Companies should build capability to shape the markets of the future…Shannon Chamber members advised

The Shannon region may be synonymous with innovation, but companies can take their innovative processes one step further by introducing futures thinking into their organisations to shape their opportunities and build systems for creating value.

That was the advice of Dr Annmarie Ryan, senior lecturer at the Kenny Business School at the University of Limerick, when she addressed a recent Shannon Chamber webinar.

As founder of the Digital Futures Lab, course director of the new professional diploma in Digital Futures and innovation, and project coordinator for a €.25 million European funded project (EULab), which has the ambition of designing a platform for a European wide network of Mission Labs, to put the design of tomorrow’s world into the hands of the next generation, Dr Ryan was well placed to offer this advice.

During the webinar she advised attendees to consider altering the rules of the game so that their organisations and employees can shape the future not just react to it.

“Getting your team and yourself ready for a changing world requires strategic foresight, a futures mindset, and the ability to shape the wider ecosystem that your organisation operates in,” she said.

She advised companies to support people to develop a futures mindset, which she said, is a vitally important skill that can empower individuals to take an active role in enabling organisations and communities to adapt and strategise for a better future.

Citing the development of autonomous vehicles as an example of businesses shaping their own markets, she said that for driverless cars to reach their commercial potential there will have to be some reconfiguration of the legislative system to accommodate this novel entity and while some changes may be minor, others will require major investments in changing or upgrading existing networks.

“Firms engage in market shaping when they seek to effect the world in which their products and brands operate. They can do this by improving the current market in which they operate in or they can create a new market,” she added.

Advising companies to make space for speculative or anticipatory thinking in their companies, she advised asking questions such as what if this happened in the future and to map out their markets to identify where they can add value, shape the market, or even be a follower.

Shannon Chamber’s CEO Helen Downes described the webinar as most enlightening.

“We will certainly be encouraging our members to view their markets as value-creating systems and to collaborate where necessary or appropriate to influence or shape the context so that more value can be added. Future Mobility Campus Ireland is an ideal example of this type of collaborative market shaping in action,” she said.

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