Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists


Five Emergent Ideas for 2013 you won't find on any 'Trends for 2013' list (just yet)

Thursday 20 December 2012

There's lots of talk about 'next big things for 2013' right now, just as there has been in past years. Rather than join the cadre of prognosticators, trend experts and (not so) disguised salespeople laying claim to knowing about what 'will' be for the coming 12 months, I offer an alternative approach – here's five ideas I'd like to see taking root over the next 12 months: The Fallible Leader; Enough-ness; The Slow Retirement; The Slow Engagement; and Human Capability Departments

Enough-ness: This idea emerged out of some research over the past few years looking at shifting consumer attitudes. Enough-ness is not altruistic where people give up what they have so that others might have; nor is it philanthropic where people pour largesse onto some pet projects or agreeable ideas; and nor is it 'saticficing' where in people begrudgingly accept 'their lot'.

Instead Enough-ness is a realisation by an individual that they have all they need and that there is no value in adding on to or trying to improve what they have. In that light, Enough-ness bodes the end of the consume at all costs mantra upon which many economies are built and with it the rise of the 'of Value' decision criteria.

The Fallible Leader: I'm really tired of the Leadership tomes that suggest the best form of Leadership requires the Dynamic, the Powerful, the Charismatic, the Bold, the Hard skills, the Soft skills, the Adaptable, the Connected the Decisive etc capabilities. Instead I'd like to see the emergence of leaders of organisations openly admitting 'I don't know the answer'. And from that open (and honest framing) emerges a Leader with the potential and desire to LEARN and seek alternatives paths forward.

The Fallible Leader is not all knowing, closed to alternative views or paths forward. The Fallible Leader understands their limitations and creates the means to seek assistance and support, embracing the uncertainty such a mindset requires.

The Slow Retirement: The time is absolutely right for this idea. I first floated the concept past the Manufacturing sector in 2005 as a way to maintain their ageing and highly knowledgeable older workers. In that session (and many since) I said that the Boomer Retirement flood was a myth. And right now the Slow Retirement idea will suit almost any workplace who needs the skills and experience of an older worker. It will suit the older worker too, many of whom have been hit by cost of living pressures and need to stay in the workplace.

Simply put, the workplace offers their older workers a way to stay in the workplace with ever decreasing and flexible hours over an extended time frame. This allows the older worker to ease into retirement as sits their needs and allows the business to tap into that skill for far longer.

The Slow Engagement: Also mentioned to the Manufacturing sector in 2005 in the same session, in this instance targeting the younger cohort. Rather than offer full time employment to new or younger workers, consider instead hiring a new worker in bites of time, allowing both the organisation and the individual to test each other out and build a conducive workplace relationship. As the relationship builds, so too would the hours until a full time position is secured. This model is very different from the 'permanent part-time' roles now commonly used

Human Capability Departments: I have a personal issue with the terms Human Resources. When you think about what 'resources' are you come up with oil, gas, uranium, coal – things you stick in one end of a furnace to turn into ash at the other. The term Human Resources by default sees people as a cost centre and also as a waste stream – a fundamentally flawed approach and idea whose time has long since passed.

But 'Capability' is a much richer and forward driven term. A Human Capability Department for instance, would focus on maximising the way in which an individual's Capabilities are leveraged to meet the needs of the organisation and the individual.

There you have it – Five Emergent Ideas for 2013. You won't see them in the usual places discussing management, trends and so on and that's just the point.

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