Strategic planning – wild cards, elephants and frogs

A synonym for ‘wild cards’ in many ways is the Black Swan. We’re talking about unexpected, high impact things. We have to recognize that no matter how much data we have about trends and predictions of what’s going to happen in the future there will still be wild cards. This could take the form of volcanic ash impacting air travel, Toyota’s brakes failing despite its reputation for reliability, or Bill Gates giving all his money to charity. Whatever it is, they will be high impact events which are hard to foresee in advance but obvious in retrospect.
The idea of ‘boiling frogs’ relates to the anecdotal frog that, in theory, doesn’t jump out of the pot if you raise the temperature very gradually and ends up being boiled alive. Apparently the latest biological research is that the frog actually would jump out, which is perhaps encouraging for him and for people trying to be creative. An example of boiling frogs is climate change, which seems to be happening so gradually that people are willing to completely ignore it, and one day this may end up being to their peril.
The ‘elephant in the room’ is something that everyone is well aware of, but they deliberately or subconsciously choose to ignore it. Sometimes we encounter clients who refuse to face the fact that their industry is declining or that something hugely impactful is about to happen.
Whatever the case may be, our claim is that increasing your awareness of wild cards, boiling frogs, and elephants in the room increases the odds of you being better prepared for whatever might happen in the future
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Alan Iny
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OSS tend to take up a lot of time to just get the day-to-day activities done. There’s rarely time for strategic planning. In this age of disruption, we probably need to undertake scenario planning more than ever before, especially in the OSS industry.

Some disruptors are already in play, whilst others are imminent. Over the next three days, we’ll have a fun look at the OSS industry through the use of Luc de Bradandere and Alan Iny’s awareness tools:

  • Wild cards
  • Boiling frogs
  • Elephants in the room

Stay tuned.

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