Business Strategies – Planning for the Future of Your Business


This is a summary of an article from the magazine, Chief Learning Officer.

Are you so busy focusing on the next “fire” or today’s business that you don’t take the time to prepare for the future? Short-term planning is great for incremental change, but if you want to thrive in a world that has a ton of change happening, you can’t think one step at a time. You need to make the future tangible, so you can work with something imaginable and real.


You can envision your businesses future by creating alternative futures so you have some idea of what the future might hold. Scenarios are not predictors of the future, nor are they projections of what will actually happen. However, they provide an alternate view, so you can think and prepare for what might come to fruition. They simply allow you to think out beyond the next “crisis” you have to deal with and create some strategies.


Think through these types of questions. You have to get out of your current frame of mind to do it.

1. How do different global and national trends shape the future of corporate learning?
2. What opportunities and challenges does this create for corporate learning organizations?
3. How do these insights help make better decisions around current learning challenges faced by your organization?
4. Ten years from now, how might the corporate environment organize work? It could be structured, regulated, and managed. Conversely, it could be flexible, individual, and enabled.
5. Ten years from now, how will work be done, in your environment? Will it be relationship-driven or will it be data-driven?


These questions tend to lead to four different options:
• Old-boy network – structured and relationship driven
• In crowd – flexible and relationship driven
• Big data – structured and data-driven
• Quantified self – flexible and data-driven


This future has clear expectations and roles. The organization will drive development. Talent management will be very structured with competency mapping. It is very focused on the subject matter expert. Knowledge is authoritive, innovation is planned, business cases drive planning, risk is calculated, and careers are planned. The curricula for this kind of environment will be large and structured.

This describes an old-school company. They have big plans, but live by their LMS. Does this work for the fast-paced, ever changing world?


This describes a community of practice and it focuses on the high-level interconnectedness of the network within the community, and lack of connectedness outside the community. This follows interest and passion-driven strategies, many repositories of content and contains a wide variety of roles. Development in this type of environment is peer-driven, self-directed, and focused on the learner’s personal and professional network. The community will curate it’s own content and subject matter experts will emerge from the community.

This is a social business. An informal style of learning prevails and thrives in this culture. In this type of business, your learners need a social network and mobile learning strategies.


This type of business centers on a data-driven company that works off a franchises or outsourcing model. There is high volume and a high variety of personalized information and structural competencies.

Choosing the right data to act on is key in this scenario. Customers create this data. This type of organization is fairly agile and can easily respond to change.


This type of organization allows the individual to be in control. Competence and development happens through automated feedback, high talent mobility, and self regulation.

If the future predictors are correct, and corporations and jobs change drastically, this could be where we end up. It will be chaotic. Our learning resources will need to be more engaging and it will be time to get really involved in developing learning games.


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