Shoot the Messenger

Never hire a futurist to be a featured conference speaker if you aren’t prepared to listen to the possibility of alternative futures you might prefer to ignore.

This Washington Post story about the political power of the American Dental Association (ADA) and its strong resistance to alternative models of care reminded me of the presentation that dampened any desire I might have had to earn a living as a public speaker. The year was 2011 and the conference designed for young dentists, so naturally the planners thought they should invite a futurist to talk about the future in which these young professionals would practice. Shooting the messenger does not work.

Read More

Interconnection of Everything

One often surprising insight people new to foresight have is how changes are multidimensional and interconnected. As the strategic landscape opens before their eyes, they find it difficult to focus on one change without seeing two or more others gyrating around it in a confusing reel of uncertainty.

This insight is an accurate awareness of how our world operates.  To sharpen our understanding, we need to look at the related change drivers as well as those that may seem far removed from our field of vision.

Read More

Smart Association Execs Will Want to Earn an A in Foresight

Marsha Rhea, president, Signature i, LLC, encouraged association executives at the Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives Mid-Year Meeting June 21 in Philadelphia, to establish foresight programs to inform their strategies, learning programs, risk management and innovation efforts.

Rhea described how the ASAE Foundation’s new foresight research program, to be launched later this summer, will provide overviews of 40 change drivers and provide easy-to-use resources and tools to help associations structure their own foresight program to continuously monitor trends and issues.

She gave five good reasons to earn an A in exploring the future before offering some basic tips and short-cuts to make practicing foresight easier to do.

Read More