Periphery Vision: And The Cutting Edge

“The point of attempting to understand the implications of the evolution of the periphery, however, is not to find a foolproof way to predict the future. It is to find a way to identify the real possibilities for the future, so that a more intelligent choice can be made…”  -Richard Foster Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Build To Last Underperform The Market – And How To Successfully Transform Them

The one thing that we do know, even if we can’t predict the jobs that will exist in this very non-obvious future that we will face, is that it will definitely be disruptive. If we think we’ve already asked a lot of our organizations and leaders, then the rallying cry of this coming disruption may very well be, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” Especially for those organizations that have built their foundations upon sustainability and linearity.

The future will be anything but predictable…

And while today’s organizations and leaders are not equipped with a crystal ball to effectively predict the future, they are going to have to become much more aware and adept at seeing the societal shifts and trends well enough in advance to adapt as necessary and needed. Especially in the face of the exponential, explosive and unrelenting pace that technology is pressing upon our systems. And for these reasons,

We can no longer afford to make our creatives outliers…

We can no longer afford to push innovation to the periphery…

We are actually going to have move away from the comfortable compliance that exists at the core of much of our organizations and the leadership that guides them. We are going to have to become much more aware of our organizational bright spots, those positive deviants who often move effectively at the periphery of our organizations. Those creative and innovative outliers who are effectively and positively disrupting the system.

Outliers who are positively disrupting within the system.

Or as Richard Foster shares in his work Creative Destruction, “The need to understand the evolution of the periphery as a basis for change has grown as the pace of change in the economy has grown. As the pace of change accelerates further in the future, gaining the skill to understand the periphery will become even more important.”

In most organizations, the creative and innovative work very rarely occurs in the core, rather, it happens at the edges. It happens at the boundaries of the organization. Which is why today’s leaders must be much more aware of this periphery, both inside and outside of their organization and the creative and innovative work that is fueling today’s often transformational pace of change.

We can no longer hide our head in the sand. We can no longer afford to be caught unaware, especially in a time when lack of awareness often leads to obsolescence and eventual irrelevance.

It’s not enough for today’s leaders to just meet people where they’re at, they must be prepared to take them ‘around the corner’ to better envision what’s to come. It’s about preparing our people and organizations to be much more agile and adaptable in the midst of profound changes.

“There is no better way to understand the cutting edge of new possibilities than to understand the periphery.”  -Richard Foster Creative Destruction


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