No, there was one too many *#% for it to spell that. Quite simply, Futurists are fuelled for success. In this ever changing, rapidly transforming economy where the traditional conservative “protect my patch” economy meets the disruptive market entrants, it is game on for those who can look into the future.

I’m not saying that these kids are on their hoover boards like Michael J. Fox when he goes back to the future, but these futurists can see the writing on the wall. They are intuitive as to the patterns of the future economy and they are fuelled for success because of it.  They are doing business with the leading industries of tomorrow and they are often advising the companies stuck in 1994, on what is happening in 2025. Look at some of the traditional accounting firms like KPMG and Deloitte, and it is the future thinkers like Bernard Salt and Pete @rexster Williams who are the brains trust for their respective firms as to what industries they need to focus on tomorrow.

The pyramid is becoming inverted, we are flipping upside down – think Uber, PayPal, eBay, Tesla, AirBNB, Thankyou Group, Alibaba and Facebook:

sharing economy

Who would have thought that Kogan would become a household brand of kitchen appliances and food, that we can get a safe cab in 2 minutes via an app and that we can book our fellow Australians’ home to stay in a matter of seconds? Who would’ve thought that kids coming out of university would not want to work for a major bank but prefer a social enterprise or start-up? Who would think that our major ASX listed company boardrooms would be hiring advertising executives, digital natives and dotcom idols?

Sometimes I can’t help but bang on about my frustrations with this Australian mentality that we have 4 banks, 3 Gen-tailers and 2 food suppliers all supplying the 24 million people across the world. Yes, sometimes Australian companies think the world is an island with 24 million people.  The reason this is frustrating is because these companies didn’t exist like this once upon a time. I worked for one of them during my teenage years so I got told the history and what an amazing family and entrepreneurial success story it was on its fight to serve its customers, and now I would argue it doesn’t not only serve its customers well, it treats its suppliers alike. In this changing economy, while it is only the most dedicated consumer that shops at farmer’s markets, in my experience, the typical consumer doesn’t have nice words to say. This safety approach can ultimately be crippling to our economy just like the threat of the German ALDI has caused two of these companies to be a little rattled. I often think these monopoly type behaviours of those that occupy majority of market share are what may well be their long term downfall. Look at our Australian airlines, think Ansett (Millennials say who?), and then think Jetstar – QANTAS knew they had to play a wild card against Branson’s Virgin at the time, and boom, it has paid dividends.

So what holds for the future? Well, the online buyer behaviour of Australians might seem somewhat behind the US, most millennials only shop online. Already, some consumers are outsmarting the traditional energy services and going ‘off grid’ and this trend will only continue with the emergence of clean technology and battery storage. The retailers in the Australian energy market currently stands at 22 players, so choosing dirty brown coal or green power really will be as easy as clicking your mouse. While Australians will often opt for the two food suppliers for ease and convenience, the food industry is experiencing rapid food security challenges globally and so even our Australian Government have agreed to a labelling review. Transparency and ethics will be the winner, so it won’t only be the Germans who will take market share, watch this space for the farmers market rise and of course, there will be big online power plays.

So, what is ahead for our banks? Can you believe that the 5th bank in this nation has only 2% of market share? The major four sure do eat up almost all of the cake. The challenge lies ahead though. How many of you think your bank fees are disproportionate to your transactions?  I’m sure you’ve heard of Blockchain, a secure encryption global banking platform. How many of you are somewhat mystified by a three-day cheque reconciliation process? There are peer to peer payment platforms that can do real time payment transfers – Square is a major US player, and here in Australia, Promise Pay (part owned by Westpac now) is gaining serious momentum.

While understanding the digitised economy is one part of the equation, it is the futurists that understand and can determine where the goal posts are positioned tomorrow. They are aware of the mega trends, they understand the sharing economy, the circular economy, the future economy and they know the future pathway. If the engine is roaring and it knows where it’s going, it is fuelled for success.


At XY on Boards, several of our Faculty are what we call futurists who understand the new economy and we enjoy their progressive leadership. I wouldn’t say that futurists can always determine the future with precision but one thing is for sure, they will always challenge the status quo. This resonates with us and our XY alumni because one thing is for certain, business as usual simply isn’t sustainable. At Start-up Boards, we challenge diversity in the boardroom, diversity in age, culture, gender and disciplines; why wouldn’t you have a digital native female Gen-Y with a culturally diverse background? Diversity of thought equates to higher performance.

The question is, Do you think futurists are Nostradamus pretenders or is their disruptive influence helping shape your thinking for positive impact?