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Five things we learned from futurist Daniel Burrus at GroceryConnex

We round up a few takeaways from the keynote presentation
daniel burrus groceryconnex 2023
Daniel Burrus. Photography by

Global futurist, strategic advisor and best-selling author Daniel Burrus returned to GroceryConnex to share his insights on opportunities for retailers.

Burrus discussed the trends shaping the future of retail, and the technologies retailers can implement to lower costs, increase efficiencies and gain competitive advantages. 

“The opportunity is amazing for us, not to change but to transform what we do,” Burrus told attendees. “There’s so much that’s just about to emerge.”

Here are five takeaways from the keynote.

Good data, bad data and obsolete data

Dealing with the right data. 

“If AI is learning from the good, the bad and the obsolete, you’re not going to like what AI does for you. So one of the things that is really powerful in our data-rich environment is to make sure that we’re doing a little auditing of our data to get rid of the ‘bad,’ to make the ‘obsolete’ invisible.”

Be the disruptor, not the disrupted

Hard trends: See disruption and change before it happens. Soft trends: If you don’t like them, you can change them. 

“All trends can be in one or two categories. Hard trends are based on a future fact that will happen… Hard trends can not be stopped

“Soft trends are based on an assumption that may or may not happen. You are all operating on a lot of assumptions. You got a lot of strategies not based on future facts, they’re based on assumptions… They’re either a hard assumption or a soft assumption. What’s a soft assumption? It’s an assumption that’s based on everything you’ve ever known, all of your past experiences… But the world’s changed. Everything’s changed. Maybe those assumptions aren’t valid anymore. 

“What are the key assumptions underlying your strategy? Elevate them to a hard assumption… Meaning, check to see if they’re still valid.”  

How you view the future shapes how you act in the present

And how you act in the present can shape your future.

“You have some very good people who work for you right now and they’re thinking of leaving. Why? Their future view of staying is not where it should be. Could be a customer as well.

“Your future view will determine the future you... If you can elevate the future view of your people, not based on motivation but based on future facts, you’ll have a better future.”

How do you find great people?

Think about it differently.

“How do I get really great people to find me? What do I have to do differently, in terms of my brand awareness – who we are, what we are, where we’re going – that I get the best and the brightest to want to work for me? 

“Skip It” principle

Find the problem beneath the problem.

“Think of your biggest problem right now… Skip it. How can you skip it? Because it’s not the real problem. Whatever problem you’ve got, that’s not it. You’re smart, you would have solved it by now. There’s another problem right now underneath the real problem… The real problem is totally solvable.”

GroceryConnex 2023 took place Nov. 20 at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. 

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