Nothing’s binary anymore.

Shrodinger’s Cat walks into a bar. And doesn’t.

Which scenario do we plan for in 2020?

A theme this week has been on trying to predict the future – whether one outcome or another will be the likely result.

Is the square foot economy dead? 

Will people still buy lattes on the way to work?

Should building management systems be built to let the fresh air in or keep the smoke-filled air out? 

Or to discharge the contaminated air from within? 

Which scenario do you plan for?

More likely it’s Schrodinger’s Cat – multiple outcomes existing simultaneously.

Scenarios. Nothing’s binary anymore

Making good predictions makes a big difference, particularly for big capital and infrastructure decisions or anything that requires scale.

My take on several conversations this week is that the answer is always at one extreme.

Or the other.

Or perhaps both.

Or neither.

Or somewhere in between.

Or maybe something else entirely.

More likely it’s Schrodinger’s Cat – multiple outcomes existing simultaneously.

People will meet face to face.

And dial in.

For the same meeting.

Some will bring coffee.

Others will buy one.

Or give up coffee altogether.

Some will open windows when the conditions are right. And close them when they’re not.

Put another way it’s another extension of an underlying trend – flexibility and personalisation in everything we do in an era of low predictability. Customised UX at scale.

Getting it right

When faced with a choice of this or that, it’s worthwhile considering is that most likely it is neither. 

Or both. 

Or everything between. Probably simultaneously. 

And with something new thrown in for good measure.

The thing we do know about this decade is that much of it won’t be what we predicted. And it definitely won’t be binary. Shades of grey are more likely.

Good risk management is about resilience in multiple scenarios. Good capex planning is the same.

Resilient strategy works under a range of likely outcomes rather than betting on a single outcome. This has never been more pertinent than right now.

Plan for all outcomes, flex when you need to. Don’t bet the farm on a single prediction. 

And seek innovation in the range of non-binary possibilities. 

Whether this be infrastructure re-purposing or re-mobilising teams on the fly. 

Or a 5% mic volume on Zoom for crowd noise instead of just on or off. (Thanks to Frank Woodley for that one).

You can have your strategy and your resilience too. 

This is where things get exciting. 

This was originally published on LinkedIn. You can join the conversation here.