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In this episode we are joined by Bob Johansen who has been helping organisations around the world prepare for and shape the future for nearly forty years. Bob is a distinguished fellow at Institute for the Future where he utilises his extensive training in the social sciences and experience with top leaders of business, government, and nonprofit organisations to encourage thoughtful consideration of the long-term future. He is also author of a number of books exploring potential futures most recently Leaders Make the Future: Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain Age and The Reciprocity Advantage: A New Way to Partner for Innovation and Growth.

What we cover:

  • Bob explains how he and IFTF help companies like McKinsey, Tesco, UPS, Disney, McDonald’s, and Syngenta navigate and survive in the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world of the future.
  • We discuss the roles for leaders, organisations and individuals in this world of the future – what will and what won’t work based on case studies in his two recent books Leaders Make the Future and The Reciprocity Advantage.
  • Explore what particular skills and mindsets will be most in demand in the future and how some words of wisdom from Peter Drucker informed his own mindset and habits.

What we learned:

  • What wins in a VUCA world is being clear on direction, setting expectations and being able to cope with and position ourselves within uncertainty and ambiguity.
  • It will become more and more important for companies to recognise that they don’t have all the necessary resources within their four walls so expanding, extending and connecting with others will be an integral part of overcoming this.
  • The digital native fluency with technology will play a pivotal role in enabling us to reach our potential, utilise our untapped assets and connect/share/collaborate with others. The human of the future will be a different one indeed.


046-Shapeshifting Companies of the Future with Bob Johansen Institute for the Future Innovation Ecosystem

Show Notes

[3:20] What does ‘VUCA world’ mean?[4:50] This is a time to listen, not shout.[7:00] Bob shares an example of how military personnel handle a VUCA world.[9:50] You can practice reciprocity and make money at the same time, but how?[15:45] IBM has been partnering with small startup companies to test new ideas and track patterns.[17:35] Platforms like the app store make it so much easier to facilitate innovation.[20:20] How can people begin to ‘future proof’ their career?[24:20] What are some of your underutilized assets? What skills are you good at, but are not using? These are very important questions you must ask yourself.[26:50] Where is the future going?[30:45] What is the role of the CEO, really?[34:30] Video games are becoming a very powerful learning medium.[37:05] What has Bob changed his mind about recently?[38:50] What does Bob do to remain creative and innovative?[41:15] What does Bob attribute his success to, in life?

Connect with Bob

IFTF Website
IFTF on Twitter
IFTF on Facebook
IFTF on LinkedIn

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