If we invest in the future, who loses?


Often in corporate speak you hear terms like “winning” bandied about as if we were engaged in some form of war against our capitalist counterparts and the market was the field of battle. So to borrow the term, I believe if you want to “win” the future for your business, you need to invent the future. And to invent the future you need to invest in the future.

Some people might note I regularly use the term “forget what you know” as a mantra for one way to invent the future. You might even be lucky enough to work with an organisation which supports such positive, innovative thinking.

Unfortunately many of us have day jobs which are built on bottom lines, “best practice” programs and depend on complicated (read: expensive) processes in order to ensure the supertanker continues to deliver it’s cargo to the shareholders.

So we make ourselves adapt in the name of supporting the family, paying the mortgage and prolonging our career. Rather than “forgetting what we know” we embrace the company vision of attempting to dictate the future.

They pay our salaries after all, so why shouldn’t we?

I agree that we need to ensure investments are managed, logical and thought out. But conversely those same investments shouldn’t be sparse, short term, reactive and entirely dictated by those charts and numbers which project the past.

Umair Haque in his recent post The Capitalist’s Paradox writes:

What’s standing in the way of capitalism might just be yesterday’s capitalists — trying at every turn to stifle competition, squelch information, earn an unfair advantage, and extract value from people, nature, and the future, instead of creating authentic, thick, shared value for them.

I agree that we need to create value and derive profits in order to pay staff, maintain users and derive investment capital so we can have a future.

But, like Mr. Haque, I don’t agree we should try and suck all the perceived value out of what we sell just because we know some users are too uninformed to realise something better exists. Or as wonderfully shared in corporate speak:

focus on the most relevant value drivers for your business challenges and opportunities whilst minimising your overall project investment.

Instead we should use our technological expertise and understood opportunities to invest wisely inventing the future knowing we are going to be providing our users with shared value.

Not only will they then trust us, they will reward us for longer with their hard earned cash.

And everyone wins.

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