In 1999 the management of Phoenix Newspapers, publishers of The Arizona Republic and AZ Central, embarked on an ambitious project to take the company into the next decade. Part of that process involved writing scenarios about “possible futures”. We had five objectives as we looked toward the next five to seven years:
- As technology and the Internet continue to evolve, how will reader and advertiser needs and behaviors change? How fast will it all happen?
- Use scenario planning to enhance our strategic conversation
- Involve the organization at all levels.
- Craft a point of view about our future.
- Develop a more agile Year 2000 operating plan, and budget and craft a three-year strategic plan.
I wrote much of the “Zero Time” scenario:
Zero Time asks us to throw out the notion of a continuous, predictable future. It represents our most challenging scenario. How rapid and radical is change in this Future? In just the five years between 2000 and 2005, the U.S. economy has morphed from a mass industrial economy to the new economy, an Internet and information economy. Computing is ubiquitous and touches every aspect or almost every person’s life–much like a telephone or television did in 2000. Communication is seamless and superfast broadband connections to the Internet have become standard. Customers get the information they need, exactly when they need it, and can do most transactions without the aid of intermediaries such as auto dealers, real estate agents and travel agents or newspapers. Audiences are increasingly fragmented, and mass is no longer the dominant model in any advertising medium.
Maybe not quite right for 2005. Certainly on target for 2013. Read about Zero Time in the PDF.