A com­pa­ny with­out a clear view of its own future stum­bles ahead into uncer­tain­ty. This is the sub­ject of my first e-book, Get­ting to Next: The Urgent Need for Nextsens­ing [link]. Today, I am post­ing my sec­ond e-book — one that intro­duces the best tool I know for mov­ing out of organ­i­sa­tion­al ambi­gu­i­ty, the “Oppor­tu­ni­ty Fore­sens­ing Canvas”.

In my career, I have not only stud­ied com­pa­nies in-depth; ear­ly in my career I also lived the cor­po­rate life full-time. Since then, I have inter­viewed, coun­selled and chal­lenged count­less organ­i­sa­tion­al man­agers and MBA stu­dents. This is how I know that dis­rup­tive ambi­gu­i­ty (liv­ing in the uncer­tain­ty of too much data lead­ing to no clear strate­gic path) is a prob­lem that most peo­ple are strug­gling with today. Even those who might seem to be invin­ci­ble are, in fact, vulnerable.

Take Apple. From its 1980s roots, it has evolved into a “think dif­fer­ent” mega-cor­po­ra­tion that brought the world unique com­put­ers, iPods, iPhones and iPads. Yet, as I write this, Apple just report­ed its quar­ter­ly earn­ings and its stock is dropping.

Girl and TVThis is not because it has a present-tense prob­lem. It sales and prof­its last quar­ter were robust. Apple has a future-tense prob­lem. Here’s how Bloomberg Busi­ness­week describes it: “So there were no block­busters. Not this quar­ter, any­way. With only a month’s worth of sales of new iPhones — they hit retail­ers on Sept. 20 — and no new iPad sales off last week’s announce­ments, Apple didn’t offer a got­ta-have-it prod­uct in its line­up for the bet­ter part of the quar­ter.” [link]

In today’s mar­ket­place, you’re not in good shape unless you have a sol­id answer to the ques­tion, “What’s next?”

Thus, my new e-book: TV or Not TV? Apple and the Oppor­tu­ni­ty Can­vas [link]. As with my first e-book, it’s in PDF form and is designed to be read in 15 min­utes or less. But brevi­ty, in this case, is a pow­er­ful asset; it allows more peo­ple to quick­ly get to the cen­tre of new think­ing where oppor­tu­ni­ties abound.

And the cen­tre of this new e-book is actu­al­ly not Apple, it’s the can­vas. Giv­en my work with thou­sands of peo­ple in the busi­ness world, I have a good feel for what might help them the most. The Oppor­tu­ni­ty Fore­sens­ing Can­vas (which is includ­ed at the end of both of my e-books) is a sim­ple, log­i­cal, prac­ti­cal tool. It is some­thing I built based on sol­id inter­ac­tions with hun­dreds of top-lev­el man­agers and thou­sands of stu­dents. It is a tool that I and oth­ers use today.

Yet I thought that intro­duc­ing the tool by talk­ing about Apple would be a help­ful way to show that the Oppor­tu­ni­ty Fore­sens­ing Can­vas is some­thing that can be used for even the most daunt­ing problems.

Read It Now!And the future of tele­vi­sion is, as I see it, one of the most intrigu­ing ques­tions fac­ing the mar­ket­place. Most of the world has been liv­ing, by and large, with the same tele­vi­sion set that peo­ple used more than 50 years ago. Oh sure, we have the abil­i­ty to record shows and use our remote con­trols for all kinds of actions. And, yes, we can stream videos from the likes of Netflix.

But many have been ask­ing “what’s next?” when it comes to tele­vi­sion. More than that, there has been a groundswell of expec­ta­tions that Apple would be the com­pa­ny to take TV to the next lev­el. Maybe yes. Maybe no.

For me, how­ev­er, the ques­tion of a new def­i­n­i­tion of the term “Apple TV” was a per­fect fit for show­ing you how the Oppor­tu­ni­ty Fore­sens­ing Can­vas can be used to move from ambi­gu­i­ty to clar­i­ty, from present-tense per­for­mance to future-tense insights. Mulling about the shape, size and feel of a new Apple TV expe­ri­ence was just one way to bring the can­vas to life.

I hope you enjoy this new e-book. I’m already ask­ing some of my clos­est asso­ciates to actu­al­ly project what they think (by using the can­vas) a new TV expe­ri­ence might look like — designed by Apple or any­one else. I plan to pub­lish their can­vas­es on this blog in the near future.

But no one need wait on Apple to start using the can­vas (it has a Cre­ative Com­mons license so you are free to use it). As you down­load my PDF e-book, I’m ask­ing all my read­ers to think about how they would apply it to prob­lems in their industry/sector. My new e-book will have accom­plished its mis­sion if read­ers start apply­ing the tool to help indi­vid­u­als, groups and entire com­pa­nies “think dif­fer­ent­ly” about oppor­tu­ni­ties now hid­den in uncer­tain­ty about the future.

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