How do you predict the future?

August 10th, 2020

Paul Tattum

Alan Kay is widely known for the doctrine “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”. Whichever sector we work in, the immediate impact of COVID-19 has been felt and those with the resources and capability to simultaneously deal with the day to day whirlwind of running a project, team or business, and dedicate time to looking forward, are inventing the future.

Organisations that are positioning themselves to take advantage of the opportunities in the “new normal” are adapting and changing and as a consequence, how they organise their business, and how they undertake their projects requires an equal and opposite response from the partners they choose to help realise their new goals.

The new jobs to be done

With new business goals comes a new way of doing things – so what are the new jobs to be done? 

It depends on your sector, your business and whether you are an existing business, innovating to realise the opportunities brought about by Covid-19, or a disruptor like Future Projects, challenging the status quo and providing new ways of doing things. Either way, the tasks that have changed need to be identified, mapped and responded to.

But how best do you do this?

A matter of process

Many products and services are founded on assumptions or perceptions of what the customer needs – what jobs they need to get done – to deliver their project. Through Darwinian selection, these services will either fail or succeed based on the ability of each service to meet the customer’s assumed needs. But what if it doesn’t have to be survival of the fittest? There is no mystery in achieving the best fit between the customers’ jobs and a service that fits those jobs. It is simply a matter of process. Simply put, if you follow the right process, you will achieve the right results.

This is exactly the reason why Alex Osterwalder founded the company who’s mission it is to codify the process of creating products and services that customers want – the company, Strategyzer, provide strategic management and entrepreneurial tools that allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model. Unique tools like this help to discover and capture what’s important to meet your goals – and we lean on them heavily at Future Projects.

Starting with the end goal in mind

Understanding your customers is an often overlooked step in the design of any new product or service and something which takes time and effort to do, but the gains are worth it for both parties involved.

Customers are listened to and understood rather than sold to, and the companies aiming to provide the services they think their customers want – get to understand what they were right about and what needs to change to create true value.  Starting with the goal in mind is a simple solution, but a perfect one.

In property development, not all customers have the same end goal and a REIT and Pension Fund for example have needs that sit at either end of the cost spectrum, needs that can only be fully understood by taking the time to ask the right questions before rushing to get the project underway, something we are passionate about at Future Projects.

The material choices for buildings take on a very different complexion when viewed from the standpoint of a Pension Fund, seeking to build for the long term, as opposed to a developer, whose need is to continually delight tenants with new and refreshed spaces and who’s material choices are driven by their visual impact rather than maintenance or repair costs.

Design the service

To design a successful service not only do the jobs need to be understood and the desired outcomes, but also the customers’ pain-points – the potential negative outcomes, risks and obstacles. Only then are you in a position to design a responsive service offering that avoid pains and achieves gains. 

A new service fits a customer’s needs when they get excited about it and this happens when the services offered have been designed exactly to alleviate the pain they experience in their day to day jobs, and by providing gains that they truly care about.  At Future Projects, this may be on-demand reporting of time, cost and quality, whilst a gain might be this same function delivered to their mobile via one of our bespoke apps.


Ultimately, an organisation can adapt and improve to continually add value to its customers, providing it operates with an innovation-first mind set, approaching problems with an open and inquisitive style, in the confidence that the outcome will be the creation of value to the customer.

Plan, do, check and act or more simply – design, test, repeat; is the perfect tool to drive innovation. Since W. Edwards Deming outlined the quality cycle as part of the Total Quality Management System in the 1950’s, the discipline of continually reviewing outcomes, keeping and improving what works and removing what doesn’t has driven out waste in services, helping to reduce cost and continually add value to customers.

Going back to Strategyzer, they have brought those same concepts of continual improvement seen in manufacturing, into 21st century business and at Future Projects we use this innovative set of tools to model, test, but also develop our project management offering so that it is continually evolving with our customers.

So, where does the future lie?

We believe the future lies in understanding the customer’s needs and that this approach can be applied across sectors and organisations, to provide relevant and successful services.

But that’s why at Future Projects, our unique approach to project management is always to focus on the Future first, starting with the goal in mind.

Ready to create your next amazing space? Future Projects can help. Let’s talk.