12 Certainties That Will Transform Every Career and Create New Ones

by Daniel Burrus

As technology continues to impact our lives, workers in today’s ever-changing labor market need to be prepared with skills to adapt and succeed in the workplace.

The problem is, we live in an uncertain world, and because of the high levels of uncertainty we all face, people of all ages and career levels are finding it difficult to know what new skills to learn, what courses to take, and what degrees to get that will provide them with the most opportunity going forward.  Uncertainty keeps us stuck in the present.

Certainty, on the other hand, gives us the confidence to make a decision, to move forward, and to invest time and money to learn new things. Over the past thirty years, I have developed and proven the power of the science of certainty.  The science of certainty involves a scientific method of separating Hard Trends – trends that willhappen – from Soft Trends – trends that might happen. This method is currently being used by many Fortune 500 companies including IBM, Deloitte, and Pratt & Whitney to name a few, to provide an accurate roadmap of the opportunities that are ahead.

That’s why I’m launching a list of 12 Certainties that will transform every career, and create new ones. By providing an accurate roadmap for anyone who wishes to increase their personal career relevancy in a world of transformative change, you can now make career and education decisions with confidence. The list highlights technologies that are now, and will continue to transform present and future careers.  As you read through the list, ask yourself how each one will play a key role in your industry and your personal career path.

  1. Mobile Hardware, Software and Services will continue to rapidly evolve creating many new careers, as all phones become smartphones and our primary computer and tablets continue to evolve as our laptop replacement.This new level of mobility will allow any size business to transform how they market, sell, communicate, collaborate, educate, train, and innovate.
  2. Remote Visual Communications will become a primary relationship-building tool for businesses of all sizes asemployees use smartphones, tablets, and laptops, in combination with current video conferencing systems, to communicate at new levels with customers, partners, and employees.
  3. Social Business Enterprise Management will grow rapidly as organizations shift from an Information Age “informing” model to a Communication Age “communicating and engaging” model. New careers will emerge as Social Software for business rapidly grows with applications to enhance relationships, collaboration, networking, social validation, and more. Social Search will increasingly shape careers as marketers, researchers and those on Wall Street create applications and services to tap into millions of daily tweets and Facebook conversations, providing real-time analysis of many key consumer metrics.
  4. Cyber Security and Forensics careers will grow rapidly as we become increasingly connected and dependent on computer systems and machines using intelligent sensors connected to just about everything. Careers in data and information forensics will grow rapidly as the need to solve cyber crimes increases.
  5. Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) will create many new careers in manufacturing as this revolutionary technology allows any size company to manufacture quickly, locally and with far fewer costs. Additive manufacturing builds things by depositing material, typically plastic or metal, layer by layer until the final product is finished. Examples of final products today include jewelry, iPhone cases, shoes, car dashboards, parts for jet engines, prosthetic limbs and much more.
  6. Gamification of Education will create many new careers as corporations and educational institutions at all levels accelerate learning by using advanced simulations and skill-based learning systems that are self-diagnostic, interactive, game-like, and competitive, all focused on giving the user an immersive experience thanks to a photo-realistic 3D interface.
  7. Cloud Services and Virtualization will be increasingly embraced by businesses of all sizes, as this represents a major shift in how organizations obtain and maintain software, hardware, and computing capacity. IT is rapidly becoming an on-demand service that is rapidly transforming all business processes resulting in a rapid evolution of current careers as well as creating new careers in every functional area.
  8. Big Data and Real-Time Analytics describe the technologies and techniques used to capture and utilize the exponentially increasing streams of data with the goal of bringing enterprise-wide visibility and insights to make rapid critical decisions. This new level of data integration and analytics will require many new skills and cross-functional training in order to take advantage of new opportunities as well as breakdown the many data and organizational silos that still exist.
  9. Intelligent ePersonal Assistants using natural language voice commands was launched with Apple’s Siri, which was rapidly followed by Google, Microsoft, and others all offering what will become a mobile electronic concierge on your phone, tablet, and television. The technology will rapidly evolve and soon every profession from retailers to maintenance workers will have a Siri-like assistant. Adding an e-personal assistant to support an existing product and/or service will create many new careers.
  10. 3D Web will transform today’s Internet experience (which is like looking at a flat piece of paper with a few photos, embedded video, and a few hyperlinks) to a true 3D experience, similar to todays video games, where you can virtually walk into a showroom, look around and both listen to and see the new car you are interested in, or whatever the website is trying to show you. This will employ many new graphic artists, designers and programmers.
  11. Connected Intelligent Objects using chips, microsensors and both wired and wireless networks will create a rapidly growing “Internet of things” sharing real-time data, performing diagnostics, and making remote repairs. Many jobs will be created as we add intelligent connected sensors to bridges, roads, buildings, homes and much more. By 2020, there will be well over a billion machines talking to each other and people will install them.
  12.  Advanced Robotics and Automation will take a giant leap forward thanks to networked sensors, artificial intelligence, and Siri-like voice communications, taking the next level of repetitive jobs from humans. This will create many new career opportunities from design, programming, and installation to service and maintenance, to name just a few.

