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‘The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley’

January tends to see a flurry of ideas, blogs, and articles about how to be better in 2024 – more organised, more productive, more successful – tapping into the motivation that many of us have to do things differently. They often suggest planning to direct your actions and behaviour towards your goals. But whilst this is a sound idea, having a plan alone is not enough to ensure successes as circumstances change over time.

Robert Burn’s poem To a Mouse, references this age-old problem suggesting that even the best of plans can go wrong.

He also suggests that ‘foresight’ or predicting the future can be a thankless task and it is true that predictions have their limitations. They are a best guess at a point in time, often based on very sophisticated and robust models, but based on the information at hand and a view of the future.

However, as the world changes so frequently – technology, regulation, geopolitics, customer needs – it would be also folly not to look up now and again to see what is happening around you and to understand how the potential future scenarios facing your business or organisation might impact you – both to create opportunities and risks. A good example are AI tools such as ChatGPT which 12 months ago were understood by a small proportion of people, but which are now powering many of our daily on-line tasks. Another is the rise of our interest in our gut-health which has propelled brands such as Zoe to become a household name.

Being able to Pivot to respond to changes around you is the responsibility of all leaders whatever the size of your organisation.  A short bit of desk research with the right prompts can be effective in increasing your knowledge about emerging trends ensuring your organisation stays relevant in a changing world.

Here at Pivot Lab, we work with our customers to help them better understand their markets and what might be coming down the line. If you want to find out more about how we can help you with this contact us at

Photo by Eric Isselée

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