Future Business: Friction is everywhere

Future Business: Friction is everywhere

Part 1: Them

Friction is probably one of my most used words. Not without good reason. All of my consulting engagements and research highlight its importance.

  • Low friction in the interaction is one of the greatest drivers of loyalty in shopping customers
  • High friction is one of the primary sources of inspiration for new start-ups
  • Friction is falling in the processes of innovation and development, inviting new entrants, products and services
  • Low friction between organisations is changing the nature of success and scale

One of the first things we do when we go into a new consulting engagement is to identify sources of friction. What’s slowing the company down? What generates unnecessary cost? What stops smoother interactions with partners?

These are some of the key factors that prevent an organisation being truly future-ready.

How high-friction is your business?


Part 2: Us

Where this idea of friction gets uncomfortable is when we turn this spotlight on ourselves.

Having got the Applied Futurist’s Toolkit off the ground and brought on board our first few users, we’re now looking at scaling up. The first part of that process is analysing where we are today. And getting feedback.

Feedback like this:

“I really like the content on your website. But can you turn off that pop-up? I’ve subscribed already.”


This hurt all the more coming from someone who works for a search engine. At a digital marketing conference.

Clearly we have a lot of work to do. Which is in part why we were at such a conference.

The popup is one issue, but our analysis has thrown up many more. Over the next weeks and months we’ll be aiming to reduce the friction in our interactions with you, our readers, our users and our partners.

We may make some mistakes along the way. And we could do with more feedback. We know people don’t like the pop-up. But what else do we need to change? What would make this site more useful?

We’d love to hear from you.

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This article is by Tom Cheesewright. This post forms part of the Future of Business series. For more posts on this subject, visit the Future of Business page.

Tom Cheesewright


Futurist speaker Tom Cheesewright is one of the UK's leading commentators on technology and tomorrow. Tom has worked with a huge range of organisations across a variety of markets, to help them to see a clear vision of tomorrow, share that vision and respond with agility. Tom draws on his experience to create original, compelling talks that are keyed to the experience of the audience but which surprise and shock with unexpected facts and examples.

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