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Advances in technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and biotechnology have the potential to disrupt the rules of the game for every industry.

Challengers with big dreams, new tools and a "can do" attitude are creating new sources of value, changing the face of competition and disrupting the foundations on which our industries and institutions are built.

To prepare your business for the changes ahead you need to adopt a fresh approach to strategy and leadership, and be ready to disrupt your business before someone else does it for you.

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IBM reveals five innovations that will change our lives within five years

This article was first published on 19 December 2012.

This article, and the IBM research it is based on, are interesting because, amongst other things, they focus on a five year time frame. When it comes to thinking about the future in a business context, a twelve month horizon tends to be more operational in nature while anything beyond ten years is for many people too far away to be either meaningful or actionable.  Three to five years is therefore often the window for strategic planning and slots in perfectly with this work by IBM.

So what will happen within the next five years?  In short:

  • You will be able to touch through your phone
  • Computers will be able to not only look at images but understand them
  • Computers will hear what matters
  • Computers will know what you like to eat better than you do
  • Computers will have a sense of smell

The digitisation of touch alone has the potential to radically transform the process architecture, and even the prevailing business model, of major sections of the economy as assumptions about how consumers buy and experience goods and services are fundamentally challenged.   The challenge with developments such as this is to identify how it might impact the evolution of the industry or industries in which you play.

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