Better Futures

August 25, 2004

in Strategic Foresight

I received three complementary pieces on the future this week. They are worth linking to and reading or at least thinking about. Ming has a pithy play in “Predicting the Future” and looks for something more disruptive than this piece about 2014. I think the disruptions are never where we are looking unless we dig deeper to see some underlying patterns. It is that insight into deeper changes that capture people souls and attention. The other a wonderful interview by Jamais Cascio with Adam Kahane on “Solving Tough Problems”.

For the majority the future just fills in around us. However, Adam’s view and Jamais trace towards understandings that are more visceral, that get you at the gut level. In Ming’s case there are disruptions all around us, yet without some context and digging we just don’t see it. More importantly for the most part individuals don’t see, groups see. We need the processing power of the group that embraces diversity. For without diversity we really will have views of 2014 will be much like it is today. What Adam’s stories and success brings is the opportunity and understanding to influence the future.

Then I had a last piece from the Innovation Network who had asked in the previous week What might dramatically change the world of Consulting within the next 10 years?”
Joyce Wycoff
wonders if there’s a way to get a glimpse of the changes we can’t see and provided these questions in her newsletter.

  • How might bio-tech change consulting?
  • How might consulting be changed by global warming?
  • Could “options theory” change the world of consulting? (side note: Robin Hanson will be talking about the use of options theory in innovation at Convergence 2004)
  • How might the generation of computer and game-proficient youngsters change how consulting is done?

  • So my questions are so obvious!

  • How will “Presence” change consulting? Some think this will be a nightmare, the client knowing where you are and trying to check and time every minute. The other view may be much more integrating with new opportunities created by pervasive connections.
  • How will India and China change consulting?
  • How will information economics change consulting?

    However without context, without important problems these are just questions. The lesson for thinking about the future lies in the problems and opportunities presented today. Then look at the tools which can dig deeply and broaden understanding. Then you too can influence the future.

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