2014-new-year-of-the-horseHappy Chinese New Year everyone. On January 31st 2014, we begin the Year of the Wood Horse. So as a bit of fun, let’s look at what the year may have in store for your business, and the effect of traditions on team dynamics.

First off, I’d like to state that I’m not the least bit superstitious. I did however grow up for 18 years in Singapore, a predominantly Chinese society, and so I understand how important it is to many people around the world. And it also allows us to consider how cultural traits may affect your innovation ability and the market this year.

I thought I’d start by outlining how the year might pan out for all of you individually, based on your Chinese Zodiac signs. To begin, make sure you know what sign you are based on your year of birth (use the list here), and then have a look at what the year has in store for you according to the UK Feng Shui Society:

  • Rabbit: Don’t be discouraged and follow your dreams
  • Dragon: Do your own research and stand firm. Be cautious of offers that come with strings attached.
  • Tiger: Exercise restraint, don’t be drawn into madcap schemes
  • Rat: Be prepared for change, and realise you can remain resilient no matter what drama the galloping year of the horse brings. Conflict is not the only answer.
  • Ox: Romantic excitement is on the way so put yourself out there. Don’t be envious if you’re already in a loving relationship
  • Snake: A year of competition and rivalry, but subtle tactics will help you come out on top.
  • Horse: The upcoming Horse year is also a ‘yang wood’ year, when people will stick more to their principles and stand firm. So it is hard to negotiate or compromise as there are more tendencies for people to fight for their ideals.
  • Rooster: There will be romantic opportunities, but don’t be too fussy. The same applies if you are in a relationship. Be tolerant.
  • Goat: Count your blessings, there is no need to chase after what you want.
  • Dog: Let the people who love you support you, if you need a helping hand.
  • Pig: Stop being such a control freak! You don’t need to plan every last detail
  • Monkey: Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.. only forge ahead with challenging circumstances if there’s something you really want

So the overarching theme of the year appears to be restraint. And if you’re thinking that anything to do with astrology is all hocus-pocus and has no bearing on real-world outcomes, then I am with you. However, there is an important thing to remember, which is that millions of other people do still believe in the teachings of traditions and will change their behavior to try and improve their luck.

For the economy as a whole (especially in China), the Feng Shui has the following prediction for 2014:

Since 2014 is the Wood Horse, the Wood element is about reaching onwards and upwards, planning ahead. Will your grand plans come to fruition? Be somewhat circumspect when it comes to formulating your blueprints for the year ahead. Whilst the Wood element may influence you to move forwards, the Fire in the Horse, which sits beneath the Wood, can burn up some of your designs, if you are not careful. You can set the world alight with your ideas, but put in place a Plan B as you might not have all the support you were hoping for at exactly the moment you want it. A burning desire goes a long way to bringing blue sky visions into the here and now, yet it would serve you well to keep your feet on the ground at the same time.

Never forget one of the fundamental tenets of innovation, which is that you always need to find out what is valuable from the customer’s perspective. Their view of value is likely to be very different to your own. And so you always need to consider what effect these traditional signs could have on their desire to do certain types of business. The more you consider other people’s perspectives, the more likely it will be that your innovations delight them.

What do you expect to come from 2014? How does your prediction fit with your plans for the year? Let us know in the comments below, and remember to sign up for our weekly newsletter using the form below to also get our exclusive Report on “The secrets of Ongoing Innovation Success”.