Dr Mićić, you are an internationally known expert on future management. What fascinates you about the future and what was the trigger for your interest in the complex field of futurology?
Future is a place which offers unused opportunities. But also threats. This is what fascinates me. My theme is not futurology but future management. Futurology only offers the raw material, whereas in future management we examine our own assumptions for the future and make them more solid. We become aware of potential surprises, prepare ourselves to identify opportunities and turn threats to opportunities, we develop a mission, vision and future strategy and work towards this vision with agile planning.
Your consultancy FutureManagementGroup supports companies and top decision-makers from economy, politics and administration in developing future strategies. What significance do future strategies have for companies?
I believe a future-robust, motivating vision and future strategy which is effective for employees is the most profitable investment. Because everything will be designed in a more precise, more focused and thus a more congruent way, every thought, activity, process and project.
What kinds of questions do you usually hear from companies?
What does lie ahead and what does not? What kinds of risks and threats will the future bring? How can I safeguard my business for the future? How can we best position our company for future markets? How can we steer the business easier and more motivating with a clear mission and vision? How do we design a future-robust business model?
What are the challenges a company must face when developing a future strategy?
The most important one is that the human brain could not care less about the future. Virtually all other challenges are a result of this fact. For this reason, people do not invest enough time, find it exhausting to think about the future, and when they finally have a clear future strategy, more energy is needed again and again to have people conduct themselves accordingly.
Is there such a thing as a recipe for a successful strategy?
A guarantee for success does not exist. But there are many requirements. Just a few examples: It must be precise and straightforward, and this can only be achieved when the people involved in the decision-making process have developed it together. It must provide security, which means potential surprises have to be incorporated. It must be credible and provide confidence, which means it must be based on future opportunities. It must offer a meaning of work, a concrete use for the customers and for mankind if possible.
What kind of role does simplicity play in your life?
Simplicity frees up thoughts and time for really difficult and complex matters. Simplicity is a true art. Complicated is easy, simple is difficult.
What kind of role will simplicity play in the future?
I believe its benefit and importance will continue to strongly increase. The world is becoming increasingly more complex and faster. Complexity slows us down. IT which has parted with the very comprehensive and complex exercise sheets in favor of agile processes is the best example. But also the disappearance of manuals for hardware and software. Successful providers make the use of their products as easy and simple as possible so we can do without a manual. This was still very different ten or twenty years ago.
Simplicity, a trend that will continue?
As mentioned above, the benefit and importance of simplicity will increase and will never be less important again in my opinion.
How do you succeed in reducing a complex process, for instance the development of a future strategy, to the most significant points? How do you proceed to help a company achieve more simplicity?
The first step is to have the opposite of simplicity, namely variety. Many ideas, many options, many opportunities, many potential threats. Then you need a methodology to filter out the most significant points with the help of criteria, in several rounds if necessary.
Thank you very much for this interview Dr. Mićić!
Dr. Pero Mićić is a leading international expert in future management. He is CEO of the FutureManagementGroup AG (www.FutureManagementGroup.com) and Director of the Leader‘s Foresight Institute.
He advises the management teams and strategists of large corporations and leading medium-sized companies on the preparation for future markets and the development of well-grounded scenarios, motivating visions and effective strategies.
Pero Mićić is the author of „Wie wir uns täglich die Zukunft versauen“ (How we mess up the future every day, International Book Award), „The Five Future Glasses“ („Most Significant Futures Work“ Award); „Das ZukunftsRadar“ (The future radar) and „Der ZukunftsManager“ (The future manager). He studied Business and Future Studies in Germany and in the USA and received his PhD in the UK.
Mićić is a lecturer at renowned universities and colleges and a frequent keynote speaker at international symposia and functions. He is a founding member of the Association of Professional Futurists in the USA, on the advisory board of the Master’s Degree course in Future Studies in Houston, Business Centurion of the Leeds Business School and was president of the advisory board of the European Futurists Conference.
The cooperation between DATAGROUP and Dr. Mićić started in 2013, when the company engaged him as an expert for the development of the future strategy DATAGROUP 2020. Last year, the strategy, which was published in 2015, was examined and developed further. In this context, DATAGROUP also relied on the experience of Dr. Mićić and the FutureManagementGroup AG.