Pattern Recognition

“If you learn to recognize patterns in life, you’ll do better than those who don’t.”

Charlie Munger; Billionaire Investor

In this decade:

  • Power will change hands, as an older and very influential generation transitions due to the natural cycle of life.  
  • New wealth will be created, from new and emerging sectors that will experience accelerated growth.
  • Mantles will be given, as points one and two above will result in leadership transitions across all facets of society.

The question is not ‘if’ it will happen, it will; but how will you be positioned when it does? Yesterday, at THE PLATFORM, I spoke on the implications of this and shared a few considerations on how to make the most of this decade.  Here are a few highlights:

  1. Study trends, their potential implications, and particularly the potential multiplier effects. In the 1920s, following the Spanish Flu pandemic, the interaction of a few factors catalyzed by technology (assembly line production, leading to low-cost mass production in manufacturing) led to a wealth creation boom.  A similar pattern is emerging today, following the COVID-19 pandemic, with artificial intelligence enabling ‘low-cost mass production’ in our knowledge-based economy.  What could be the multiplier effects? 
  2. Develop your pattern recognition skills. Pattern recognition skills will be a critical skill to navigate this period of rapid change and data overwhelm.  
    Read widely – across disciplines, sectors, cultures, etc. Practice critical thinking.  Question things with a view to understand ‘why’ not just ‘what’. A focus on understanding underlying principles will help you identify patterns.
    Create time to think and reflect. Reflection will help you get beyond the surface and connect the dots of the things you have been exposed to by study, observation and/or experience.
  3. Leverage your insights to develop ‘market-creating innovations’.  Market-creating (or disruptive) innovations are solutions that target users who would benefit by owning or using a product (or service) but cannot due to the product’s cost, time, or the expertise required to use it (Christensen Institute). Africa is ripe with opportunities for market-creating innovations – large population, high poverty rates, low gender parity, and low productivity across all sectors (ranked 1st or 2nd from the bottom according to a recent McKinsey report).

Ultimately, the whole objective of identifying patterns is not just to know them but to act on it. Like in the game of chess, the benefit of seeing ahead is in your ability to use that knowledge to your advantage and position accordingly.

You can catch the full presentation below.  Would love to get your thoughts and feedback.

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