Fantasising about the future is one of my favourite pastimes. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, in fact, I’d argue the problem comes when you aren’t able to do so.
As any entrepreneur will tell you, the difficulty is being able to plan for the future - we’re all busy enough as it is with our day to day lives. Now, more so than at any other point in history, fresh ideas become stale very quickly. New innovations are altering the way we work and live at an unprecedented speed. Reacting to this, let alone staying one step ahead, is an almighty challenge.
Futureproofing a business now means constant evolution, not just a task you undertake every couple of years, this wasn’t always the case. We recently hosted the 20th Fast Track 100 event in London, during which I noticed the conversations going on between the founders in the room were very different from those at the first one we hosted two decades ago. I’m not sure too many people were talking about the nimbleness or agility of their businesses back then.
During that time Virgin has worked hard to support the next generation of entrepreneurs. One of the most effective ways we’re now able to do so is through Virgin StartUp, with the not-for-profit company gives new entrepreneurs access to loans at very low interest rates, mentorship and business advice to help them make a success of their business.
Virgin StartUp ambassadors and Richard Branson
The average age of a Virgin StartUp entrepreneur is 27; some of those we’re helping to bring through will be the top business leaders of tomorrow. Providing them with more of an insight into what their future careers could hold would be invaluable. Although it’s not just entrepreneurs, watching my grandchildren grow up often gets me thinking about what sort of world they’ll be living and working in.
It was with this mind that we recently decided to convene a meeting of minds to help shed some light on what the next 20 years in business will actually look like. I was joined by futures analyst Dr James Bellini, entrepreneur Cindy Gallop, futurist Tracey Follows and Blockchain co-founder Peter Smith for a fascinating working lunch.
Having listened to their thoughts and, at times, rather out there visions of the future, what particularly struck me was the underlying message of positivity that came through. This is especially good news for entrepreneurs, who have the capacity to make such a positive difference in people’s lives – we’ll now have even more tools and opportunities at our disposal to do so.
It’s the thoughts of these four experts, along with cognitive neuroscientist Araceli Camargo and futurist and author Ben Hammersley, that will form the basis for our new series Future Visions. Over the next six weeks we’ll be releasing podcast episodes, animations and essays that offer an eye-opening insight into the future. We’ll cover everything from the haptic technology that will allow us to control devices through our brainwaves, to the real impact on profits margins increased diversity will actually have.
What does your future vision look like?