How to Anticipate Trends to Ensure Business Success

Although these question marks are innately unsettling, disruption should be viewed very much as a wealth creation opportunity that can be harnessed by looking for the anomalies from which you might benefit, exploit or leverage. The key is to proactively plan the potential moves that the business should take to adapt and win as things change.

“Disruption should be viewed as a wealth creation opportunity.”

For example, when a major defense company risked losing a significant portion of its business due to shifting federal priorities, the company implemented three innovation programs to reinvent the company’s business. One team adapted military GPS technology to track and recover ocean-based mobile fish pens when they stray off course. The company has turned this idea into millions of dollars of annual revenue, and technology previously used for defense is now helping to feed people, too.

3. Carefully consider competitors’ future strategies. Competitive anticipation requires more than gathering current-state competitive intelligence. Instead, actively play out what competitors’ likely positioning moves, innovation efforts or strategic steps may be down the road as conditions change. Work with a team to evaluate how today’s competitors and emerging foes may move in on your customers or change market dynamics in a meaningful way.

Conduct regular exercises to evaluate how you can outsmart the competition or perhaps change the game entirely. Rigorous competitive anticipation requires data, dialogue and a disciplined approach to openly test assumptions and derive valuable insights.

A major pharmaceutical company profiled how their biggest competitor stacked up against them in several key areas across five countries to clarify capability priorities for the different global regions. Insights gained from this exercise helped to inform the launch of their latest oncology drug for breast cancer.