You don’t have to know the physics of a telephone in order to use it.  You do have to know it exists and how to creatively use it to accomplish your goal. Don’t wait until next year, or the year after, or until you’re laid off. Invest the time to identify what you need to learn right away so that you will thrive both now and in the future, either in your current career or a new one.

There is a Science and an Art to Every Profession

by Daniel Burrus

Every profession has both a science and an art. The science can be taught, and people can be equally good at the science of any profession. The key to differentiate yourself in your profession is to develop the art side, not just the science side.

For example, I was at a photography workshop recently, and I met people who had all of the latest equipment—cameras, lenses, tripods, everything—and they knew the science of photography very well. Many of them were on an equal footing with their knowledge of the equipment, yet their ability to take stunning photographs varied quite a bit. In other words, there is an art side to being able to capture that amazing picture.

The same is true with any profession, whether you are in sales, IT, customer service, or even medicine. After all, if healing was only a science, it wouldn’t matter who your doctor was. But you and I both know it does matter who your doctor is, and it’s not because of the science; it’s because of the art. It’s about what the individual brings to their medical practice—their uniqueness, their problem-solving ability, their diagnostic capabilities, and their way of solving problems in real time when they’re working on you.

Here’s a case in point: A number of years ago, one of my brothers was having a problem with a pain in his leg that wouldn’t go away. He went to an orthopedic surgeon. After an exam, the surgeon diagnosed the problem and decided that my brother needed surgery to repair it.

So my brother did what we all should do: He got a second opinion. This second doctor didn’t make a diagnosis, but recommended exploratory surgery. I suggested to my brother that he get one more opinion.

He then went to a third orthopedic surgeon. This doctor looked at my brother and asked, “Do you always wear your belt at the same height on your pants? Or does it vary?”

My brother replied, “No, I always wear my belt at this height every day.”

“Do you always wear a leather belt?” the doctor continued.

“Yes, I always wear a leather belt,” my brother replied.

The doctor said, “Why don’t you try a squishy belt that flexes? Just see if that works. If the problem persists, then come back.”

My brother tried a squishy belt, and it wasn’t very long before the problem went away completely.

Apparently, the problem was that a nerve was being cut off by the belt. Fortunately, this third doctor had mastered the art of medicine. He knew to go beyond the science and notice the subtleties of each patient … and to take that into account before making a diagnosis.

Which of those doctors would you rather have? I don’t know about you, but I want the squishy belt guy. I want the doctor who is more creative, who is looking at the bigger picture, who is thinking outside of the box. I want a doctor who has developed both the science and the art of his profession.

Again, every profession has an art and a science. So as we start another year, it’s important to ask yourself a number of questions, including:

  • Am I learning and maximizing the science side of my profession?
  • Am I taking the classes I need to take?
  • Am I updating and upgrading myself?
  • Am I getting training on all the new tools and capabilities that will help me do my job better?

But don’t stop there. Continue with the art-focused questions:

  • Am I reading about creativity and problem solving?
  • Am I making sure that I’m not too quick to judge?
  • Have I found a mentor who is sharing his or her knowledge and wisdom with me?
  • Am I working on the art side of my profession, or am I just working on the science side?”

When you focus on both the art and the science of your profession, you’ll find yourself at the top of your profession and have great success and prosperity for years to come.

Why Are Japan’s Electronics Giants Failing?

by Daniel Burrus

We recently learned that Sharp Electronics is projecting a $5.6 billion full-year loss. They warned that the company had material troubles and didn’t even know if it could survive.

Panasonic, another classic name that we’ve all bought products from in the past, has a forecast of a $9.6 billion annual loss. This includes losses from products including solar panels, batteries and primarily their mobile handset business.

The third and most classic name of all is probably Sony. They are amazing in that they own the content, the devices (including phones, televisions, PlayStation, and their desktop and laptop computer models), and the content creation component (owning both music and film studios). Yet they are posting a loss of $194 million…for the quarter (not for the year). In all categories, their sales have continued to fall.

