Disruption has made its mark on nearly every industry. However, management consultancy has survived an impressively long time without being disrupted.

Christensen argues that consultancy has benefitted from two things – opacity and agility – which have left the industry seemingly immune to disruption.  In our recent interview with global futurist Daniel Burrus, he points out that recent history teaches us that opacity and agility have not protected organizations from being disrupted and suggested that being agile – reacting quickly after a problem or disruption occur – is no longer good enough. By learning how to be anticipatory, any organization can turn disruption into a “choice” of either being the disrupter or the disrupted.  The key to becoming anticipatory is learning to separate the Hard Trends that will happen from the Soft Trends that might happen.

A Hard Trend is a projection based on measurable, tangible, and fully predictable facts, events, or objects. It’s something that will happen: a future fact that cannot be changed. A Soft Trend is a projection based on statistics that have the appearance of being tangible, fully predictable facts, but are based on assumptions about the future. It’s something that might happen: a future maybe. The advantage of Hard Trends is that you can identify disruptions and problems before they happen.  The advantage of Soft Trends is that they can be changed, which means they provide a powerful vehicle to influence the future and can be capitalized on.

Some of the trends we’ve seen in management consulting in the last five years include increased use of digital platforms, new business models and asset-based consulting. Looking forward, a few trends that are creating major disruptions in the strategy consulting industry include increasingly available intellectual property, the rise of internal consultants, and the coming development of artificial intelligence (AI).

What are some of the trends that you are seeing in the industry? Please share your thoughts.

To learn more about Daniel Burrus, go to www.Burrus.com and to get a free hardcover copy of his latest bestselling book, “The Anticipatory Organization”, click on this link: www.TheAOBook.com (only need to cover shipping).