Pivot Opportunities: An Interview with Futurist Mark Cofano


This is a partial transcription of the video.

Hi, this is Robert Steven Kramarz, Executive Director and co-founder of Intelliversity. And welcome to the Vision Master Podcast where I interview individuals who are vision masters or who serve vision masters. This morning, we have Mark Cofano, who's the founder and chairman of Overture and The International Innovation Weeks program. Mark. Good morning to you.

Mark's idea for how to pivot correctly is found below.

Good morning, Rob. Great to be with you.

So Mark, not only is an innovator himself, but he fashions himself as a futurist, as well as an advisor and a deal-maker. So Mark, why do you fashion yourself a futurist?

Well, Rob, two things, first of all, I focus on this, I spend at least 20% of my time every week purposefully studying the future, looking out and thinking as far as 500 years in the future. And the second is actually I have a methodology, so I do a lot of work to try to figure out how to compare trends.

Well, what's the big trend going on right now, Mark?

Hyper change. Basically the trend is the fourth industrial revolution, it's upon us, and we're soon going to have the fifth. The pace at which society, people, systems, technology and our own environment are going to change are simply going to be frantic.

So we're in the middle of a pandemic associated recession, what's that got to do with hyper-change?

Well, hyper-change is one more thing that can basically cause a plan to go awry. And if you're thinking about really what's going on, literally three months ago, no one even anticipated that we will be dealing with COVID-19. But take other things out of the equation, rapid job loss to automation, and many other factors like the environment, and this is just an example of the kind of thing that hyper-change does. It puts everything in long-term perspective.

This is what people call a black swan. So with this event, where people consider it a threat, but it's also an opportunity, What's it an opportunity to do for business?

Every time we have massive change, Rob, it's an opportunity for 10 to 15% of the people to be far better off than they were before, to actually look for the opportunities the virus creates. So we have to be careful not to do that at people's expense, but at the same time, the world is going to be different. Skate to where the puck's going to be.

All right, so you're advising people begin to skate to where the puck's going to be. And many of us would call that a pivot or a deliberate pivot when we have a black swan event like this. So you would advise people to consciously and deliberately undertake a pivot at this time?


Okay. Awesome. So, how do YOU do that?

Eyes Wide Open
What's a "fatal flaw analysis?" See below.

Well, the first thing you do if you're in business is to do a "fatal flaw analysis." Some businesses just aren't going to survive, and rather than telling yourself a story, if yours happens to be one of them, you might as well get on with ending your business and getting onto the next better one. The second thing is to become a futurist. Ultimately, we can predict the future if we study it, and everyone is better off if they actually pick a future rather than having someone pick it for them.

The next thing is to partner. If we're in a place really where you think about trying to get everything done yourself, that's tough. There's people all over the world that you can now reach out and connect with. And the last thing I think is important is to actually improve your online game, to be able to present, to be able to communicate, whether it's in your language or other people's languages, and fluently, whether you're talking or on video.

Well, you would presume to think that this would be a good online presence for either one of us. We'll see. But in the meantime, how do people get ahold of you, Mark?

On my website, markcofano.com. And you can actually click your phone and use the QR code on LinkedIn if you want to connect with me there. Thank you so much.

Awesome. Thanks, Mark. So this is Robert Steven Kramarz, Intelliversity, on the Vision Master Podcast. You can speak to me personally by making an appointment on intelliversity.org/connect or the connect page at intelliversity.org. So thank you very much. And that's the way it can be.

Announcement: Innovation Weeks (which Mark chairs as head of Oviture) is an ongoing series of conclaves for innovators of every kind, not just startup companies.  As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, Innovation Weeks 2020 everywhere in the USA will be both virtual and physical, It will take place during the same week everywhere, the week of  9/16/20 to 9/22/20.. Innovation Weeks 2020 also offers a way for you to make a presentation online on just about any subject related to innovation, including but not limited to pitching your company for investment or pitching your innovative services, or even pitching yourself as a Vision Master or Execution Master.  For all regions in the U.S., call for online presentations is now open.  Just click to Present Now.

There you'll find a list field where you select the city you're business is in.  In Southern California, pick either San Diego, Los Angeles, or Orange County. Then fill out the short form that will next appear, to describe your desired online presentation.  When complete Oviture will communicate with you by email.  Stay tuned for special activities you can attend (physically and virtually) to meet investors angel and VC investors.  (Note, I'm still acting as "Advising Director" for San Diego, which you'll see if you're located in San Diego..)

Fatal Flaw Analysis causes fresh thinking

A Fatal Flaw Analysis starts with the assumption (not true if you work with me personally) that 90% of funded businesses fail, despite funding. So you make a list of all the likely causes of your business failing. You have to be rigorous here, eyes wide open. Don't BS yourself. Then for possible failure cause, you write down a creative way to mitigate that risk. Think outside the box. As you do this, your next pivot will begin to emerge. Remember that a good pivot not only stops a failure, it advances your vision further than you thought possible. Again, if you want Mark's help in doing a Fatal Flaw Analysis, see markcofano.com.

Improve your chances of funding and survival after funding to 50/50 or better. You can speak to me personally by making an appointment on intelliversity.org/connect or the connect page at intelliversity.org.

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