In contrast to these three companies, we have companies like Apple and Samsung. Although Apple’s stock has been down in recent months, Apple (as well as Samsung) has been doing well this year.

What’s happening? In essence, Sharp, Panasonic, and Sony have not been using the certainties hard trends offer and instead have been reacting and following instead of anticipating and leading. These three large companies have always been known as innovative, but they’re no longer on the leading edge. They’ve failed the vision test and have fallen to the bleeding edge of innovation.

The terms “leading edge” and “bleeding edge” used to have a different connotation than what I’m giving them today. In the past, the “bleeding edge” meant you were on the cutting edge of innovation. Unfortunately, on the cutting edge, the knife is sharp. You end up bleeding because you make mistakes launching new products, as some work and some don’t.

One of the strategies I’ve always shared with companies is that I don’t want you on the bleeding edge of the blade. I want you on the leading edge of the blade, because there are sharper parts and duller parts of that cutting edge. One way to be on the leading edge, rather than the bleeding edge, is to look at other industries and the innovations taking place there. Then, use those innovations in your industry, where they haven’t been done before.

This way, the innovation has been tried. The bugs have been worked out. The bleeding has taken place by other industries.  And now, by bringing that innovation into your industry, you can be the innovator without doing all the bleeding because other companies have already done that. That’s how you can lead and not bleed.

This is a sound strategy. But when it comes to tech giants like the Japanese electronics firms, they have all failed to use the three change accelerators I described in my book Flash Foresight – processing power, bandwidth and storage and the exponential and predictable trajectory of each one to envision and create the must have products and services consumers will pay dearly to have.  Instead, they have only implemented incremental innovations that make them look like they are following the leaders. As a result, many of their products have a “me too!” look and feel.

Let’s use Sony as an example. One of the problems they’re having is with gaming. Why? Because gaming is increasingly moving to the phone and the tablet, which means that people don’t necessarily need to buy the gaming device in order to have a great gaming experience. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we will see an end to those higher-end gaming systems. However it does mean that as phones and tablets get more powerful and tap into the computing process up in the cloud, game unit sales will increasingly have to fight an uphill battle. So while Sony needs to keep creating innovative gaming systems for their high-end customers, they also need to make sure they are porting the software over to work well with innovative peripherals they can sell to smart phone and tablet gamers to create better gaming experiences for this rapidly growing set of users. This is only one small example of how Sony can use hard trends to create innovative new products.

The point is that whether you’re making phones, tablets, e-readers, gaming systems, movies, or anything else, you have to look at where technology is going using hard trends and the power of certainty if you want to anticipate rather than react.   Another simple example is that smart phones are becoming smarter every year, and at an exponential rate. Also, we can store almost unlimited amounts of movies, videos, and games in the cloud. And as the devices become less expensive, the functionality gets even greater. Using these simple hard trends, you can then start to see how to create innovative products that take advantage of the predictable changes they represent.

My message to the Japanese electronics companies is to shift from reacting to change to anticipating it by using the certainty of hard trends to drive game-changing innovations that will position you as a leader rather than a follower.

Did Social Media Play a Role in Obama’s Victory?

by Daniel Burrus

When President Obama won his first election four years ago, it was widely reported that he used social media (especially Facebook) to help gain the momentum and the votes he needed to win. From that point on, it should have been a given that all future political candidates put full utilization of social media high on their list of strategic tools as they run their campaigns.

Back in January, I wrote an article talking about the fact that social media has grown in both size and influence since the last presidential election, and there are now many powerful social media tools available to candidates. Therefore, having an integrated approach that leverages multiple sites, with a special focus on the biggest players including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, would provide a very important strategic advantage.

Now that we all know that President Obama has won re-election with a decisive victory, let’s look at how each candidate used social media and see if there are any differences.

As of election night, President Obama had 32 million Facebook fans, 21 million Twitter followers, and 259,685 YouTube views.

On the other hand, Mitt Romney had 12 million Facebook fans, 1.7 million Twitter followers, and only 29,172 YouTube views.

Clearly the Obama team knew the importance of social media as a tool and did a much better job of using it to create both influence and action.

Some might say that Mitt Romney didn’t have the four years President Obama had to build a social media following.  But if you look at how fast a following can be built, especially by people who get prime media attention, it’s clear that time is not a big factor. And when you look at the advertising budgets both candidates had, money clearly was not an issue.

