Predicting the future:

from FACEBOOK to MANAGEMENT COMPETENCE

Were I to ask if we can predict the future, many people would answer that it is impossible. I personally think that we are about to get there. I am not referring to insight marketing analyses, or examples like DCM Dealer which based on indices generated by specific alerts or events generated by social network users assess investors on their decision making. I am referring to predicting the future of groups of people, maybe even individual prediction.

It is possible now, as we have (or rather the Americans have) the greatest updated data base that has ever existed, with our desires, preferences, concerns, family, data, studies, photos, activities etc, 1,000 million active users every month, about 14% of the world’s population. We have never seen this before, it is really incredible. If we conjugate this information with, for example, quantum mechanics studies, dynamic equations and systems and/or traditional prospective methods (Delphi, cross impact, Monte Carlo…), we could eliminate the principle of uncertainty for groups of people. We should not forget that we know the beginning and the end of people, although not the exact time of the latter. A new deterministic chaos that enables free will, but not random group pathways. A farewell to the unforeseen butterfly effect? After all, we are only little particles in the universe. From this perspective FACEBOOK is scary, especially when we are in the hands of just a few.

Furthermore, in relation to this topic, there is the manager’s capacity to see or sense the future; although it might seem like science fiction, it is doubtless happening now. Something like the above with Facebook but concentrated in the brain of one person. I have been working with highly qualified people in a highly competitive environment all my life. It’s like the First Division of Professional Services players. The degree of analysis and intelligence per square metre that I have shared and enjoyed is surprising, but I have not come across an outlier in intelligence and business prospective for some time now. Intuitive competence or a vision of the future is not abundant, as there are plenty of prophets but so few who get it right.

If I take a look at something more scientific related to this competence, what I miss is anticipative intelligence in data analysis among managers. Something like qualified prospective professionals. There are plenty of politicians and managers who did not foresee this recession and use that as an excuse. There are numerous politicians and managers who do not know what is going to happen and are waiting for the storm to pass for things to get back to normal. They are incapable of seeing/envisaging new scenarios, let alone future alternatives. (“There is no good wind for those who do not know where they are going”, said Seneca).

This crisis is opening my eyes. People and managers who I thought were innovative and had a high degree of anticipation are paralysed, it looks like they were just in the right place at the right time in a situation of economic growth. It looks like they did not actually anticipate anything; they found it already made and took advantage of it. Very praiseworthy and I wish I could have done it. Chance management as a result of inequality in income and knowledge? Or cleverness and business vision? Whatever it is, it might be admirable but not surprising.

I think that the above skills, whatever they are, are not the ones that will lead us out of the recession now; this is reserved for the skills of managers with intuition, a vision of the future and strategic vision. Similar and complementary competences. When I ask a manager what prospective technique he tries to use or if he plays games of intuition to envisage new scenarios, they look at me with curiosity and confusion, and that is being kind to myself.

The capacity to imagine future scenarios and anticipate needs is a rare skill that is in great demand at the only agencies that really take this matter seriously, as they do not talk about business but people, power and security; government intelligence agencies. Despite this, there are a handful of companies and entities, above all in Spain, which take on the topic of competitive business intelligence. Everyone can analyse data, but only a few can do it with intelligence. Even less can analyse data with perspective and a vision of the future. If we also add to predictive analysis speed and immediacy, we are left with … please introduce me to managers with this competence.

The thing is that you cannot teach this competence – it is catalogued as something scientific, linked to university research circles or as something esoteric, depending on the speaker. The capacity to anticipate sequences of events or individual and collective behaviour based on a series of data and by a process which is not perceivable for others, not even for the one who puts the data together, is unique. And if you apply intelligence, then it is something out of reach for the vast majority, but necessary for any manager. In short, AN OBLIGATORY COMPETENCE.

© “by Felipe Santiago” <a href=”https://plus.google.com/117575847320101803535?rel=author“>Google</a>

 

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