Navigating the ‘Now’ vs. ‘Next’ in a Rapidly Changing Business World

Daniel Burrus
6 min readOct 12, 2023

Companies are founded with innovation. Smaller start-ups pop up because they have an idea that no one in the market has done before, or a way to improve the industry they enter. It is no secret that many new businesses do not last because they stick with that initial revolutionary idea, living in the present success they have found with no new ideas to bring to the table in this ever-changing world.

Essentially, they create a “cash cow,” and milk it until the milk runs dry!

The business world is always changing as a direct result of customers’ evolving needs. The only way for organizations to be successful is to be Anticipatory. Instead of focusing solely on the “now,” they must focus on the “next,” taking the leap on their next big innovations for their organizations while moving forward with the industry.

What is the difference between the “now” and the “next”? Instead of focusing on what is coming their way with an Anticipatory mindset, they focus on beating, or simply keeping up with, the competition in the moment. They then become so preoccupied with how to outperform whom their immediate threats are that they become complacent in their position until someone else brings a big idea to the table. In turn, they then follow in their competition’s footsteps so they won’t be left behind.

But at this point, you are already behind. You let them take the lead, almost as if you are racing cars against someone and let them pass you for fear of how the next turn may affect your current position.

Trying to keep up with the competition with this reactionary approach to business is not, and has truthfully never been, successful. By merely copying what others do, you will always be second-best — the runner up. Instead of playing copycat, business leaders should keep the competition in mind, but forget about their current focus on the competition to clear the way for discovery and innovative solutions by being Anticipatory toward what is to come to leverage the “next.”

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Daniel Burrus

#1 Bestselling Author, Global Futurist, Innovation Expert and Keynote Speaker. One of the World’s Leading Futurists on Global Trends and Innovation.