The biggest problem for Mitt Romney and his team was not making an integrated social media strategy a strategic priority. If it had been a priority, the election may have ended very differently.

Did social media make a difference in the outcome of the election? When you have a close race, everything matters. So with that in mind, I would answer yes.

Please share your thoughts.

Business Is Starting To Understand the Power of Social Multi-Media

by Daniel Burrus

The pace of technological change is accelerating rapidly. In the case of social media, it is rapidly becoming social multi-media, meaning we have the addition of photos, graphics, animation, music, video, and more. Why is this happening? Because social media really isn’t about the word “media”; it’s about the word “social.”  It’s about sharing. And as you know, we have lots of different ways to share online.

We have social photo sharing such as Flicker, social video sharing such as YouTube, social game playing in 3D environments, and many others. But what we’re seeing today is that all the social media sites are making it easier for users to add any and all types of media to their posts, thus creating a new multi-media form of social sharing.Google Plus, for example, takes Twitter to a new level in that it allows us, very easily, to put photographs and videos within our social communications. Facebook has allowed us to do that for some time and it’s now making that easier and easier.

The point is that we’ll increasingly see videos, photography, graphics, animation, and 3-dimensional simulations as a part of social media, because, reading words is one thing; actually seeing those words come to life is another.  It’s human nature to humanize technology and adding different types of media to what we are sharing makes the sharing more meaningful, connected and fun.

One of the key benefits of social media is creating social trust. This is important for business to understand, because when you say your product or service is the best, people may or may not believe you. But when people see their friends and others “just like them” saying something is the best, now you’ve developed social trust for your claims. People are then inclined to think: “My friends and colleagues are saying this product is the best, it must be.”

So how do businesses humanize the social media ads and marketing campaigns they’re implementing? They will humanize them with photographs and videos of employees; happy customers using you’re their products, and illustrations of how customers have saved time and money using their services.  It’s time for business to go beyond simply writing blogs and posting tweets, they need to embrace the quickly evolving world of social multi-media.

Can You Predict What’s Next for Apple After the iPhone 5?

by Daniel Burrus

Apple is known for keeping future versions of its products (especially the iPhone) a close secret.  Is it possible to predict what the iPhone 6, 7, and 8 might be like? The fact is, using the science of Hard Trends, we know a lot about those future iPhone versions yet to be created and released.

Think about it. Will the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 7 have a faster processor than the iPhone 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1?  And the answer is, “Yes. Thanks to technology innovations that keep Moore’s Law valid, new electronic devices always have faster chips.”

Will future iPhones allow users to send and store even more of our digital stuff in the cloud, or is the cloud getting full? And, as we all know, Apple will have no problem in creating more room for us to put more in the cloud, and it will be increasingly easier to do that.

iPhone users have had 3G wireless and with the iPhone 5 they will now have 4G lite. Is that it? Or might we be able to predict what they’ll call the next one? Of course…there will be 5G, followed by 6G and 7G. I’ve been graphing the predictable progress of bandwidth, storage and processing power for thirty years and I can assure you we’re not at the end of that at all.

Will we have better 3D maps and navigation on the iPhone 6 and 7? Of course!

Will Siri, Apple’s intelligent electronic assistant, be more human like and better at answering your questions with the iPhone 6, 7 and 8? Absolutely!

Will there be an even better form factor and display, or is the new display the best it could ever be? And the answer is, “Humans have a way of making things better and better and better in surprisingly predictable ways.”

When you think the future is completely unpredictable when it comes to technology, ask yourself, “What do I know about the future based on the evolutionary stages I’ve observed in the past?” You’ll surprise yourself with what you might find out.

The type of predictable change I have been describing I call linear change, it is one way. Once you get a smart phone you will not go back to a dumb phone. This is very different than cyclical change such as climate; after summer comes fall, or seasonal recurring events such New Years, or the fluctuations of the stock market. Both linear and cyclical change types produce “hard trends,” trends that we know will happen, once we take the time to think about and identify them.

So when you’re starting to think about a new version of anything, whether it’s the iPhone 6, 7, or 8, or whether it’s some other technology, look at the hard trends and what you already know. The answers you can accurately reveal about the future will astound you.

Apple’s Message to the World: Innovate, Don’t Imitate

by Daniel Burrus

Apple’s victory in the Samsung patent case sends a hidden, but clear message to the business world: Innovating is far better than imitating.

Many of the patents that were under question in the Apple case are familiar to consumers. For example, the pinch-to-zoon gesture, where you pinch the screen to make something smaller and move your fingers apart to make the image larger, is just one of many Apple features deemed an imitation by Samsung.

