Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists

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Preparing for your future corporate strategy

Friday 16 July 2010

A series of recent activities has me writing on the idea of 'future strategy' and how different organisations are approaching their future development. What is interesting is the strong sense that preparing for your potential future requires multiple paths forward, not a single 'home run'. To that end I've recently considered sporting bodies and local community driven programs which has triggered these 'thought bubbles'

What have the AFL, the town of Lockhart in NSW and community Windfarms have in common?  On the surface not much unless you chunk up to consider the broader and overarching strategy involved.  In each case it is possible to point to specific examples of very focused 'future' developments. 

Recently I spent some time with the South Pacific side playing in the AFL's Under16 championship in Blacktown, the new home of the Greater Western Sydney football side.  This carnival is one of the leading developments for players aspiring to play AFL football and the AFL has been spreading its wings into Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Timor Leste (among others).   Included in the carnival for the first time was a 'World' Un16 side that brought players from Canada, Netherlands, China and more together under the one banner.

It would be easy to suggest that this push is simply about expanding the reach of the AFL into other areas.  That much is true and it could also be about targetting the code for the next big step - Asia.  To that end, the carnival is a future based strategy that may well be about defensive moves as it is about expansionary moves - getting a strong toe hold into the market before the likes of FIFA work out just how much they've ignored the Asian part of the world with their strong preference for European focus of the 'world game'.  Given the quality of the coaching personnel available to both the Australian teams and overseas teams, there's no doubt the AFL see this carnival and the development of players in other countries, as critical to their future.

In a similar way the NSW town of Lockhart has been developing an Eco Industrial Park.  Make no bones about it, this is the sort of initiative that many other much larger and much better funded State Government entities have FAILED to come to grips with and yet here we have a group of very passionate locals, seeing the future potential of their small and delightful little town, have created the starting base of what could be a model for the future for local towns - not just the establishment of an industrial park, but the establishment of Eco driven design within that Park to minimise waste streams and maximise efficiencies.  It is (along with some Council initiatives) a sign the many in the town of Lockhart understand the need to plan for their future.

More recently I went out to Leonards Hill to have a look at the site of Australia's first locally owned commercial windfarm - part of Hepburn Winds' development* of a locally owned and run community windfarm able to power pretty much all of the Daylesford and Hepburn Springs communities.  It was impressive to know that within a few short months, generators will appear that will entrench this local community's attachment to locally created power.  Much the same way that Ella Wolf-Tasker, owner of the Lakehouse Restaurant in Daylesford insists on local produce for her amazing restuarant.

What all of these initiatives show is that future strategy requires commitment and action and can with small localised groups, grow to become very big development and initiatives with a world wide impact.  They also suggest that sometimes, when the future is a stake, you can't leave up to outsiders to do the job for you - you must make the running.  I wish them all the success

*  I note that although I am not a local I am a small shareholder in the Windfarm project having purchased some shares when they first began fundraising


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