, only proven results. In Japan, young strategists (corporate samurais) are highly re­warded well before results appear, and if the results do not match they are not frowned upon.

Competition as we have routinely thought of it is dead—and anybody who doesn't recognize this will also be gone. Whoever is not excited about the future has got to be dead and buried already.

We live in a world of instant obsolescence. About 1.6 billion consumer electronics were sold last year alone in the U.S. That statistically comes to 16 gadgets per house­hold. Statistically we replace 35 percent of those prod­ucts within two years or less to update brands. That figure does not include the $2 billion in software prod­ucts in the U.S.

As a futurist and a strategist I would think we are asking ourselves some questions about this exciting fu­ture, and some are obtaining answers that create a blue­print for getting there.

In the proceeding thoughts, I will attempt to show how

      Industry foresight is necessary to provocatively shape
a corporate revolution.

      Establish strategic intent and mobilize the corpora­
tion to that goal.

      Discover ways to leverage resources that allow com­
panies to attain "heroic goals" despite resource con­
straints.

Within the last two decades a significant restructur­ing of business has occurred through globalization. Today our competitive landscape stretches to avast glo­bal canvas. We are global citizens.

My future prediction for future businesses is that biotechnology stocks will double and triple after the year 2000. (Now don't go out and mortgage the house be­cause I said this.) There is no major mystery here since Merck rose 70 percent and Mycogen rose 60 percent.

There is a new war on disease that will create a slew of new opportunities. Within 15 years every known dis­ease will have gene therapy treatments which, I believe, will include cancer, hepatitis, and AIDS.

"Shrimpsters" will be created. This creature is a bio-engineered animal that is part shrimp and part oyster. Texture and taste can be switched to suite the consumer (i.e., the taste of an oyster and the texture of a shrimp or vice versa can now be enjoyed). There will be "robo-snakes" that you can swallow for diagnostic work.

In Mexico there is a breakthrough company that is doing away with needles. They have bio-engineered ba­nanas and other foods to deliver vaccines.

 

Another frontier to be reevaluated is nanotechnology. For those who don't know about nanotechnology, I will briefly explain. The concept was first thought of by Ri­chard Feynman in 1959, who won the 1965 Nobel Peace Prize in Physics. Simply stated, he believed you could maneuver things atom by atom.

Today nanotechnology is a combination of physics, biology, and computer sciences. The term was coined because everything is measured in nanometers, which are billionths of a meter. This gives the ability to restruc­ture and move atoms.

There are three types of nanotechnology:

      Wet nanotechnology, which is bio-organisms like
membranes and enzymes

      Dry nanotechnology, which is the physical chemis­
try that builds structures of carbon and other inor­
ganic material

      Computational nanotechnology, which allows the
making of nano-scale structures that will have com­
putational abilities.

Biotechnology, genetic engineering, and designing animal species are potentially vastly more important than electronics. Yikes...! can't believe I said that considering my business is electronics. But the fact of the matter is, compared to the potential of biotechnology, electronics will be superfluous in the near future. My conviction comes from trend analysis and a gut feel.

 

You may be asking yourself, why have I tortured you with these scientific predictions and what the heck do they have to do with this topic? These stories clearly in­dicate that a new generation of industries and competi­tion are being born for the future out of these emerging technologies.

 

I have not told you these things to overwhelm or im­press you. These are things that are now just beginning to affect us and will impact our business and economic worlds. As a result of these changes we must also change the way we compete in these environments.

I believe the more difficult and complicated you per­ceive something, the more difficult it becomes. Being prepared and understanding the impact will allow for rational, rapid, and radical adjustments in our corpo­rate world.

Continued

Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4  Part 5


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