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Futurist Tim Longhurst: Focus on core operations and 'edge thinking'

Divina Paredes | Feb. 12, 2014
Shares pointers on how to do this in a business environment buffeted by change

Focus on your core operations, but take time to do "edge thinking", is futurist Tim Longhurst's message for today's businesses buffeted by change.

Longhurst describes how he applied this principle in his own business.

He says as an SMB owner, with a team of three, there was always a way too much for him to do.

Over a year ago, he invited a group of friends to lunch. He asked them to write the things he should be doing for his business.

In one whole afternoon, they wrote hundreds of ideas on Post-it notes and tacked these on the wall.

"Is this what it looks like inside your head?" they asked him. When he said yes, they said his mind "must be a pretty scary place".

"It is," said Longhurst.

Longhurst, who shared these insights at the MYOB 2014 Roadshow in Auckland, says the group held an 'ideas funeral' and identified the few things he needed to do in his business that would make the biggest difference.

In the process, he adopted the term "flawesome". This came from a realisation that he may be doing "awesome" work, but there will "always be a bit of flaws".

"The to-do list will never be complete," he notes. "Embracing 'flawesome' has given me a sense of joy in my work.

"Be flawesome, there is so much to learn."

Cyborgs in our midst
Longhurst also online outlines trends that are impacting people's lives.

These are the rise of 'cyborgs' — part human, part machine — as mobile devices become part of our lives; websearch (exemplified by Google), and social media. The latter, he explains, is not just Facebook or Twitter but the part of the Internet that allows users to contribute or participate.

The intersection of these three trends is transforming people's lives today. "The Web is allowing us to collaborate than ever before," he says "In 2014, we feel informed and supported 24x7 — that changes everything."

He says one of the ways businesses can manage and benefit from these trends is to "find your edge, and an edge advisor".

Find your "personal futurist", he says. "Meet for coffee once a month or every quarter and talk about challenges."


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