Even though Samsung made the phone that triggered the lawsuit, Google made the Android operating system used within the phone. So this lawsuit has an impact, in an indirect yet powerful way, on Google because for every iPhone sold worldwide, more than three smart phones running Android are sold, and many of these are Samsungs. It’s clear that Google has implemented many of its own mobile OS innovations, but it is also clear to the court that it has been doing a good job of imitating Apple’s features and functionality. If you look beyond Google to the entire smart phone and tablet industry, including Amazon’s latest tablet reader, it might seem like they are forced to copy Apple’s features because Apple is so far ahead in leading the industry.

Does that mean the entire industry is stuck imitating the world’s richest company? They don’t have to be, unless you believe that all the best ideas have already been taken.

Many decades ago, the U.S. government was considering closing the patent office because they felt that everything had been invented. Obviously, they were wrong. In 2009, when I started an Apps business, I heard a news report that said, “If you’re thinking of starting an apps company, don’t bother. There are already 100,000 apps in the Apple store and all of the good app ideas are already taken.” But I saw a different picture. I knew we were at the base of a mountain of massive change, so I ignored that report.

When we released our first app a few months later, we were the 17th most downloaded app within the first week. We were featured in The Wall Street Journal and Forbes, and on national television. I’m glad I didn’t listen to that news report.

The best smart phone and tablet ideas have not been invented yet!  That’s because we’re on a graph that is going extremely high and fast in terms of transformational change. We have processing power, storage, and bandwidth in a state of exponential change. Yes, they’ve been like that for many years, but now they’re in the “big deal” phase.  We are at the base of a mountain filled with opportunity for those who think beyond the product and innovate around the core.  Apple’s success is not just the smart phone or the tablet or their operating system. Rather, it’s a finely-tuned ecosystem that includes both the supply chain and the demand chain that focuses all of their products into a powerful user experience that’s highly-compelling.

From the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and iTunes to iCloud, iPhoto, iMovie, and iBook to MacBooks and Apple desktops, all the offerings have a familiar look and feel. If you can use one, you can use them all, and better yet, you want them all. Then there’s Apple TV, and it’s not hard to see that you could take an iPad, make it bigger, put it in your living room, and call it an iTV. It’s very clear that something like that is on the way.

So the smart phone, the smart TV, the smart tablet, and all our devices are changing so fast that copying will keep you behind. You just can’t catch up by imitating anymore. The verdict in favor of Apple is not about a billion dollar settlement, it is more about the fact that innovation isn’t just important—it’s everything.

Neil Armstrong and Doing the Impossible

by Daniel Burrus

As I travel around the world as a strategic advisor and keynote speaker, I have the privilege of meeting many amazing people, including presidents, prime ministers, and Fortune 50 CEOs, just to name a few. Several years ago when I was speaking in Jordan at a leadership summit, I had the pleasure of meeting Neil Armstrong. Of all the people I’ve met, I must admit that this meeting was the one I was most looking forward to. So as you might guess, I, along with millions if not billions of others around the world, was saddened by his recent passing. In his memory, I wanted to share a story he shared that I believe has a profound message for our time.

He said that in the years of research, innovation, and testing that led up to his first footstep on the moon, there were many times that NASA engineers and scientists would reach an impossible roadblock. During these times they would say, “We will have to halt the mission. There is no scientific solution to this problem.” Or, “We have tried everything imaginable to solve this problem and we can’t solve it.”

He went on to say that every time NASA’s best thinkers and scientists reached an impossible roadblock, they were told, “We are going to the moon.” And every time they would look at each other and say, “Okay…got it,” and then they would try again and again. Soon, they would have a solution that worked. He said this happened many times, and each time the impossible turned out to be possible once they were reminded of the impossible mission they were on.

Having a compelling vision for where you want to go or what you want to do—something that is bigger than any one person, something that might even seem impossible—is the kind of vision that can cause people to want to do more, want to reach higher, want to keep trying.

Remember, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not stand up in front of all those people in Washington, DC and say, “I have a plan.” Rather, he said, “I have a dream.” And his dream was not to get elected or make vast sums of money. His dream was to better mankind. Putting a man on the moon was similar. It was a dream we could all share—a vision that would not have us question the cost—so we did it.

When Neil Armstrong was about to take that first step off the ladder and onto the moon’s surface, he did not say, “One small step for a NASA astronaut; one giant leap for the Untied States.” He knew that going to the moon was a human achievement for all of mankind.

