And so the end of another year comes into sight, and with it the sound of a hundred annual retrospectives and a million predictions of the year ahead.
Looking back is hard. Our memories of what has happened are a living, changing thing, not an accurate facsimile of events store in biological RAM. We remember things in the context of today, and as such weave those memories into a narrative that makes contemporary sense. It's not uncommon for this human bug to be the root cause of many an argument, often between family members, almost certainly at Christmas.
One thing that (consequently) I think I remember from the past 12 months in the numerous conversations that I have had with people in many different sectors about the impact of digital in organisations today is how quite a few revolved around a "it'll never happen to me/us/this sector" narrative. Last week (and I can be reasonably certain about what happened last week) I was in conversation with somebody in the construction industry who, in subtext, was basically saying that their industry was all about bricks and mortar and 4x2s and RSJs and that that world would remained untouched. A scary naivety.
But if reflecting on the past is hard, it's nothing in comparison to predicting the future. The future is unknown, largely unknowable, but we'll pay good money to hear modern day seers and prophets tell us what it might be because we all love to reduce the uncertainty in our lives. Unfortunately, as Dan Gardner argues in his book Future Babble, those future gazers who get the most coverage are the ones who are almost always the most wrong.
Simply put, if you want to predict the future, your best chance of getting it right is to say that the future (tomorrow) will be pretty much identical to the present (today). Within most realms of probability that's the most accurate prediction you can make. And it's on that accurate prognosis that "it'll never happen to me" is based. In the foreseeable future, it probably won't.
None of this is very helpful, of course. So what to do about it? Well, when it comes to the digital transformation of your organisation here's what I predict you should do for 2015. Take small, calculated risks, learn from what works, learn even more from what doesn't. And most importantly of all, if anyone tells you exactly what to do or exactly what will happen, take everything they say with a very liberal pinch of salt.