So much for the status quo… As we discovered by studying scores of leading experts and innovators, research confirms what most already suspect: Continuous change is the new norm in business. Happily, in today’s highly-disruptive world, innovation is just another word for improvisation—and anyone can adapt to new and novel problems the same way leading innovators do: By studying problems, brainstorming original solutions, then steadily trying and improving as they go.
Looking to stay ahead of the curve in your career or business? Doing so may be simpler than you suspect. The answer: To thrive in fast-changing times, change with them; to future-proof yourself, become more flexible. Organizations like Amazon and Google create competitive advantage by consistently experimenting with and learning from new ideas. Individuals succeed more frequently by thinking fast on their feet and resiliently forging ahead despite setbacks, not possessing greater IQ or inborn talent. As becomes more obvious when you take a closer look at how modern leaders succeed, winning isn’t about having more resources these days, rather being more resourceful; getting ahead not about being a genius, but more ingenious instead.
Keeping this in mind, to succeed in fast-moving and highly unpredictable environments, you’ve got to find the courage to take chances. In uncertain times, everyone wants to be risk-free. Instead, you can create competitive advantage by being risk-averse—recognizing that change is coming, and making smart, calculated, and cost-affordable bets that can help you gain the insights, talents or capabilities today that will be in-demand tomorrow. Whatever your stated goal, pick a portfolio of promising growth activities to try—launch a new product line or re-launch an existing one; attend night school or take online computer programming courses—and start pursuing them immediately. Just don’t sit still while times, trends and competitors are also evolving. Staying ahead of the curve is easier than it sounds, as long as you’re staying in constant motion.