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
Saturday, January 18, 2003  

Basecamp Summary
Chapter One

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

Chapter One: Basecamp Foresight Journals

Hindsight is like walking down a street and falling into a hole in the sidewalk. We can repeatedly fall in, walk around, or walk down another street. Got Knowledge? How do you know which street to choose? How can you choose the right path for you without doing a little soul-searching and a reflection on lessons you’ve learned?

Well for one, you can take Alex’s advice and hire yourself as a coach. Or you wait to interview Grey Owl, a modern day Sun Tzu in a cabin retreat. What a great way to reflect on what’s really important! How can anyone achieve effortless, predictable results in an age of constant confusion and uncertainty? Grey Owl illuminates how the laws of nature are at work – dynamic variables in an interdependent system.

Everybody’s call to adventure starts with creating a purpose, no matter if they’re thrown into the unknown, or if they willingly seek it. Finding a new mission or new meaning is really the experience of illumination described by Joseph Campbell.

Since beginning less time people have wanted to know where life will take them, what can be made of it, how to overcome barriers, and where hidden treasures can be found? Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” described the Tao of the Adventure – how to expand and manipulate tactical advantages in a variety of life altering situations.

How do you begin a modern day adventure ? According to Pathfinder, most begin as a learning expedition formed in Basecamp. Maps found in past journals describe expeditions to the Ridge, Outpost, and into the Tribal Network.

The creative minority views its past, present, and future life in the center of an ever-changing interdependent system. One learning expedition sketched out a future-by-life-design map of overlapping concentric circles filled with over 40 variables.

We, therefore, have many possibilities. But we can't live more than one life. It's all we've got. Our life is as temporary as footprints in the sand of time. Selecting what fits us best is complex.

Are we in one of those 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? And, if we are, what can we do about it in Basecamp?

What if you’ve been abruptly ripped from your job unexpectedly? What then? What does the creative minority do then? How do they navigate significant events, the disturbing and satisfying, the highs and the lows?

What if the creative minority actually contributes to its failures through inattention, bad habits, and personal weakness? What if there were conditions beyond its control that conspired against it?

What if time moved on and creative minority didn’t – if what made it successful in the past has been rendered obsolete by today’s standards? The opportunity-driven creative minority adjusts faster and sheds outworn perspectives more readily than the rest of us. In doing so, they cultivate higher levels of resilience.

Why? Humans travel through life without the benefit of a fixed velocity.
We move at a variable rate that fluctuates according to our capacity for assimilating new information and influences. How well we absorb the implications of change dramatically affects the rate at which we successfully manage the challenges we face, both individually and collectively.

Lost Explorer’s journal documents his trials and tribulations as he “rightsizes” his life. While out of necessity he jumped right into the tribal territories, he gained enough momentum to back track to Basecamp to sort out his initial lessons learned.

For first timers, using an outplacement firm can be overwhelming. Lost Explorer describes features and benefits, why it’s not “placement”, and how to make the most the services and resources.

Pathfinder -- in describing past and future trends, business cycles, and turning points – tells the story of how the original learning expedition formed at a baby boomer bootcamp. Lost Explorer, Lone Eagle, Pathfinder and Trailblazer find a common mission in Dana Point harbor while comparing notes about predictable generation-driven economic booms with innovation, spending, saving cycles.

It’s the old not-seeing-the-forest-for-the-trees phenomenon. We have undergone extraordinary changes in the last thirty years in terms of the alteration of the old rules and regulations of our lives. Around the bonfire, they wish they had anticipated some of those changes. They marvel at what might have happened if they had known, for sure, about just one of those major changes? Watch out for the “Mother-of-All-Depressions”sometime between 2010 and 2025!

Turbulent changes in the current of our life – its pace, pattern and scale – challenge our notions of what is real. Mastering new rules is like trying to cross a white-water river. If you can anticipate the rocks below the water, if you can anticipate the whirlpools and the changes in the current, if you can anticipate the landing on the other shore, you have a much better chance of getting across that river successfully.”

How do you anticipate when social and technological changes force turning points and breakpoints? How did the rise in dominance of a scientific “mindset swallow up the world,” so as to render a rock invisible? Technology and media shape the very fabric of culture with unintended consequences – shaping the way we view the world and how we see ourselves in it. And, keeping us from seeing what is really going on in it. What we don’t see can and will hurt us.

What about past economic turning points and political overtones for the first half of the twentieth century – up to the early 1970s? We examine productivity, inflation, deflation, recessions, depressions, government surpluses and deficits. Are there any patterns connecting post “bubble” recoveries in the past -- ending in 1901, 1929, and 1966 -- to the most recent bubble at the end of 1990s?

Coming into the early ‘70s, US companies faced little foreign competition at home. The industrial revolution hit on all cylinders producing great quantities of products destined for the mass market. Supply outstripped demand, so prices fell with increasing competition. So, pinched on the one side by Japanese competition and, on the other, by dependence on Middle East oil, the US economy had to reinvent itself.

We asked people from all walks of life – artists, lawyers, professors, human capitalists, IT professionals, Executive Management, Marketing, Finance, Operations, IT, Sales, Service, Engineering – to tell us what they foresee in the future for the world of work. Here's the Top 100 countdown:

Most Baby Boomers won't save enough of a nest egg to afford a comfortable retirement. A new industry will be created to cater to the Boomer need for experience. They will speculate to acquire wealth. By 2010 social consciousness as a movement will burst upon the center stage.

Aging Baby Boomers will spend the rest of their lives trying to look younger. Women will outlive men, who will die from heart disease, cancer or a stroke. Many elderly boomers will be cared for by their nieces, as 1 million boomers will live to be 100 years old.

The last of three boomer generation age groups to hit peak spending years drives the economy for the first decade of the new millennium. Boomers will move business away from production of standardized products on the assembly line to delivery specialized and personalized products and services produced at the front lines of organizations as close to the customer as possible.

Only one in 50 will be promoted to top management in large companies. Advancements will be few with opportunities confinded to narrow knowledge-work specialties. Roughly 85% of workers will be employed in firms with fewer than 200 people. Self-employed workers will continue to grow at 4 times the rate of salaried workers.

A permanent military establishment grows, yet the use of smart weapons reduces the number of military personnel required. Compulsory national service becomes more popular for both sexes. Regional and national economies interact more transparently on a global basis, yet the bimodal distribution pattern remains.

The economic boom from 2003 to 2010 gives way to a decade long deflationary period requiring careful investment strategies and shifting allocations in 2006, 2009, 2015, and 2020.

The basic science is now in place for five great waves of technology - personal computers, telecommunications, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and alternative energy - that could rapidly grow the economy without destroying the environment.

Scientists and engineers figure out reliable methods to construct objects one atom at a time. Among the first commercially viable products are tiny sensors that can enter a person's bloodstream and bring back information about its composition. By 2010, hydrogen is being processed in refinery-like plants and loaded onto cars that can go thousands of miles - and many months - before refueling.

Basic innovation in communication technologies is allowing more people to relocate their homes to small towns and exurbs, and telecommute to business. The echo baby-boom generation is now moving into its household formation years, which will stimulate demand for apartments and rental property in the cities, and has already caused commercial property in these areas to appreciate.

Got Knowledge?

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

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