Before I wrapped up 36 years at P&G (#PGAlum) I led a team tasked with looking into the future, seeing around corners, and identifying commercial innovation. We did this through a process of “foresight to insight to action” developing strategies to delight consumers and create value for retailers and our brands.
Foresight means identifying macro movements in science, technology, and social habits. The lofty ideas in foresight are familiar, here are just three:
Exponential computing power and ubiquitous sensors;
Democratization of data and the deterioration of trust in institutions;
Bio-sensitivity – respect for nature and natural systems.
Insight means informed thinking on how foresight movements could impact the future. For context, we would look at the impact on people’s behavior - how they would feel, how they would react, what would their aspirations be, how would they spend their money? Action is about preparing to be successful in the future context.
That brings us to Signals. A remarkably effective tool in the Storytelling required to share this
thinking with business leaders is finding “Signals” from the present that point toward the future you describe with Foresight and Insight. Current events that foretell future business opportunities give you confidence that you are on the right track.
Applying critical thinking to the Foresight produces sharp Insights: Access and sharing of data will increase, and consumers will expect and require more data, and more in return for sharing their data. With less trust in government and corporations, digital twins representing people, places and things will emerge and interact – some real, and some fake - in the metaverse. Applying newly acquired data to heightened interest in the natural world leads to more ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) expectations and requirements. With expanding sensors and computing power, everything can become automated, faster and recorded in a distributed ledger to build confidence in the data and the process. Equipped with these insights, what is the right Action Plan to leverage these transformations?
If you want more confirmation the Signals pointing to these future realities are easy to find:
Sunrise 2027 – 2D barcodes
Walmart’s new RFID mandate
Oregon’s update on Cannabis at Retail
Investment in the Metaverse
How does this all come together? I foresee a scaled “system of evidence” that leverages the sensors and data, builds confidence in the automated interaction of digital twins, and prepares to support the claims of brands when consumers ask: “Is this right for me?”, with all events recorded in a distributed ledger and automated to improve supply chains, simplify regulatory compliance and meet those high consumer expectations. Whether your claim is “Certified all-natural” or “Made in the USA”, or your commercial model is to only pay on full delivery for specific execution, you will be asked for digital evidence to support your claim, and you will need to automate that process to cut time and cost – or be uncompetitive.
The signals indicate a sense of urgency is building. Organizations should be preparing for this future. Do not wait for a big retailer, big regulator, or worse, an unhappy consumer to call asking questions. In CPG, SmartLabel is a start, and GS1 standards are a vital foundation, but experience indicates individual trading partners need to prepare their data and start investigating platform solutions that bring together requirements with claims & evidence across the entire value chain.
If this future sounds interesting to you, let's build it together. The Provenance Chain™ Network is building a trust platform connecting requirements to claims & evidence. The future is closer than we think, we can prepare for it now.