Our guest is the CEO of the GFF, the Global futures and Foresights Institute. He uses views of the future to develop within global futures and foresight by their in-house research team. And by surveying their worldwide network of future thinkers and business leaders. The aim of GFF is to develop views of the future to help clients embrace change with more certainty, thereby releasing the full power of their creativity and innovation. His purpose is to inspire his audience to embrace change and by so doing better, prepare for the future.
See the transcript below:
(1:25) - Currently creating academic futurist
(05:07) - What does the future look like from your perspective?
David Smith: Well, it was already where we are before this pandemic or where we were, was a denial of the degree of change we were about to be experiencing. There was a lot of folk who felt if I just put the next word in front of the next one in front of the next one in front of the next one. If I survive the next quarter, if I get through the next year, that's enough. Well, that is never going to be enough. That was never going to be enough. People trot out these glib phrases, industry 4.0, you know, digitizing AI, blah, blah, blah, ashes, all of it. It's all of it happening at exactly the same time. So it's biological mixing within information technology, mixing with ludicrous amounts of data. And we've got to know what to do with it. With a changing consumer individual will change your attitude to companies and our information and data and security.
(10:03) - How do you see the trend in the future?
David Smith: Okay, here you go. Um, I'm not a futurist who sits in the bath and comes up with brilliant ideas, um, because they're not very convincing to people in business. They're, they're quite exciting. You write books about it and it can be quite dramatic. We are, that are science fiction writers to think about these crazy ideas, which are very helpful. By the way, what we do is we do an awful lot of horizon scanning, three horizon mapping, um, SWAT analysis dues for clients. We do it for ourselves. We do an awful lot of desktop research. If you look at any one of our papers and I hate to keep going back to bed, but you'll find if we, if you write something about 10 pages, it'll have 150 references because you know, the wisdom of crowds is something we discovered about 20 years ago. Didn't know it was called that until about a decade ago, but we thought, you know, we need to ask people, generically wise, people, smart people, people we know their opinion and form our own opinion of what the consequence of that is all going to be or likely to be, or the likelihood of it happening.
(13:41) - When the risk of staying the same is greater than the risk of doing something, you do something.
(19:19) - How do we embrace change ourselves and how do we help our teams embrace change?
David Smith: One of the greatest things is self-awareness, you know, what makes, what makes you an entrepreneur? It doesn't let you necessarily somebody who can run a company. We know that that's an obvious given, but what we hopefully are quite good at is choosing people that have got the skills and the gifting to do the right things. So, number one is w I was talking to somebody about this about eight years ago, and it turned out they were a firm who build indicators. They do the psychometric testing of millions of people. So they built for us an indicator, which by the way, it's free online on our website. You can find it in our services bit.
(26:15) - Create value, not businesses
David Smith: And we've known that. And that's, that's a very obvious truth, but we've known that for a long time, create value, not businesses, businesses come as a consequence, but we're sort of getting everything in the wrong way around. We're trying to grow our business and grow our market share and grow our service offerings, grow value for people. What, what do people really want? So I think number one, we've changed our mind. So do not use past experience of how consumers, patients, customers, citizens, shareholders are going to behave because they're not going to behave the same way. They're just not going to behave the same way you might creep again next year, but not, not this year. That, that then the games and games foot, if you like, we've got to think differently about all of that. But also I'd think, you know, I've had 30 odd years in technology.
(28:50) - Change
David Smith: Well, you can't mandate it and I've got that sort of power, but you're trying to encourage people to think differently about where they are. You can't just sit in status and wait for things to recover. That's stupid. I mean that, that's, it you'll just do that Drucker thing. You'll just die death where I was grew up around you. But during this, we were working with one of the world's biggest, um, um, PR companies recently. And I said to them, this is when companies should be showing their values and their thinking and their insight and their wisdom to their markets. More than ever. This isn't the time to go quiet and put things off for a jam Berry in Madrid in July next year. That is absolutely not what people need right now. They need to know your wisdom, your thinking, the smarts, what's your relevance.
(31:30) - Book that David Smith recommends
(31:15) - Which book or audiobook touched you on a personal level?