Whether you are the leadership of a country, a company, a business, or a school, when you find yourself faced with something that seems impossible, remember how we put a man on the moon—by keeping a dream, an articulated vision of what we want to do, as a picture in our mind’s eye. Human history has taught us that nothing is impossible when we have a big dream that is converted into a shared vision.

Is Social Media Dying?

by Daniel Burrus

On May 18, 2012, Facebook launched its IPO. It was the first big IPO failure we’ve had in the tech sector in a long time. Naturally, this event caused us to question, “Is this a game-changer, in a negative way, for other IPOs in the social media space? Will this slow the growth of social media?”

The answer is “no,” it’s only a bump in the road, although a big one, because social media is far more than just Facebook. Social media has many categories, and Facebook represents the category of social networking, which is different than LinkedIn, which represents the social media category of professional networking, which is different than FourSquare, which represents geosocial networking, which is different than WordPress, which represents blogging, which is different than Twitter, which represents microblogging, which is different than YouTube, which is about video sharing, which is different than Flicker, which is about photo sharing, which is different than SlideShare, which is about slide sharing.

All of these are categories, each with a category leader. In this case, Facebook is the category leader of social networking. But let’s remember that before Facebook, MySpace was the leader of social networking.

So Facebook is not the king of social media; it’s the current king of social networking within the world of social media. And as we continue to innovate and invent new ways for people to connect and share, there will be new categories of social media that will catch on in both the business and personal realms.

Looking back, Facebook was obviously very over-valued at $100 billion. Today, Facebook itself says it’s worth maybe $60 billion. Some analysts have said it’s worth $50 billion, which is still a lot of money but way lower than the initial hype. I talked about this hype in a previous blog post, which you can read here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-burrus/will-facebooks-ipo-change_b_1260423.html.

As for the most recent financial performance of Facebook, they came within estimates. But, again, the hype was so over-hyped that it was still a disappointment. Personally, I would not give up on Facebook and its ability to be an advertising/marketing machine. The key question is, “At what price is that investment worth?”

Going forward, the goal for Facebook is to not just continue to innovate, which they did before going public, but to show how they can generate revenue and meet expectations. That’s a different focus for them. Now rather than just focus on innovation and doing “cool” things, they have to be looking at quarterly earnings, managing short-term profitability, and deciding how to generate new revenue. The key question is, can they manage that without sacrificing trust and the user experience and making their users decide to go somewhere else to do their sharing?

Are You The Disrupter or the Disrupted?

by Daniel Burrus

Thanks to advances is processing power, storage, and bandwidth, our devices are getting exponentially smarter each year. For example, a data processing task that would have taken two days to complete in 2010 now takes just 10 minutes. That’s powerful!

As a result, our smart phones and tablets are getting smarter fast. And because we can use our smart phones and tablets to tap into super computers in the cloud, we now have super-computing capabilities in the palm of our hand, no matter where we are in the world.

While rapid changes like this usually brings major disruption to the way business has been done, let’s remember one key thing: Disruptive technology is only disruptive if you didn’t know about it ahead of time.

If you use a strategy I’ve been talking about for years, namely separating the hard trends (the trends that will happen) from the soft trends (the trends that might happen), and you use that knowledge to make the disruptive technologies visible before they disrupt, you can then ask yourself an important question: “Do I want to be the disrupter or the disrupted?”

Frankly, I would rather be the disrupter, using predictable disruption to my advantage. But since many organizations have a large infrastructure, they’re unwilling or slow to change and take on that role. They have technologies that have, in some cases, been in use for decades—what we call “legacy technology”—but it’s not the legacy technology that’s the real problem. It’s the organization’s “legacy thinking” that gets in the way of positive and productive change.

In reality, you need to get past legacy thinking by identifying the hard trends that will impact you and your customers in the near future so you can more clearly see a path to greater profitability in the years ahead.

In the past, we tended to work hard at protecting and defending what we have. That approach further entrenched us in our current business model. The more we protect and defend what we have, the more we’re engrained with our current model. A better approach is to reconsider our business model based on the predictable changes that are heading our way.

It’s clear that over the next five years we’re not just going to change; we’re going to transform how we sell, market, communicate, collaborate, innovate, train, and educate. And much of that transformation is driven by mobility.

So it’s time to take a look at your business model and determine if you are transforming (not merely changing) it based on the hard trends—the certainties—you can see going forward. And if you are, are you doing it fast enough? Remember, the future is all about speed and relevancy. So now that you have the speed and power in your hands, it’s time to use it…and fast.