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How do you spot the trends in your industry?

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Back in 2012 the annual IBM survey of CEOs from around the world revealed that managing complexity was the biggest concern executives had.  It revealed how CEOs are looking to better connect and collaborate – inside and outside the organization – to meet the staggering complexity of the challenges their organizations are facing.

Except the reality of many managers lives present them with a major dichotomy.  For many, they are well aware of studies such as this one that are imploring that they tap into trends, create partnerships and innovate widely and openly, but they are faced with an overwhelming need to meet deadlines, objectives and demands from their own bosses, their peers and of course their customers.

There is such a demand from the here and now to be as efficient and as effective as possible that it’s often incredibly difficult to spare any time or energy for the future.  On an organizational level it’s often very difficult for companies to switch focus towards innovating for the future when so much of their energy goes on bringing cash in from their existing product lines, and it’s frequently this very same dilemma that employees face on an individual level too.

Monitoring trends and making connections is undoubtedly a full-time position, and this is something that many organizations seem to be taking on board.  For instance, pharma company Bristol Myers Squibb have an employee who’s job title is Ideas Searcher, whose job is to hunt down trends and ideas for the company, whether that’s doing a search themselves or organizing the collation of knowledge from others within the company.

This kind of role is certainly a growing one within enterprises, with that individual, or sometimes a team, responsible for driving innovation and insights within their organization.  It’s also something that I aim to provide myself, whether it’s through this blog, through the white papers that I write, the coaching that I perform or the editing and curating that I undertake.

With innovation as important as it’s ever been for the competitive advantage of our organizations, I believe this function is a critical one.  Who hunts for ideas within your own organization?

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