How can we prepare people for a future we cannot predict?

As many of us are aware, we are living in an era of extreme rapid & continuous change, driven largely by the technological leaps of the Digital Age. These are impacting exponential shifts in customers’ needs, priorities, preferences & expectations that affect all of us, no matter what business we are in, or what kind of lives we lead. These are also effecting the need for agile business transformations that balance strategy and people with technology.

“The accelerating pace of change is unfamiliar and unprecedented. To some, this change is a threat; to others, it’s an opportunity; for most, it’s both… and we’re all struggling to adjust to this new state of dynamic equilibrium”.

What is so often forgotten is that all these changes originate in the minds of human beings. Where some, who see changes as opportunities, the ultimate outcomes can be determined by human ingenuity. For others, who see change as a threat, the ultimate outcomes will be determined by complacency, panic, anxiety, and fear. Because people will feel that everything they know and are familiar with, is under challenge. Especially in the Digital Age, where agile business transformations require a strategic, as well as a human-centered approach to be successful and sustainable.

So, how can we prepare people to make the fundamental choice between the future as a series of threats or as a field of opportunities, that can neither be predicted or controlled in the Digital Age?

“The ultimate outcome will be determined not by the technology itself, but by human ingenuity, collaboration, and an explicit intention to try to make the world a better place.”

At ImagineNation™ we know that organisations that invest in agile business transformations, to speedily adapt to changing market demands, are embracing a strategic, systemic & human-centered approach, achieve mastery over the interface between people and digitization in the Digital Age.

“What we sometimes forget is that all this change originates in the minds of human beings. Disruption isn’t just happening to us; we are the force behind it. If individuals aren’t being creative and working disruptively, businesses and technologies aren’t going to change and disrupt either”.

We also know that building an organisational culture that embraces and embodies a values-based approach, focusing on trust, creativity & collaboration, enables people to collectively and equally comfortable with what can be known and with exploring what is unknown. Considering that the leadership and teaming paradigms have shifted, this creates an increasing need for innovation coaching, as a way to fill people’s “knowing-doing” and skills gaps to survive and thrive in an ever-changing, connected digital age.

Playing in both the opportunity and threat fields

Involves giving people permission to be creative and disruptive, to do this, they need to expand their capability, capacity, and confidence for navigating change and develop adaptiveness and agility. They also need to explore new ways of connecting people and technology by:

  • Working at ways to “unfreeze” the status quo, and reduce people’s fears, discomfort, and resistance, to allow for deviant, contrary and opposing views, to seek out diversity and differences of thoughts and ideas within teams.
  • Shifting from conventional ways of thinking and business as usual approaches, towards embracing risk and actively experimenting within a fail fast to learn fast context.

 The leaders’ role in the Digital Age

Requiring leaders to demonstrate in agile business transformations:

  • Deep conviction in their passionate purpose when navigating positive change and uncertainty.
  • Receptivity and readiness, empathy and empowerment in collaborating and leading people and teams in the face of uncertainty.
  • Emotional integrity in their embodiment and enactment of deep presence and the key values and attributes they wish to see in others.
  • Customer and people-centric ways of doing business balanced by commercial business acumen.
  • Execution, digital and risk mastery.

Coaching innovation leaders and teams in the Digital Age

It is more important than ever, to teach people to unlearn, through structured coaching processes, their habitual ways of being, thinking and doing. To create a safe space for people to learn how to embrace creative and collaborative ways of enhancing their bravery, boldness, determination, and courage in uncertain times in the Digital Age by;

  • Imagining new possibilities boldly and optimistically, whilst simultaneously understanding they are quite likely to emerge sooner than expected.
  • Pursuing amusement and wonder, whilst simultaneously trusting that smart risk-taking allows people to learn fast from mistakes and failure.
  • Unlearning knowing and doing what they have always done, whilst simultaneously adopting a beginner’s mind to allow new learnings to occur.
  • Being imaginative and curious about the future and blend new ways of planning, including strategic foresight, scenario planning into conventional business planning.

Key capabilities to prepare people for a future we cannot predict in the Digital Age

Some of the key competencies we can teach and coach people to help prepare them for both agile business transformations, and a future they cannot predict include;

  • Design, creative and critical thinking to help them make sense of and perceive their worlds with fresh eyes.
  • Start-Up Methodologies to experiment with new business models, with iteration and pivoting new services, products and delivery streams that can be scaled and leveraged.
  • Generative Discovery skills in deep listening, questioning and debating to provocate and disrupt the status quo.
  • Teaming and networking to break down silo’s, identify and maximize interdependencies, collaborate & build high-value delivery eco-systems.

Making 24 minutes a day matter

In Josh Bersin’s “The Disruption of Digital Learning: Ten Things we have learned” he revealed that employees are feeling “overwhelmed” and in reality, only have “24 minutes a day to learn”. To seriously prepare people for a future we cannot predict, then we must work harder at making people feel and believe that they matter. Doing this strategically and systemically will energize, catalyze, mobilize and harness people’s receptivity to change and uncertainty and unleash their innovation potential.

What really matters in mastering the challenges of the Digital Age is including culture as part of an agile business transformation.  Where people’s career successes are advanced through coaching, so people feel safe, empowered and have permission to participate in on the job experiential learning in an era of extremely rapid and continuous change in the Digital Age.

Where they can learn from mistakes; supported by effective performance data and rewards systems within a culture of learning to imagine, create, capture and scale hidden value in the increasingly complex and dynamic world in the Digital Age.

At ImagineNation™ we provide innovation coaching, education and culture consulting to help businesses achieve their innovation goals. Because we have done most of the learning and actioning of new hybrid mindsets, behaviors, and skill-sets already, we can help your businesses also do this by opening people up to their innovation potential.

Find out about The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate & deep personalized learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 8-weeks, starting October 22, 2019. It is a deep blended learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles & applications of a human-centered and emergent approach to innovation, within your unique context. Find out more.

Contact us now at to find out how we can partner with you to learn, adapt and grow your business in the digital age.