How Leaders Can Harness the Power of Tomorrow

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Throughout history, a reluctance to prepare for the future has doomed industries. The lamplighter industry of the 1840s comes to mind.

In the mid-19th century, the streets of England were dangerous at night. So, a band of men came together to manually light the streets in the evening. As demand for light in communities increased, lamplighters were presented with a set of decisions and an opportunity: Should they expand their role to become visionaries of energy, or should they define themselves by the most recognized service they provide?

The lamplighters chose the latter. In doing so, they refused the opportunity to emerge as shapers of the future of energy. Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and others took advantage of this opening by ushering the world into a new era of energy — one defined by electricity.

Today, the lamplighter industry no longer exists.

For nearly 20 years, I have helped companies shape the future. My collaborations with Apple, Yale University, Apollo Global Management, and others have helped leaders reshape philanthropy, the role of technology in education and health care.

As leaders in public relations — as in every profession — we must be able to anticipate change to remain relevant and effective. Harnessing the power of tomorrow is not only about instincts but also about insights.

Let’s look at a few emerging trends that will impact the way we work and lead as leaders in public relations:

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