The future as a competitive advantage – from futurists and innovation profilers

In order to remain successful on the market in the long term, companies must always take a look into the future. But this has nothing to do with fortune telling or looking into a crystal ball. Futurology is nothing more than a study, a study of the traces of change. As an innovation profiler and futurist, it is therefore important to me that companies understand that the future is full of uncertainty, but this is not a negative one, but a source of many new ideas and opportunities.

We live in an exciting time. Our innovation cycles are getting shorter and shorter and in two years the world as we know it today can be a completely different one. Technologies such as Blockchain, 5G-Technology and Digital Integration will shape our daily lives. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are fundamentally changing the way we consume content. Companies must prepare for tomorrow’s world and develop strategies that guarantee a sustainable competitive advantage. Companies must be able to accept this rapid change. They must not hide behind old processes or traditions, but understand that the future can be radically different from today.

This is where futurology and innovation profiling come in. The aim of both methods is to support companies in raising their awareness of the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow.


Identifying and exploiting future trends

A good indicator for this change is the Gartner Hype Cycle, which not only shows the current technological developments, but also gives a look at the upcoming innovations of the next ten years.



The hype cycle is a roadmap for the future and the basis for scenarios and forecasts. Companies need to create a vision for the future based on current trends and developments and design various possible ways into the world of tomorrow.

At the core of such a forecast, scenarios must be developed that point out possible future perspectives and are already relevant for management decisions today.They enable the drawing of alternative scenarios and signposts that serve as clarifiers for decision-makers.


Questions for the future

Futurist and author Amy Webb has defined five central questions that companies should ask themselves before each look into the future:

  • Who has worked directly and indirectly in this area?
  • Who financed the experiments in this room?
  • Who could be directly affected by this development?
  • Who could work against change?
  • Who could see this idea as a starting point for something bigger?


When companies consider these questions and think creatively about the future, they can form a good picture of the future and always stay one step ahead of their competitors. To achieve this, they must look for the traces of change and integrate them into their corporate strategy.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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