ELMSLN snowflake symbol with sticky notes.

Will you be in business next century?

Ask yourself, right now, will my company exist in 100 years? Well that’s too far to project, ok, 50? 30? 20? 10? 5? 1???

How long is acceptable to project out and make philosophical decisions about the trajectory your business takes. This obviously doesn’t apply to all. If you run a coffee shop, you might not be able to project that robotic coffeepots overtake us in the year 2075 in the great Bux Revolution.

But when it comes to technology, to innovation; do you project far enough? Are you looking at the trends of the day in your own industry or the trends in the global market. I see infographics all the time about what life will be like 5 years from now (ones like this). Foretelling where we are going in the near future.

Without philosophy though, do you have anything to base your trajectory on as an organization, or an individual?

In education, I see too many looking to others in education for the trends to follow. This doesn’t inspire, it follows the crowd. This doesn’t lead to new innovations, this leads to trend lines in management slide decks to highlight that “yes CEO / Boss, as you can see, we’re inline with everyone else”.

Is that where you want to be? Just in line with the rest of the crowd? Wow, aspirational. What would 8 year old you say if he/she looked and said “Wow, so then, you just toed the company line because it was what you expected to hear / do?”.

Would your answer make you stop and question, or would you say “Well younger me, you don’t understand…” and then backpedal on dreams and imagination in favor of bottom lines and bureaucracy.

So back to the question, will my organization exist 100 years from now?

If the only constant in life is change, and technology is on course to change and disrupt all industries over a long enough timeline. Then start behaving like it. The Amazons, Googles, Starbucks, PapaJohns, the titan brands of industry only remain titans by taking risk. They only stand out today because of stepping outside the boundaries of what the rest of the societal line was up for.

It is walking a different path, changing the industry instead of trying to compete in it, that has dismantled and collapsed the big brands of previous generations. Where are the brands from the 20s, 30s, and 40s that were able to weather the changing times of society and still remain industry leaders. Did they not ask themselves how to survive the next 100 years by keeping agile? Only to fall into the dustbin of forgotten constructs.

Dreams, organizations, businesses; as temporary on the historical timeline as the throw-away culture we’ve become.

We can be more, we can always be better. Speak into existence where you want to take your organization. Every day. Every moment you will be resisted. Technologists especially are the most resistant to change when it involves them.

Principles to wake up to; and if you don’t work towards these, if you or your employees simply show up, I assure you, you will not see the next 100 years:

Where Innovation lives to power the next 100 years of any organization

Create – Don’t rely too much on others to achieve the objectives you seek; Build, experiment, create your own. Organizations throughout history reinvent themselves, grow, expand, risk and MAKE.

Teach – Train, invest in yourself and others in your organization. Never feel that anyone is unteachable or incapable of learning new things and new ways of doing business. If they can’t, then they aren’t going to take you where you need to go to hit 100.

Learn – Keep up on trends on society and, always more importantly, outside of your discipline. Disruption always comes from invading forces from other industries bleeding into your own. What themes exist in the societal marketplace, not just my own.

Love – love what you do, pour yourself into it. If you can’t, it’s time to look elsewhere.

Inspire – do these actions, these companies seek to inspire others to our organization / culture / movement; or do they seem to divide? Division, bickering, negativity, FUD, kill organizations. Speak and act, to inspire; if what you do doesn’t, do neither.

Dream – you need dreamers, desperately. Not to see life as it is but to see it as it will become, or could become. Envision the future and you will speak and create it daily.

We Are here to innovate through creation, love and dedication to bring dreams to reality. To inspire generations of teachers, leaners, and anyone who thirsts for knowledge to build up themselves, and to build a better planet.

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