25 December 2016
Just as we had all re-wired our brains to write 2016 instead of ’15 we realised that we were already part way into the year, and thereafter – as always – the months flew past. Here we are now, in the last few days of the year and bidding farewell to what has been a pretty eventful year in more ways than one.
So what have we learnt from 2016? Well, to be frank, if 2016 taught us anything at all it is that we should all learn to expect the unexpected! We had more than our fair share of unexpected events during the year – some of which were complete shockers – and we’re not even talking about geopolitical events or acts of terror here. Brexit, David Cameron stepping down, Trump winning the US elections, the Italian referendum, and the list goes on. While there may be a miniscule number of people out there who saw these things coming, most of us didn’t (be honest with yourself!), and hence we found ourselves - on more than one occasion in the year - staring at a TV screen, PC, tablet, etc, totally dumbfounded, shocked, and sometimes numb.
As a result of these “black swan” events (some a darker shade of black, or should we say blonde, than others), we’ve now begun to ignore polls that think they can accurately predict the outcome of genuine public opinion, we’re learning – albeit reluctantly - to accept that our children will grow up in a world where the citizens of the largest superpower nation elected someone with zero political experience combined with an unpredictable and maverick approach to life to run the country, and we’ve “hopefully” realised that the activity commonly known as crystal-balling is totally useless!
Does all of this make us better equipped to deal with 2017 and the years ahead? Well, in a way it should. We now know that we need to be more nimble in our mindset, fluid and flexible enough to deal with whatever comes our way (because frankly we don’t know what is around the corner), and to accept that our previous logic isn’t going to help us in the world of tomorrow.
What’s our recommended strategy for 2017 and beyond? As the legendary Bruce Lee taught us, “Be like water”.
Thanks to our readers for your support in 2016 and good luck to us all for the year ahead!
Managing Director and Global Head of Market Insights & Strategy