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Your Board

Hi, I'm Your Board

Outpost's Board of Directors will use this blog to discuss issues the board is exploring as it envisions Outpost's future. Can't make it to a meeting? Check here frequently to read what the Board is up to. Your current Outpost Board of...
Your Board

Retreating into the Future: How do we help Outpost thrive?

Board Beet
By Your Board on July 20, 2016

In 1996, the future was bright for Blockbuster Video. It was a $4 billion dollar company, with over 3,500 stores worldwide. In 2000, it turned down the chance to buy a small, fledgling internet company called Netflix. Today, Blockbuster has all but disappeared with only 19 stores nationwide.

Littered throughout history are examples of how people, institutions and organizations have held tightly to the present when faced with a pressing and dynamic future.

  • In the late 19th century, Western Union thought the telephone had far too many limitations and would never eclipse the telegraph.
  • Military commanders in the early 20th century could not see how the plane and the automobile would revolutionize warfare.
  • Darryl Zanuck, famed Hollywood studio pioneer, said, “Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring into a plywood box every night.”

I get it. For leaders allocating resources, the cost of change is high and early adopters of disruptive innovations risk failure. Anyone remember Betamax?

We need your help envisioning Outpost’s future.

Change is constant and the future is unavoidable. As your board, part of our job is to develop insight into the future so that we may best position our co-op to manage the changes that are coming to our advantage.

Specifically, given the vast sociological, economic, demographic, political and technological trends in the grocery industry, how do we ensure that Outpost thrives well into the future?

This is our key question going into our board retreat in mid-July. Using a tool called Scenario Planning, the board and the management team will be generating scenarios that contemplate factors that are well into the future and that are barely on our current radars.

For example, what impacts might we see at Outpost in a world where the continuing effects of climate change and rural-urban population shifts have changed the food growing regions of our nation resulting in increased food costs? And more importantly, what changes does Outpost need to make now to survive those impacts?

Or, how might Outpost thrive in a world of increasing income disparity?

These are just two potential scenarios we will be envisioning at our board retreat. From there, we will identify the highest likelihood and highest risk propositions and begin board study groups to help us get smart about these issues to better prepare ourselves to manage them as they arise.

This is exciting work and we are hoping that we can count on your insights as owners (or prospective owners).

What are some of the emerging trends and issues that you see in food and grocery that will affect us in the next 15-20 years? Please leave your thoughts in the comments!

David Lee

Board President


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