Years ago, at a futurists’ workshop for a telecommunications business, the workshop participants were briefed on technological, industry, social, and political trends.
They were then split into groups and assigned roles representing their own business, or those of a potential competitor.
The gist of the workshop was for these different groups to step forward in time – looking for technology and commercial insights – in 5, 10, and 20 years time.
Surprisingly some of their insights from the workshop turned out to be pretty accurate. For example, that in 20 years, AI assistants would play and increasingly important role in our user experience. (We now have Siri and Alexa.)
This futurist experience got me thinking about consultants and Thought Leadership.
Thought Leadership sounds like a grand thing for big consulting firms only. The likes of Bain, Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey. It doesn’t have to be though.
You too can comment on trends and scenarios. And, just like the telecommunications company futurists, you just need to apply some informed, intelligent, guesswork.
Right now we have some macro-trends in the world. COVID-19, climate change, AI, augmented reality, inequality, and UK transition. (For more of these macro-trends just read the insights on the big consultancy firms’ websites.)
You also have your own consultancy’s niche trends. Just stop for a moment and write down 3-5 of these.
Now combine some of your niche-trends with the macro-trends. What scenarios do you now see that are predictable (12 months); plausible (3 years); and possible (10 years)?
Figure out why these trends and scenarios should matter to your clients. And that’s your thought leadership.
You’ll have developed fresh insights that clients are interested in, want to engage with, and talk about. These position you as a ‘go-to’ for your discipline. That’s really the only reason for becoming a Thought Leader.