You don’t have to be a futurist keynote speaker or strategic innovation consultant to realize that a rising tide of new disruptions are inevitably headed our way shortly.

From a strategic standpoint, that effectively means that (as a general rule) we’re left with two choices when it comes to navigating these great waves of change: Either get good about learning how to surf them or let them crash over us and take us where they will.

Personally, if you were to ask me? I’d recommend breaking out your longboard and swim trunks.

On the bright side, as we often point out in keynote speeches and workshops, whatever twists and turns the market may take, you always have the power to steer any given scenario towards more positive outcomes.

So while learning to anticipate the future – and adapt to it, for that matter – may seem challenging at first blush, I’m pleased to note that it’s far easier and far less time-consuming than most of us would suspect.

What’s more (and you probably shouldn’t tell your old teachers or college professors this) it turns out that you don’t even have to be particularly talented or brilliant to do so either – just little bit more deliberate in the questions you choose to ask, and ways you choose to go about asking them.

Heck, just ask Germany’s Association for Chemistry and Economics (which I’m going to call the VCW for short here, because the words Wienerschnitzel and gesundheit are the extent of my German-speaking abilities), which has over 30,000 members spread across hundreds of industries.

After doing its research and determining that teamwork would be crucial to successfully staying one step ahead of the curve going forward, and accelerating the speed at which it could adapt or roll out new programs, the VCW found itself faced with a dilemma. Specifically, how could it go about creating a practical solution that would allow its members to collaborate more efficiently and drive innovation on a huge scale? In addition, the VCW also found itself trying to figure out how it could build a tool that would allow these folks to remotely collaborate with scientists in other fields as well.

Amusingly though, as we often point out to speaking audiences, it turns out that all the VCW had to improve its ability to spot new opportunities – and send its prospects soaring in no time flat – was simply bring a little ingenuity to bear. Because in the end, all the association wound up doing was simply coining the concept of social chemistry – and building an open online portal that allowed members to crowdsource ideas and pool resources across public and private organizations as needed.

Incredibly, within just a short handful of weeks, not only was the VCW able to identify numerous trends and opportunities that weren’t previously on the association’s radar. It was also able to pinpoint hundreds of promising new ideas to explore — not bad for a small, cost-affordable website right?

As you can see, dealing with disruption, kick-starting innovation, and managing change don’t always have to be difficult or time-consuming processes. Sometimes, all it takes is a little ingenuity to get ahead.