A few years ago, we bought land to begin an expansion at Liseberg. The park is landlocked, located in the middle of the city, so the development of this last available land, adjacent to the park, is crucial for the future of the company. There was no room for mistakes.
In light of this, we took our time to determine what to do with the land. We created many scenarios and opportunities, testing each with market and feasibility studies; tweaked and changed; argued and calculated; and adjusted again. And here we are today: with a robust, well-verified and conceptualized expansion project complete with an indoor waterpark and a hotel.
This is the biggest, most ambitious project in Liseberg’s almost 100-year history. The risks associated with the project do not keep me up at night – we have a well-researched and substantiated plan.
We understand the decisions on long-term investments like this one are not easy, especially in this age of accelerating speed change. I was reminded of this fact a few weeks ago, when we began to demolish the existing structures on the site.
As part of the expansion, we must clear our existing parking lot and build a new parking structure. It is not an overly complicated project, but two variables have very quickly become apparent:
First, parking structures will begin in to evolve and serve double duty as gas stations. As more and more cars will be electric, each parking space will need a plug. Maybe not tomorrow, but in a not too distant future. We must prepare for this change in the types of cars of that come to our lot, and the new needs they will bring. Understanding this future changes both the physical construction and the business model of parking.
Second, the lifespan of such a structure is quite difficult to predict. As we see a future with autonomous vehicles, it is likely fewer people will own personal cars. Autonomous cars will not need parking spaces, at least not in the traditional sense we know today. This new future is already knocking on the door, as noted in this recent article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-17/-peak-car-and-the-end-of-an-industry
These two dilemmas are mere examples of how decision-making in the 21st century looks. The sheer number of variables can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially as we must base decisions about tomorrow on what we know today.
But none of this keeps me up at night. Because, the risks associated with a well-balanced, data-driven, yet flexible decision are far less than risks associated with decision-making anxiety.
Or as Peter Drucker once put it: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”