Viajy Govindarajan, in the May 2016 edition of the Harvard Business reviews, talks about “Planned Opportunism” and “using weak signals to spur innovation”.
The idea starts with recognising that the future is unpredictable, shaped by non-linear changes and chance events – the “opportunism” part. How you as the leader respond is the planned part. Planned opportunism requires sensitivity to weak signals – early evidence of emerging trends from which it is possible to deduce important changes in demography, technology, customer tastes and needs, and economic, environmental, regulatory, and political forces. Attention to weak signals gives rise to fresh perspectives and non-linear thinking, which help an organisation imagine and plan for various plausible futures.
Are you receptive to these weak signals in your coaching practice and what impact might this have for your clients?The article suggests that you should use these weak signals to develop new hypothesis about the future and to test them with low risk experiments.