Future Hackers … Accelerating growth with agile innovation

April 17, 2018 at Børsen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Download Peter Fisk’s keynote: Future Hackers

How do you win in a world of relentless change?

You know need to innovate more than ever. You need to think bigger, and different. Not just as an occasional project, but as a continual stream of revolution. You need to think more significantly, how to solve the big problems, to seize the new opportunities to make life better in useful and meaningful ways. Not just the technology, but the smart application of it to the real world, socially and commercially.

Smaller, incremental innovations are quickly swallowed up, or made irrelevant by the next thing. Consumers see through the hype and fragility. Or don’t have time for the frivolity of irrelevance.

Of course, small changes can add to bigger ones, but if they collectively don’t achieve more, and move you forwards in a bigger way, then they are distracting and wasted.

We need bigger ideas. But they are hard to deliver, particularly when the landscape keeps moving. When the future is imperfect or even unpredictable. When the business case is difficult to make. When everything seems to have been already, and most competitors are into marginal gains – discounts and tweaks to almost perfect products and services.

Stop! Think again.

Switch on your Musk mindset … Unlock your Einstein dreams and Picasso passion … Embrace your Mandela courage and Ghandi spirit.

Is this what will take SpaceX to Mars by 2025? Is this why Zespri reinvented the chinese gooseberry? Is this how Netflix came to be, or NuTonomy, or Nespresso, or Nyx?

Is this what motivates Jeff Bezos to say “every day is day one”? Is this how Anne Wojicki seeks to cure cancer? Is this why Jack Ma ignored everyone to create $500bn in 15 years?

We need to think bigger, but we also need to think actively. The future is malleable, so we need to grab hold of it, to shape it in our own vision. To our advantage. This is what “game changers” do. They take a market, and reinvent it, or even create a new one, on their terms. Don’t just innovate a product, service, or even business model – innovate the market.

Of course, they can’t plan exactly how to get there. That would be ridiculous, like trying to climb Mount Everest without the agility to sense and respond to the changing weather conditions. But they know where they are going. They have a bigger dream. And they are willing to fight and flex to get there.

And then they hack.

Hacking.

You think of it as a nerdy kid sitting in front of a bank of computers, trying to infiltrate the most cybersecure fortresses. But its much more than that. It’s about using your  brain, curiosity, intuition, hypothesis, resourcefulness, and experimentation. It’s about sensing your way, being bold yet also adaptive, being flexible but also driven.

There is no space into today’s business world for a fixed mindset. One which seeks to sit an optimise the current world, in search of ever greater efficiency and ultimate perfection. That is a route of diminishing returns. It’s also what you’ve been doing for decades. Trying to hang on to the old model of success. Instead we need a future mindset. To face the future every day, find new ways forward, to a better world.

Future Hacking

A future mindset needs an organisational context in order to be shared and thrive – an agile innovation culture. Business is shifting from a passive to active dynamic – where 80% of activities are active (project-type working focused on innovation, experimentation and customisation) and only 20% passive (ongoing-type working focused on administration, production and standardised delivery), rather than the opposite.

In this active culture, work becomes fast and flexible, innovation becomes the core rather than a occasional luxury, where there are no limiting strategies and fixed ways of working, unhindered by internally-focused structures and process, and where ideas and experiments can thrive. And where the focus is no longer about living off the past, or surviving for today. But about inspired by a better future.

This is future hacking.

We all need to be future hackers today.

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