Last week, I wrote down some of my thoughts for 2009. There have been both lows and highs, but mostly highs. 2009 was a good year. I’m expecting that there’ll be some pretty big highs in 2010 as well. As is everyone’s want to do at this time, I thought I’d make some guesses what the year holds ahead.
No doubt, we’ll all look back at this next year and laugh. That’s the fun of it of course.
Anyway, onto my top predictions for the coming year.
1. Banks, governments and everyone will get really, really, serious about innovation
The last couple of years have seen a lot of talking about innovation, but not really all that much doing it. There are enough high profile innovation successes starting to emerge though (even though they may have happened by accident) that people can now begin to see the power of this stuff when applied properly.
I think this is going to result in a number of very big programmes starting this year. It will all be copycat, of course (“What? They’ve spent that on innovation? We have to double that…!”), and I’d expect a few very high profile programme cancellations in the next 18 months. But overall, the momentum is going to be huge in 2010.
And that is going to lead to some game changing plays from organisations we’d always thought were anything but innovative. I would not be surprised to see a bank doing something so unusual that people’s mouths drop. Like, for example, someone running a similar model to Caja Navarra’s here in the UK.
Or a government department reaching out to citizens and bringing them right inside service delivery.
Or a major corporate releasing a hit product that’s been 100% designed by customers, and which climbs the adoption curve so quickly that their large competitors go out of business.
All that will drive us to an “Innovation Frenzy” by the end of 2010, and if you are a corporate innovator, you can expect 2010 to be a very big year.
2. Citizens will start to deploy tools that do the things that big companies and governments used to do.
Governments and corporates are beginning to make their data available online so that citizens can do what they want with it. But I predict that if government doesn’t make its data available quickly enough, citizens will find ways to get it anyway. Screen scraping works, you know. Then they’ll build what they want, and waiting for government to provide stuff… well why?
3. Crowd-think emerges
This is the year someone senior in a large corporation is going to discover that if you put 10 Gen-Yers in a room and give them a project, the outcome is likely to better than if you put a single, experienced person with 10 years on it. The next generation of workers is quite different to what we’ve been used to, and their hyper-connection means their work operates in a parallel, and highly synergistic fashion.
Then I’d say we’ll begin to see strategic decisions being made by committees of these people. They’ll be small at first but the power of these groups of generation – Y thinkers will get more obvious. Success will breed more success.
It will be 2010 when the signs this is happening really become obvious.
In the next decade, by the way, these are the same people who will be in real management positions in their own right, and crowd-think will happen no matter what the current managers think, whether they like it or not.
And what will happen to the experienced people of today? They’ll still have a role of course, but they’ll be advisors to the decision makers rather than decision makers themselves.
Don’t believe me?
Check out your graduate programme, if you have one, and watch how those people are interacting now. Watch them work together on a project, and don’t fail to notice that no single leader emerges in overall control. Leadership moves around dynamically based on skills and competence.
Then project that forward a few years when we starting giving them management jobs of real importance.
4. Those who don’t get “social” will never get a decent performance review again.
I’ve written about the difference between those who are connected (online) and those who aren’t, and suggested that there’s a visible performance gap between the two groups.
Well, I’m of the view that this is the year that the difference is going to make itself felt at performance review time. Oh, not everyone will likely recognise the fact that they’re being marked down because they aren’t connected enough, but it will begin to happen anyway.
Those with the right connections have much superior, and much much more timely data at their fingertips. They consequently make robust decisions fast, and their pace of output goes up. Their work is not only produced more quickly, its quality rises.
One person in my team, for example, can turn around a report in a day or two, whereas everyone else quotes weeks – even a month sometimes – to do the same thing.
Now, when you’re the manager in that position, who do you give the top marks to?
This will all be bad news, of course to those who “don’t have time to read blogs”, or whatever social media tool is currently in fashion. It will also be bad news to those who think that you get to turn off the moment you leave the office.
Those days are gone. There is a new level of performance emerging, and the bar is getting raised in 2010. People are going to have step up this year, or expect there will be personal consequences.
And not, as I said earlier, because anyone will do anything deliberate, like impose a performance improvement plan or something. It will be because all the top marks will go to those who are connected from now on.
Experience is important, but performance is the new yardstick in 2010
Welcome to 2010, everyone, and I hope you have a fantastic year.