Futuristic thinking required for manufacturing sector in light of pandemic

29th May 2020 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

Amid the uncertainty created by Covid-19, manufacturing businesses should pursue futurist thinking to create strategies for their businesses to ensure they remain resilient, Futureworld business strategist Craig Wing said during the first of the Manufacturing Indaba’s ‘Preparing for a progressive manufacturing base amidst Covid-19’ webinars, on May 29.

He said the world did not follow a linear progression and urged manufacturers to shy away from linear strategies when approaching their businesses.   

Instead, he suggested adopting a futuristic way of thinking, planning and approaching businesses and positioning them for the future.

This would entail back casting, where one looked to a future period, and worked backwards to understand and create new kinds of business strategies to position oneself well for this outcome.

He noted that this allowed business to work around blind spots.

Wing said that, given the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is currently in a situation of "known unknowns".

While a highly infectious disease was always a possibility, and forecast to happen at some future point in the world, making it a "known", businesses had not yet factored it into their planning, as it did not fit into their realms of focus.

This meant that most businesses did not have a reaction plan to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

He encouraged a futurist point of view for business and manufacturers, moving away from a world of "known knowns", and being flexible to change.

This entailed envisioning what the world and future would be, creating robust strategies to achieve that outcome and taking a multipronged approach.