Reports from the Knowledge Labs about our recent findings, research topics, and interviews with lifestyle leaders who are creating their own futures.

How to stimulate your own powers of foresight. Consider the following thought provokers. Ask yourself, in these categories what are the brand new trends and forces? Which are the ones growing in importance? Which current forces are loosing their steam? Which have peaked or are reversing themselves? Which are the "wildcards" about to disrupt us in the future? POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL thought for food: Electronics, Materials, Energy, Fossil, Nuclear, Alternative, Other, Manufacturing (techniques), Agriculture, Machinery and Equipment, Distribution, Transportation (Urban, Mass, Personal, Surface, Sea, Subsurface, Space), Communication (Printed, Spoken, Interactive, Media), Computers (Information, Knowledge, Storage & Retrieval, Design, Network Resources), Post-Cold War, Third World, Conflict (Local, Regional, Global), Arms Limitation, Undeclared Wars, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governments (More/Less Power and Larger or Smaller Scale), Taxes, Isms: Nationalism, Regionalism, Protectionism, Populism, Cartels, Multinational Corporations, Balance of Trade, Third Party Payments, Regulations (OSHA, etc.) Environmental Impact, U.S. Prestige Abroad. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Food for thought: Labor Movements, Unemployment / Employment Cycles, Recession, Employment Patterns, Work Hours / Schedules, Fringe Benefits, Management Approaches, Accounting Policies, Productivity, Energy Costs, Balance of Payments, Inflation, Taxes, Rates of Real Growth, Distribution of Wealth, Capital Availability and Costs, Reliability of Forecasts, Raw Materials, Availability and Costs, Global versus National Economy, Market versus Planned Economies, Generations: Y, X, Boomers, Elderly, Urban vs. Rural Lifestyles, Affluent vs. Poor, Neighborhoods and Communities, Planned or Organic Growth. Got Knowledge?

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The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Thursday, July 11, 2002  

Abrupt Endings

Chapter One: Basecamp

By Steve Howard, CKO
The Knowledge Labs

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Basecamp
Chapter Two: The Ridge
Chapter Three: The Outpost
Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

I asked Pathfinder for examples. He told me to read on in the learning expedition journal I had found under my bed in the cabin. He told me “Lost Explorer,” the journals author (again no real names) answered the first set:

"What have been the significant events, the disturbing and satisfying, the highs and the lows?"

Pathfinder said I might catch up with Lost Explorer and his other expedition members with him when I took off for the Ridge later. Anyway, here’s his Basecamp entry:

July 6: Re-entry from the Fourth of July Holiday.

This Tuesday feels like a Monday. Just back from a northern California holiday at Cambria By The Sea.

An omen.

Within the first 2 miles of our car trip up we slash our rear tire at 7:30 pm on this holiday eve.

Earlier that same day at work I got nailed along with one of my facilitators by the executive vice president, my boss, at the beginning of a Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) team meeting.

The executive "went non-linear," as one of the other executives fondly explains, and a trait, up until then, hidden from me.

With a phone message scribbled in hand from the director of human resources saying "dismissed", she appears abruptly out of nowhere, smoke bellowing out of her nostrils. "I want to see you and you."

My facilitator and I exchange stunned looks. –

A Dressing Down and Out

"We don't dismiss, we want CPI to be a positive experience! Get it!? I don't care what you two personally think, you two don't dismiss anyone!" With that she stormed off.

Finally, I think ... since I'm speechless at this point, I get the treatment she is famous for. I flash back to an earlier boss who told me that if I didn't get into trouble, I wasn't doing my job. The motto was " It's better to beg forgiveness than ask for permission."

That was Friday before the flat tire.

On Tuesday, my first official day back from vacation, the morning phone message from executive secretary to meet with my boss at 1:30 p.m. fit the pattern.

My facilitator had explained that after these flare-ups, the exec always patches things up with an apology. That's my expectation.

So I show up, kind of rehearsing how I will make it easy for her to make up and she says, "This won't be your best meeting."

Intuitively, it was clear that the ship had hit an iceberg and there were only a few lifeboats available.

Unfortunately, I'd be walking the plank without even so much as a wetsuit for the cold choppy waters.

"You're in the layoffs, part of our division's fair share. I didn't agree with it," she said, "You're a super facilitator, especially with my staff ... who aren't the easiest in the world to get to agree on anything!"

The irony of this whole situation lies in the fact that I have been an outplacement consultant on and off over the past 13 years.

Now I was on the receiving end of the services. She kept her meeting brief to only a few minutes, something I had always advised whenever I had been at a client's "taking out" or "picking up" a new participant for our services.

I noticed a checklist of 5 points to remember tacked to her bulletin board ... and I mentally gave her an "A" for her handling of me.

At the time, though, none of this surfaced in my thoughts. So there I was --in a situation where I’d have to take my own advice. Very humbling, I must tell you. But, later I drew comfort from Joseph Campbell’s quote:

"The usual hero adventure begins with someone from who something has been taken, or who feels there's something lacking in the normal experiences available or permitted to the members of his society. This person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what has been lost or to discover some life-giving elixir. It's usually a cycle, a going and a returning."

Joseph Campbell, in "Myth of the Hero"

Nothing about this felt heroic or adventuresome.”

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Copyright ©2002 - 2006 Aarnaes Howard Associates. All rights reserved worldwide.

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