The media, internet and social channels were filled this week with 'Back to the Future' day! On what would normally have been another regular October day, movie fans worldwide celebrated the date in the film where Marty McFly and the Doc got into the infamous DeLorean and transported 30 years forward to the future.
Predicting the future is always fun (if not always accurate!) and some of the things predicted way back in '1985' have actually come to fruition. We might not be speeding around on hover boards yet (although the new 'toy of the year' for this Christmas is predicted to be the Swegway so getting closer!) but other things such as tablets, video calls and wearable eye glass screens aren't too far away from today's reality.
The challenge about predicting the future is that we generally think in a linear way about change when often the biggest impact can be from something that comes from the left field. Take the iPhone for example - we were all very comfortable with the mobile phone and could see clear use for it in the future and then along comes the iPhone and disrupts the perceptions and possibilities for a new mobile world.
Margaret Thatcher famously said, "No woman in my time will be prime minister or foreign secretary - not the top jobs. Anyway, I wouldn't want to be prime minister." The trick for planning for the future is to keep abreast of what's important and relevant for your business, your customers and your employees - but be flexible enough to adapt for those things that will be a surprise.
We heard a great example of agility and flexibility this week from one of our accredited members, Scottish ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne - the first ferry company and first travel industry company to be awarded CCA Global Standard. The UK's largest ferry operator carried more than 4.65 million people, 1.1 million cars, 92,000 commercial vehicles and 11,000 coaches in 2014 alone.
The dozen-strong team, which handles more than 260,000 calls and 21,000 emails per year, was forced out of its Gourock base temporarily by a police cordon as the Royal Navy carried out a controlled explosion of an old naval mine.
But they simply upped and moved down the hill to take over the board room at CalMac's HQ in Inverclyde near Glasgow to keep the phone lines open.
"Providing a lifeline service, even being out of contact for a short period of time can have a big impact on people who rely on us for every day services and supplies. So it's important we do everything we can to keep the lines open," said Head of Customer Forecasting and Planning, Iain Slorach.
We've been doing our own bit of crystal ball gazing this year with CCA Industry Council where we have worked on future scenarios for what service might look like in 2020. Not quite as far a time-line as Marty McFly and the Doc, but some really interesting work with a glimpse of our potential future.
Consulting with 35+ leading brands and experts is our technique for predicting the future - one that we hope is informed, insightful and instructive. We'll be launching these at our forthcoming Convention in Glasgow on 24 & 25 November
so in the words of Doctor Emmett Brown, "We're sending you back to the future!"