An article in The New York Times on November 17, 2012 quoted Economist and Director of the M.I.T. Center for Digital Business, Eric Brynjolfsson as saying:

“Technology is always destroying jobs and always creating jobs, but in recent years the destruction has been happening faster than the creation.”3

The article went on to say that despite this, the digital transition is creating enormous wealth and opportunity, pointing out that four of America’s most valuable companies – Apple, Google, Microsoft and IBM – are “rooted in technology.”

IBM is a good example of a company that has reinvented itself through changing times and a transitioning economy. IBM, of course, is an abbreviation of the company’s February 1924 name change to International Business Machines from CTR – Computer Tabulating Recording Company. The genesis of this company goes way back in the 1880’s, starting off as a company “that manufactured a wide range of products, including employee time-keeping systems, weighing scales, automatic meat slicers, coffee grinders, and most importantly for the development of the computer, punched card equipment.” (Source: The Origin of IBM, Wikipedia,)

The consolidation of a number of companies with varied interests was a deliberate strategy so the company would not be dependent on earnings from a single industry.

What lessons can we learn?

There is perhaps one salutary lesson here for all businesses in the varied experiences of Smith Corona, Kodak, Encyclopaedia Britannica and IBM.

All too often in business it’s easy to spend so much time focusing on the challenges of the day-to-day that before you know it you’ve inadvertently ended up with blinkers on, unconsciously oblivious to the changes happening in your own industry, and importantly too, other industries.

In this report we’ll highlight just ten of the trends we’re continuing to follow in 2014-15 that we feel you really need to be aware of.

We encourage you to look at what companies in industries other than your own are doing too.  There is much to be learned from their experiences, the stressors they are facing and their unique responses.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What they are doing well?
  • Is this trend applicable to me?
  • Is it applicable to our business or organisation?
  • Will this trend impact our industry?
  • Is there a change we can make in our business or organisation?
  • Is it a change we ought to make?

This 2014-15 Trends Report will help you achieve four things:

1. Prepare for change

2. Position for change

3. Adapt to change

4. Profit from change

In short, it will help you to Be Prepared. I commend it to you.

Download the full 2014-15 trends report here: 10 trends that are changing our world (PDF)