Sometimes, three wise people need to go on a journey. Maybe they deliver gifts. Maybe they dispense wisdom.
In 2012, wisdom comes from many sources. In the old days, wisdom came from folks who have been through the wars and have the scars to prove it. Today, wisdom is complemented by a much younger generation, one that augments years of experience by obtaining "reps", rapidly.
In 1990, I was running algorithms against millions of rows of customer data, on a mainframe computer. Each run would take six or eight hours.
In 2012, I am running algorithms against tens of millions of rows of customer data, on a laptop computer. Each run takes five to fifteen minutes.
In other words, I am analyzing ten times as much data as in 1990, and I am analyzing it forty times faster than I analyzed it in 1990. I get 40 "reps" in 2012 for every "rep" I got in 1990.
This means that I acquire wisdom much, much faster in 2012 than in 1990.
In 2012, I'd create a panel of three individuals.
- A "historian". This person knows the history of your brand, inside-out. This person knows what worked and what didn't work. This person is respected by peers.
- A "futurist". This person can visualize emerging trends, synthesize them, and craft strategies to deal with a changing marketplace. This is one of the best and brightest VPs or Directors in the company.
- A "generationalist". This person must be under the age of thirty. This person informs the "historian" and the "futurist" how a new generation of users transform business in the future.
For instance, if you're going to put your catalog on an iPad, well, maybe you pass the strategy by this team first. Let the "historian" share past successes and failures, communicating the dynamics that allow this company to succeed, historically. Let the "futurist" communicate where the marketplace is heading. Let the "generationalist" communicate how the under-30 audience is using technology. Combined, the "Three Wise People" issue a position on the topic.