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John Sanei's Lessons In Driving Organisational Innovation John Sanei is a global speaker, coach. facilitator, trend specialist and author. Entrepreneur spoke to him about his book, What's Your Moonshot? Here's what you need to know to drive innovation in your organisation this year.

By GG van Rooyen

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Vital Stats

  • Player: John Sanei
  • Claim to fame: Global speaker, coach, facilitator, trend specialist and author.
  • About: In What's Your Moonshot? John Sanei decodes the mega-trends that are reshaping human behaviour and the way people do business. He also explains how to innovate your business to keep up with an ever-changing environment, and to make a positive impact on millions, if not billions, of people.
  • Visit: www.johnsanei.com

What is a moonshot?

In 1961, US president John F. Kennedy said that the United States would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. The technology needed to do this didn't exist, but the goal was still accomplished. Today, a "moonshot' is what companies like Google and Facebook call an absurdly ambitious goal that seems impossible, but can change the world.

Why is the book called What's Your Moonshot?

The world is changing quickly and people need to innovate and keep up if they want their businesses to survive. However, I want to encourage people to embrace a victor mindset — I want them to stop thinking small. It shouldn't just be about surviving, it should be about thriving. The modern business world is complex, but it also offers a lot of opportunities.

South African entrepreneurs tend to think too small; they believe that they don't have the same opportunities and abilities as people in places like London or Silicon Valley. That's why I want entrepreneurs to find their "moonshot'. I want them to find the biggest, most audacious goal they can imagine and go for it.

You say that business seems harder now than before. Why is this the case?

Capitalism, at least in the traditional sense, has come to an end. For decades, the technologies underpinning things like transport, communication and information sharing stayed virtually unchanged. Then, with the creation of the Internet, everything changed. Suddenly, everything is changing and evolving at an incredibly rapid rate, and just about every industry out there is being disrupted.

That's why business seems so much harder these days — you need to keep up with the pace of innovation, and the difficulty comes when you attempt to stick with business methods of the past. Until a few years ago, having a differentiator was enough to keep you profitable and set you apart from the competition.

This is no longer the case. Things change so quickly these days, that a differentiator is only relevant for a relatively short amount of time. You need to constantly look to the future and anticipate change.

Tell us about the rise of the chief future officer.

Because the ability to anticipate the future is so crucial to survival these days, many forward-thinking companies are starting to employ chief future officers who are responsible for tracking trends and identifying how these trends will potentially impact a business.

Now, as a start-up founder or owner of a smaller business, you might not be able to employ a chief future officer, so it's important to cultivate a future mindset yourself. "Business as usual' is no longer good enough. Even if your company is doing very well, you need to realise that disruption is a real possibility these days. You need to look at trends and prepare for change.

Can you explain your "Forever Profitable' methodology?

It's a methodology that I discuss in the book, and that I use to guide organisations into the future. In order to be "forever profitable', a company needs to keep an eye on the future and be ready for change. Of course, the issue of trends is popular at the moment, and there's no shortage of books and speakers discussing the topic, but simply looking at trends is not enough.

Companies need something more concrete. As the business owner, you need to understand how trends will impact the future of technology, your industry, your consumer and your employee. Once you understand this, you can prepare for the future in a pragmatic way and prevent disruption.

Read this

Do you have the right mindset to thrive in today's rapidly changing business world? Are you a victim or an architect of the future?

As the foundations of modern economies — transportation, communication and energy — become free or virtually free, massive transformative ideas can now be driven by individual ambition and determination. No longer the sole domain of nations and global organisations, these pioneering, game-changing missions — or moonshots — are defined by thinking big to drive change and shape the future.

What's Your Moonshot by John Sanei is available in all good bookstores.


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