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
Monday, July 08, 2002  

At the Heart of the Journey

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

"We're in one of those great historical periods that occur every 200 or 300 years when people don't understand the world anymore, when the past is not sufficient to explain the future."

Peter Drucker

When the Journal of 2020 Foresight caught up with Pathfinder, he had just finished his orientation to Basecamp for a new learning expedition about to form.

Journal of 2020 Foresight: Let's begin by telling us what you told them.

Pathfinder: Well, Basecamp is all about what I call your interior furniture. Each of us is a unique human being with our own set of talents, experiences, and ambitions. No matter what stage of life we find ourselves in, and what situation we face, we must begin with an assessment of our current situation.

J2020F: Our current reality sits in the middle of a dynamic tension, right?

PF: Sure. We are creatures of habits. Behaviors honed by life experiences from our past. Each or us brings to the present our own capability to fully or only partially exploit opportunities. Likewise, we can summon a certain amount of resilience to diminish the threats we encounter to our success.

J2020F: Bad habits and good, right?

PF: Usually folks who come to Basecamp need to regroup. They face what we call "nonnegotiable conflicts" in their lives. Something isn't working. The obstacles they face stand in the way of meaningful growth in their life.

J2020F: So finding our calling when no goal is given, is another way of recognizing something in our life blocks our path to fulfillment. And, then, Basecamp is all about understanding strengths and weaknesses?

PF: We can be blocked by obstacles in our personalities, in our surroundings, or in our interpersonal relationships. As these obstacles become clear to us, we experience an inner crisis, because we recognize this threat to our personal fulfillment and happiness.

J2020F: What happens then?

PF: At this point we make a choice: We either learn to live with the conflict by limiting our options and compromising our goals; or we remove the conflict by positioning it elsewhere or neutralizing its impact in our lives."

J2020F: Something tells me Basecamp isn't about limiting our options or compromising our goals.

PF: That's right. It's really about charting our own way with a compelling vision of a desirable future. One free of that non-negotiable conflict, whatever it might be.

When confronted with an obstacle -- a crippling character flaw, an unfulfilling occupation, or a debilitating personal relationship -- people who come to Basecamp develop a strategy to overcome that conflict and emerge victorious from its influence.

J2020F: But that's only one part of it.

PF: As Jim Ewing, one of my early mentors put it, "Only fools lead others into the wilderness of the future without a careful reading of history in their knapsacks."

J2020F: So we create our strategy from elements of our life our own strengths and weaknesses, as well as, from dreams of our future?

PF: Jim Ewing used to tell me, Our Past is a collection of anecdotes, beliefs about our journey through time, what it has been and what it means.

When mapped out it shows how we have repeated ourselves, what we have never tried or tried too often, and what paths were never taken or were over trod.

J2020F: And vision?

PF: Vision is a pragmatic, yet passionate picture of a desirable future.

J2020F: So, It is a future as we passionately want it to be?

PF: It's as if we are painting a rainbow. In Basecamp we don't have to know how the story to the pot of gold will unfold. That comes later in the Ridge and in the Outpost. There, the "rainbow meets the road." Here, we create visions free from the burdens of any present constraints, of knowing how to proceed, of any the lack of materials and resources.

J2020F: Why separate the two?

PF: Persistent vision, acting like "necessity", becomes the "mother of invention." Whatever is needed is created.

J2020F: So in a way, you encourage breakthrough thinking from people joining learning expeditions in Basecamp.

PF: That's right. Vision, fueled with will power, creates a "tension" between the future and present. Jim Ewing described a passionate vision working on us like a magnet across time -- tugging us through worthy change. It had to be compelling enough to stretch us beyond the ordinary, the everyday, the urgent.

J2020F: Or as Joel Barker says, "Vision without action is only a dream. Action without a vision only passes the time. Vision with Action can move mountains."

PF: Exactly. Our past consists of broad adventures of beginnings, development, and decline. Just as our future will.

J2020F: So can I assume it includes a unique mixture of paradigms, trends, cycles, habits, accomplishments, and defeats?

PF: Yes. While we can never be 100% prepared for future events, what we are after in Basecamp is a readiness. A summary illustrates how well we are positioned in the present, and how we are poised and prepared to act on the future.

J2020F: So what would that summary include?

PF: A past survey includes answers to these key questions:

What major trends and events beyond our control have shaped our past journey to the present?

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

What patterns and cycles have postured us for future journeys?

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

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